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  1. #1

    [NSW, PS4] Cotton Reboot!

    Opening this in the normal section as Strictly Limited Games already announced they will handle the physical western release.
    I've spent only an hour or so with the game, so excuse any and all imprecisions. I also need to replay the Saturn games so see how many things have been lifted from those...I barely remember them.

    Cotton Reboot features three game modes: the remake/reboot of the X68k original, the X68k original, and 2 or 5 minutes time attack. The time attack mode uses the same mechanics and graphics as the remake. The X68k version is exactly that, and if you have been spoiled by M2 ShootTriggers releases, you'll be disappointed: the X68k original has no options for scanlines, CRT filters, smoothing filter, widgets, or wallpapers. I think it runs at a 3x or 4x multiplier from the original resolution, so sprites are clear and sharp, but that's about it. I don't know if the cutscenes in the original were voiced, but here they are, and use the voices from the remake, while the voiceovers during the game use the original X68k samples.

    The reboot uses the same general level layout, slightly altering it, and tweaking enemy positions accordingly. I think there also are more enemies on screen, which links to the improved firepower Cotton has. Single enemies are also less resilient, but upgrade crystals float around the screen and block your shots. The powerup system is the same, with your screen bomb/magic dictated by the colour of the crystal you collected, fairies who work as options, experience bar, and tea time at the end of a stage.
    New to Reboot is the fever mechanic: kill enough enemies, trigger fever time, and you'll add a score multiplier to your kills (up to x128, from what I've experienced). I think the magic levelling system is taken from the Saturn games, and I'm still not 100% sure how it works. Magic is a bit more useful as a screen-clearing bomb, but they still retain the overall peculiarities of the original spells (levelling system aside).
    The reboot is fun, although the new graphics are very busy, probably even more than the Saturn version (that's one thing I remember). The hitbox is also smaller, and I think it's just Cotton's waist...I do remember tea cups not connecting even if they overlapped with her head. There is a good distinction between foreground, enemies, and background, and thankfully Cotton doesn't croak when hitting walls. The screen can get really messy at times though, especially in the later stages. I like the overall look, sprites have been wonderfully redrawn (again, I don't remember much of the Saturn games, maybe a lot of those have been lifted from there) and they didn't skimp on animation frames. Some graphical elements like foreground objects kinda remind me of DeathSmiles, but here all enemies are sprites and not spritefied 3D models.

    One thing I didn't like are sound volumes: at default levels (everything maxed out) voices are barely audible over the soundtrack, and even with that cut in half, voices are still not as loud as I'd like. Not a big deal during the game, but it is during cutscenes. The cutscenes are a faithful recreation of the original, down to layouts and character design. It's very '80s-'90s anime and I appreciate the effort, although cutscenes don't really reflect the (partially) updated character design shown on the game's box and interface.

    One odd thing: when I first plugged in the game, the game was called "COTTOn Reboot!" (with that capitalization), but after an update it was spelled in Japanese. Most of the menus are already in English, and there is a language option...although it only lets you choose between Japanese, Chinese, and Korean. Oh well.

  2. #2
    I've got this pre ordered with Strictly. Not sure the launch date.

  3. #3
    Amazing what you discover if you play a game more than an hour!
    Cotton's fairy companion is named Silk, and she becomes playable once you complete the Reboot version. Unfortunately this switch is tucked into the options menu, rather than being before starting the game. Silk's not a simple sprite swap, she's faster than Cotton and with a wider spread; I think this makes the game a bit easier, though it's also easier to lose Silk in all the mayhem that's on screen.

    Cotton's hitbox is on her waits, in fact there's a big shining heart to signal where the hitbox is...I've also almost completely misunderstood the scoring and powerup system.
    First, your shot is not blocked by crystals. Crystals act as modifiers, splitting your main stream into two, smaller streams at a 15 degrees angle (more or less). Hitting crystals will make them change colour and level up. The colour of the collected crystal dictates what kind of magic you stock, and the number of crystals of the same colour increases the magic's level. Hit a crystal enough times and it becomes black, and this does block your shot, but gives a huge amount of points when collected.
    Second, the fever time meter builds up by hitting crystals and builds faster if you crystal-enhaced fire hits an enemy. During fever time, the multiplier is set by the level of the crystal hit (I think...still not 100% sure), and the multiplier is applied if you kill or hit an enemy with the crystal beam. The multiplier goes up to x1024, and works as long as you hit something, midbosses and bosses included. During certain levels is very easy to continuously enter fever time and rack up an impressive score.

    So far I'd say there are two problems with Cotton Reboot: there shouldn't have been that much stuff on screen, and somewhat short legs.

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