We’re not sure what prompted ININ Games to release all these Cotton titles all of a sudden, but we know a lot of “shoot-em-up” fans out there who are eagerly pleased they did.
These fun little shooters focus on a bewitching, er, witch, as she helps liberate the land of evil alongside a helpful assistant. And once a stage is completed, she offers a bonus point round, where she pronounces “TEA TIME!” and calls for players to collect as much as they can.
Now, with the game’s latest release, Cotton Fantasy (or Cotton Rock ‘n’ Roll in Japan), the ante is considerably upped. The quality appears to be much greater than previous releases since this is actually an all-new entry. But is it worth sipping some tea over? Or is this Fantasy concluded all too soon?
Some Sweet Fantasy-Themed Visuals
What the developers at Success get right are the colorful visuals. This is easily the most impressive looking Cotton game yet, even outshining the technical bravado that Panorama Cotton offered a few weeks back. The characters look great, and the backdrops really bring out the most in this fantasy-themed series. Not to mention the bosses are a blast and the screen floods with firepower as you up the difficulty scale.
What’s more, there are several characters with special types here, adding their own little dynamic to the game. It’s fun to mix things up and see who fits better for you, especially as you journey towards a good high-score run.
Plus I really like the music. It’s bouncy and delightful, backed by some solid sound effects. The squeaky voices of the characters may be a bit much for those that aren’t used to Cotton games, but Fantasy offers way more than it takes away.
While Cotton Fantasy isn’t the deepest and darkest of “shmups” on the market, it is one of the most engaging. That’s because the gameplay really finds some good balance here.
Although some characters take getting used to compared to others, they come together as a whole to really deliver some thrilling moments. The magic really comes flying out here, and you can pick up different power-ups along the way as well. Plus the goodies you can unlock once you beat the entire game is really cool, adding to the longevity. Throw in some online leaderboards and you have yourself a good winner.
In addition, it really helps that the gameplay is tight and responsive. Cotton and her colleagues (is that a TV series?) feel right at home with this new adventure, acting with precision and, more importantly, speed to overcome even the mightiest of bullet formations. Being able to adjust difficulty is a huge feature here, as you can do anything from taking a leisurely walk through the world to really letting everyone have it with your bewitchment. The choice is obviously yours.
The Power of Cotton
While it would’ve been nice to have a few more extras like previous games – and maybe a collector’s package with some actual Cotton tea in it, maybe? – Cotton Fantasy easily stands as one of the best in the series. It’s innovative, cute as heck, fun to play and suited for every type of skill level. Plus its leaderboards and unlockable extras will keep you coming back for more. The fact it can keep us under that kind of spell truly is the stuff of magic.
The Bottom Line: If you’re a fan of the Cotton series, consider Fantasy a must-own. And if you’re not, this might just make you one!
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