Review by: Paul Acevedo
Cotton is a series of cute ‘em ups (adorable shoot ‘em ups) from Japanese developer Success. Until recently, only the Turbografx Super CD port had been released in North America, with several sequels remaining exclusive to Japan. That changed this year when ININ Games released pretty much the entire series on PlayStation and Switch, including Cotton 100%.
Originally a Super Famicom game, Cotton 100% is a loose remake or expanded version of the original Cotton. The story depicts the adventures of the young witch Cotton and her fairy friend Silk as they travel across a strange and whimsical land. The cinematics in this version are sadly untranslated, making it hard for non-Japanese speakers to enjoy the story. Given that an English translation patch for the Super Famicom game recently became available, it’s extremely disappointing that ININ and port developer Ratalaika didn’t bother to fully translate the official release.
Untranslated story sequences aside, Cotton 100% is still a very charming little shmup. Cotton flies across seven large levels, battling against cutesy fantasy monsters and huge bosses along the way. At the start, players select from four different combinations of magic spells, much like the weapon selection in the Gradius series. Cotton can switch between her three spells at will. They do a ton of damage on bosses but are limited use, much like bombs in other shmups. Our heroine can level up her primary attack by collecting crystals as well as rescue fairies that will fight alongside her until she loses a life.
This release includes both Standard and Challenge modes. Challenge is the original game experience without emulation enhancements. Beating it will unlock cheats for Standard mode. In Standard, players can save and rewind gameplay. Both modes have their own sets of Trophies, adding a respectable amount of replay value. As for the visual presentation, this game lacks widescreen borders, just like ININ and Ratalaika’s recent release of Clockwork Aquario. You can’t even stretch the image (not that anybody should), but the game does include a customizable CRT and scanline filter.
Despite the lack of translated story scenes, Cotton 100% is still a very worthwhile cute ‘em up. The art style, game world, and mechanics are better than some of today’s shmups, though the music could be better. A trip through the Cotton series wouldn’t be 100 percent complete without a few playthroughs of Cotton 100%!
Our Rating: 3.5 out of 5