After the excellent Cotton Reboot just a few months ago, I was excited to jump into not just one, but TWO new Cotton ports to PS4.
Okay, starting with Cotton 100%. Honestly – and I hate to say it – there’s not much to say about this one. As someone that really enjoyed Cotton Reboot just a few months ago, this was a big step down. Whereas Cotton Reboot had these really flashy visuals, fast-paced gameplay with stuff going on everywhere, and great boss designs – Cotton 100% is more so just a standard shoot ‘em up without doing anything particularly well.
The game doesn’t really look that bad, but I can’t say it looks any better than really any other shmup release of the time period. The gameplay is more of a disappointment though. It is relatively slow overall and hardly throws that many enemies on-screen at you at any given moment. The scrolling is slow, the enemies aren’t varied enough, and the power-ups are just okay. At least the stages are still pretty cool, but that’s not really enough to save the experience from being anything other than just mediocre.
That and I found it to be a bit too easy – even if you disregard the added rewind feature (which was a nice bonus by the way). Too few enemies, too few projectiles, and bosses that go down with just a single magic attack – it is definitely not a hard shooter by any means. And while there is a light story to it – it is not translated, like at all. It’s pretty much a straight port with only a few extras thrown in (pausing and saving at any time, rewinding, and a few picture customization options).
Otherwise, it plays just like any other shmup – taking around 45 minutes to do one playthrough. By the time I reached that point, I was pretty much done with it. An overall disappointment as someone that had a lot of fun with Cotton Reboot just a few months ago.
Then there’s Panorama Cotton, which is a complete change of pace for the series and dumps the 2D side-scrolling look entirely for a pseudo-3D look instead – similar to the SEGA arcade classic Space Harrier. Now it plays like a rail shooter and, again, I can’t say that this is an upgrade for the series. My main problem with this one is that the depth perception is just off. I’ve played games done in the same style before, but I don’t remember it being this hard to determine how far an object is away from me or even where that object will end up once it comes close enough to the screen.
It’s a bit of a mess, enemies popping up seemingly out of nowhere, me not really knowing where my bullets will end up, and the game playing more so as this massive color explosion than a shooter where I can tell what is going on. I will give it some credit – the enemies and boss designs are much better than Cotton 100%, but at least in that one I could tell what was going on. This time around, I just kinda coasted through the whole thing until the credits rolled.
Surely for the time period it may have been a technical marvel, but as a modern player I can’t say I enjoyed my time with it – especially so given that this is yet another straight port with only a few additions made to it (including the lack of English text for the story). Granted, the rewind feature was a lot more beneficial this time around because this one was MUCH harder – so I am at least thankful for that.
As someone that enjoyed Cotton Reboot a lot, I was rather disappointed with both Cotton 100% and Panorama Cotton. 100% is just a straight downgrade and not really anything special for the shoot ‘em up genre whereas Panorama shifts to the rail shooter genre and doesn’t really succeed there either. I am glad that we at least now have a way to play these two, but I can’t say that I’m anything more than disappointed. Hopefully future Cotton ports can salvage the series a bit – we’ll have to wait and see.
Quote: As someone that really enjoyed Cotton Reboot, Cotton 100% is quite the downgrade even given its age. Too easy, too simplistic, a bare minimum port – it’s an average shooter at best.
Quote: Panorama Cotton is a disappointment given the excellent Cotton Reboot we got just a few months ago. The pseudo-3D look just does not work and the gameplay feels like a mess as a result.
Cotton 100% retails for $15 USD on PS4 and is also available on Switch.
Panorama Cotton retails for $15 USD on PS4 and is also available on Switch.
I was provided a review copy of the game in order to write this review. Read more about how I do my game reviews here.