Rainbow Cotton (Switch)

Originally released for the Dreamcast in Japan during 2000, Rainbow Cotton follows on from the same template laid down by Panorama Cotton by switching out from the typically side-scrolling affair – now also in full 3D for the first time. Worth the long wait? Lets take a look.

The evil demon Tweed is set to invade the land of the fairies, and with no way to defend themselves, can do nothing but accept defeat. Silk, one of our little fairies, comes up with a plan to rope the great witch Cotton into unknowingly protecting the fairies. As nothing can get between Cotton & Willow candy, the fairies are saved for now.

Story is typically Cotton here as she’s duped into helping the fairies by the promise of willow candies. Surprisingly the story sections are presented well here with full anime sequences. Granted, the quality isn’t the best out there, but they at least have that 90’s charm and still look decent on the Switch screen. With several stages set across numerous environments, as well as multiple paths to take, you can get your monies worth with this one.

One area the game excels is the graphic upgrade over the Dreamcast original. Sure the the syling is all the same, but the detail levels have been taken up a noticeable level, with ambient occlusion and additional particle effects added for example. The crisp 480p of the original has been upped for this port as well, so the game looks sharp & punchy on the Switch’s screen. Wouldn’t be Cotton without the cute voicework & uplifting soundtrack either, and that’s one area the game improves over its predecessors.

Performance is also great when portable on the Lite, so that leaves the only real blemish to presentation being the Retro mode. I went in expecting Dreamcast visuals etc, but its pretty much just the same revamped visuals with a filter. The CRT filter is ok, but the border around is huge, which leaves this small box in the middle of the Switch Lite screen to play with.

Played Panorama Cotton? Then you should be able to slide straight into this given its basically that but 3D. Personally I’ve never really been a fan of these kinda Cotton shooters, Panorama gets some leeway for the crazy Mega Drive visuals, as the main issue is prevalent here too, and that’s the character always being in the way. As the camera behind Cotton and you are shooting into the scene, all too often you can lose sight of your target. This also curiously makes pickups easy to miss too, most magic crystals would conveniently bounce over Cottons head instead of being collected. Magic works great on boss characters but isn’t needed, the health pickups on the hand are a godsend.

The other issue that comes from this is design choice is visual feedback. Not only does the character model block targets, but enemy shots too. Most times Cotton will shout and the model will flicker when taking damage but you have no idea where from at times, and trying to dodge some shots is laughably more difficult than it should be. It does have its good aspects too mind, mainly in the boss battles that can be quite dynamic as they lunge towards you or blast into the screen, but that’s it really for what feels like an on-rails shooting gallery at times.

Rainbow Cotton has much of what makes a Cotton game, presentation and story is top notch in this improved guise, but the gameplay falls a bit flat. That’s mainly due to the viewpoint not really working for shooters to me, so it causes several issues with gameplay that’s hard to forgive with this genre. What makes it worse is that Cotton as a franchise has other, much better, shmups available, something like the side-scrolling Cotton 2 on the Sega Saturn is just levels above Rainbow. As a curiosity for fans its not bad at the £17.99 price, but there’s much better games in the Cotton series for newcomers to start with.



Not quite the sugary sweet cotton candy you may be expecting.

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Geoffrey Wright

Rocking the world of gaming since the Atari 2600, has now settled down to bask in the warmth of moe. Moe is life for a moe connoisseur.

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