Cotton Fantasy – Test: Candy Crush for Birthday Witch
Cotton again? If I remember correctly, the series of classic shoot-’em-ups just celebrated its 30th anniversary – with a great remake of the very first outing (Cotton Reboot!) and the re-release of almost all of the sequels. But Cotton Fantasy? Never heard.
No wonder, since Fantasy is a brand new game that was released in Japan under a completely different name. The sequel is called Cotton Rock ‘n’ Roll in the Far East. Inside, however, is exactly what you get on Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4 now with Fantasy, both digitally and with Stricly Limited.
Well, then: Let’s just blast the mean attackers out of a fantasy land again because they stole the witch Nata de Cotton’s favorite sweets. It’s not possible! So Cotton jumps on her broomstick, although she doesn’t feel like heroism. Because being rewarded with her favorite dish is her only motivation to even lift a finger, which serves as a hook for comic strips in which something like a story is told. Can you do it. But you can also turn it off completely. Incidentally, an unnecessary detail: Cotton is German. I did not know. Doesn’t matter in the slightest either. But then you know what the annual donation to Wikimedia is good for.
In any case, Fantasy continues where Cotton Reboot!, the remake, left off, which is why the games are very similar on the outside. And internally, a lot is similar, since you collect different colored crystals to fill up the points account and gain advantages in battle.
However, the details of how the crystals are turned differ, because in Cotton Fantasy the color of the gemstones determines which projectiles the broom shoots: green for target-seeking projectiles, red for powerful straight-ahead fire and so on. In addition, each color has its own special weapon, which sometimes attacks the entire screen, sometimes only causes greater damage to the front.
So, and now it’s getting interesting: Cotton isn’t the only broom ace. There are six others and completely different rules apply to them. Take Fine, for example, who doesn’t lose a broom when hit, but only has a certain amount of time to live. If she gets hit, she loses a large chunk of that time. If she collects crystals, she gets a lot of them back. And without any clunkers, it switches freely between different projectile types at any time.
Or take April, who can suckle in an opponent at a time and flick them back into their buddies as a devastating cone. There’s also my favorite Ria, who plays most like a classic bullet hell-din, concentrating her wide-spread projectiles into a rich beam while holding Special Attack and being invulnerable for a short time after flying close to enemy projectiles .
Oh, and don’t forget Tacoot, who levitates her wand in front of her like the Force from R-Type, rotates its position around her like in Rolling Gunner, and can shoot it towards enemies like the Force to damage right there does.
Now, Cotton Fantasy isn’t exactly pioneering when it comes to the ingenuity of ball patterns. The level of challenge also varies wildly depending on the character you choose. All the better, of course, that you can sort the online and offline high score lists by fighter. Unfortunately, the only thing I don’t have here is the option to only display my score and that of my friends.
Different levels of difficulty satisfy all performance classes, whereby fantasy generally tends to be in the lower requirement range. The only pity is that it is exactly like Reboot! is terribly confusing in many situations. Because of the placement, coloring and design of many objects, it is often not fast enough to identify what is happening where, so that some lost lives are at the expense of the game.
In return, you experience interesting moments in the colorful surroundings, for example when you circle around a flying fortress or only fly down a longer distance. Apart from that, the number of levels is pleasantly large and you can even choose the order of levels two to six freely. The fact that there are two additional bonus sections, in which the witches simply collect bonus points and each of them also unlocks their own bonus level, doesn’t harm the varied pleasure just as little.
Cotton Fantasy – test conclusion
Even if Cotton Fantasy is not among the best of its kind in terms of game mechanics, the late sequel (more than 20 years after the last real predecessor!) is a colorful pleasure that lives above all from its lively heroines, who are not only characterized by their differ in terms of shooting technique, but function according to very different principles. While playing through is not a problem thanks to the infinite continues, you try out a lot and are happy that the only arcade mode is pleasantly extensive and leaves you largely free to choose the order in which you want to tackle the levels. The bottom line is that Fantasy is a successful conclusion to Cotton’s birthday party and the only question that remains is whether it will be another 20 years before the candy witch continues.