HomeVideo GamesGAME REVIEW | Color and Chaos Collide in "Rainbow Cotton"

GAME REVIEW | Color and Chaos Collide in "Rainbow Cotton"

GAME REVIEW | Color and Chaos Collide in "Rainbow Cotton"

“Are we the bad guys?” That question popped in my head while I played through Rainbow Cotton, a Dreamcast original that has since been remade by ININ and SUCCESS. The worlds I flew through were colorful, with every enemy on screen beaming with smiles and carefree attitudes. So with this being my first time with the heroine Cotton, it’s left me wondering whether or not this woman is the hero this game claims to be.

Of course, Rainbow Cotton sort of provides evidence of the sorts. The fairies are under attack, and only the broom-wielding woman Cotton can save them. However, the only way they can convince Cotton to fight is to bribe her with willows, her favorite treats. As such, Cotton flies and shoots her way through five levels to obtain the sweets that she cares most about in the world.

With that being said, because of Cotton’s intentions, we’re left wondering if she has a noble heart. Even after every boss battle, she is on the verge of exploding on the fairies, who used their cunningness to push Cotton to save their world. So when she’s completed a level, and all she gets is a stamp in her willow stamp card, you can see her fuming more and more. Naturally, this once again makes me lean towards the truth of Cotton, and why she’s not exactly the true heroine of this story.

Sure, she’s as cute as a button, looking like a close relative of Kukuri from Magical Circle Guru-Guru, but all the characters have a big kawaii factor. Hell, even the bad guys are very adorable, looking like they’re leftover characters from Puyo Puyo and Slayers. And when you see how these so-called enemies react to Cotton’s arrival, they’re not exactly ready to unleash their attacks. In fact, they sort of look surprised, on top of horrified by her presence!

But this argument over who’s good and bad in the Cotton universe could go on for days. What’s most important is how the game is itself. To be blunt, it’s kind of fun, but it certainly has shown its age. For starters, I’m glad it got a full-blown remake over a remaster, as my stomach turns just thinking back to playing the remastered NiGHTS into dreams many years ago. It even takes full advantage of modern-day consoles, as it’s bright and colorful every step of the way.

However, where Rainbow Cotton is flawed is in how it’s played. There are some good challenges like when you attempt to avoid enemy fire. However, its rail-shooter style of playing can get a little tiresome after awhile. Although you can collect crystals to unleash more powerful attacks and save fairies that’ll offer assistance, the overall shooting mechanics are simply boring. It made me wish for more variety, especially with it being a remake rather than a simple remastering.

When it comes to the game’s biggest pain, it’s what happens when you die. You are given five credits rather than five lives. Lose each time, and two things will happen: your score will reset, and you’ll be sent to back to the beginning of the level. Any progress you make is erased entirely, with only the fairies you saved previously tagging along. These moments are incredibly frustrating, especially if you start off full health and find yourself dying in the same spot over and over again!

Thankfully, the boss battles against giant frogs, robot chickens, and even a friendly-looking fairy are pretty fun. They keep you on your toes, be it when you play it solo or in co-op mode. Evading attacks, initiating powerful moves, and taking out assistant enemies requires your eyes to be everywhere on-screen at once. These moments wake you up from the so-so level combat, keeping alert throughout the entirety of each boss battle.

The true MVP part of Rainbow Cotton is the fully animated cutscenes. Not only do they tell a fun story, but they show plenty of personality through the likes of Cotton and the fairies. Yet again, how this tale is told will make you wonder which of these characters are on the sides of good and evil. (Considering how the game ends, you’ll certainly figure out the answer regarding Cotton!)


  • Fun boss battles
  • Great animated cut scenes
  • Beautiful visuals


  • Main gameplay is subpar
  • No checkpoints


Rainbow Cotton wasn’t exactly well-liked when it first came out in the year 2000, and one can understand why. Even with some solid boss battles and some funny cut scenes, the gameplay is average at best. I’m glad that the world is getting to see what the Cotton franchise is all about, but hopefully a legit new installment will be made soon to showcase the level of potential this willow-eating anti-hero has to offer. Otherwise, games like Rainbow Cotton will show why it faded into video game obscurity.


Promotional consideration provided by Derek Reeve of PR Hound. Reviewed on the PS5.

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The J-POP king of America, Evan has been bringing the hottest sounds of the Land of the Rising Sun to the English-speaking public since his college radio days. He's also an expert in the gaming, anime, & manga realms, never afraid to get critical when the times call for it. Born & bred in Boston, he achieved his biggest dream yet by making the big move to Tokyo, Japan in Summer 2023! For personal inquiries, contact Evan at evan@b3crew.com. For press/band inquiries, write to us at thebastards@bostonbastardbrigade.com. (Drawing by AFLM of Wicked Anime)