3.5 out of 5


  • Better price than original
  • Co-op option
  • Cheat codes remain
  • HD makeover


  • No digital manual
  • Sluggish movements
  • Animation scenes not upgraded

Switch, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X, Xbox One, PC
ININ Games
Action, Adventure, Arcade
File Size (Minimum)
813 MB
Release Date (NA)
May 9, 2024

Rainbow Cotton was first released on the Sega Dreamcast in January 2000, but it never came out on western shores. Importing the game was too expensive for many to try back then, but ININ Games has since remastered it for modern consoles, making it much easier and cheaper to play. However, not everything was polished enough to make it a better experience.

Willow Adventure

Rainbow Cotton - Screenshot

Like many of Cotton’s previous adventures, Cotton the witch is looking for Willows, an expensive and rare food that can give various effects to those who eat it. Cotton is tricked by her fairy friend Silk to clear the invading monsters in each town to earn Willows. It’s an amusing story watch in all of its ’90s anime style glory. Unfortunately, the animation wasn’t upgraded like its other remake, Cotton Reboot!. Keeping the original makes more sense as a visual treat for the game’s Retro Mode, but at least subtitles were added so players could enjoy the scenes from beginning to end.

Cotton in HD

Rainbow Cotton Comparison - Dreamcast vs HD Remake

Cotton returns in a new rail shooter adventure, where the camera focuses behind the main character while automatically moving forward through a stage. Its gameplay mechanics are similar to games like Space Harrier, Panzer Dragoon and Air Twister. You shoot your way to the end of the stage, collecting power-ups along the way, and then face a boss before moving on. The game still continues its cute magical charm from previous Cotton games like Cotton Reboot. For example, you can rescue fairies from enemies, and they’ll aid you by firing projectiles.

The game received an HD cleanup to make it playable on today’s standard television sets. That means a widescreen view with crisper textures, cleaner graphics, and a smoother frame rate. You’ll still experience the polygon block from the Dreamcast era, but the cleanliness overlooks that. The developers also kept the original gameplay intact, as well as its cheat codes such as more continues, which is a nice touch.

Players can experience the game in various modes: Story, Retro, and Co-Op. Story Mode is the new HD version, where a single player plays through the adventure as Cotton. Retro is also a solo outing, but the game adds filters to mimic the old CRT (cathode ray tube) TVs. It’s a nice gesture, but it doesn’t add any wow factor to the experience. Co-Op is local only and allows you and a friend to play through the story together.

The game doesn’t have many options to choose aside from the standard volume controls and difficulties. Control mapping isn’t available, and there is no digital manual for how to control Cotton. The visual pieces on each top corner of the screen aren’t explained either, so players will have to figure it out themselves or look it up online. The game also doesn’t offer extra content such as artwork, which is a missed opportunity.

Rough Maneuvering

Rainbow Cotton - Screenshot

Controlling Cotton’s target area requires a learning curve as it’s laid out on an angle instead of straight forward. With the camera behind Cotton, it makes sense to angle the target reticle in order to make it easier to see. Shooting projectiles will require more angle shooting, though, and maneuvering Cotton around enemy projectiles will be tricky, especially the further you play into the game. Thankfully, the updated game adds auto targeting so that it’s easier for players to take down foes. 

Enemies and their projectiles fill a great deal of the screen as do level obstacles such as boulders and buildings. Maneuvering around these various objects while firing your attacks makes things more difficult. At least there’s a cheat code to gain more continues. When you fail, you’ll have to start at the beginning of the level, but the fairies you rescued along the way remain in your team.

Maneuvering Cotton also feels sluggish, and it comes at the wrong moment when making tight turns. It becomes even more frustrating when getting hit because you can’t control Cotton for a few seconds afterward, and when you can move again, projectiles and level obstacles such as pillars are already in your face, making dodging them unavoidable.

Various Paths to Play

Rainbow Cotton has five stages and extended boss fights at the end of each. While it may not seem like a lot, the levels are pretty long, giving options to play different mini bosses before facing the stage’s boss. These boss fights are entertaining and less stressful than some of the stages itself. There are many paths through a stage, and several paths require replaying, giving players a reason to return. Some paths also require more tedious maneuvering, such as the tunnel of moving blocks in the third stage.

The Final Willow

Rainbow Cotton has fun value, but there are some areas that can be improved upon to make the gameplay experience better. Still, fans of rail shooters should fly on this inexpensive and HD broom ride. Now soar and get those Willows!

A PlayStation 5 review code provided for this review and gameplay footage.

Rainbow Cotton - Gameplay Footage

About Seth Hay - Editor-in-chief / Webmaster

When Seth is not designing or developing, he spends time with his family and his occasional dose of anime, sports and video games.

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