COGEN: Sword of Rewind Review – Short But Challenging Experience

COGEN: Sword of Rewind Review

Side-scrolling action games are a dime a dozen, so it takes something special to stand out amongst the crowd. With its unique time-bending mechanic and stunning visuals, COGEN: Sword of Rewind aims to slice its way through the competition. So, should you hit play or fast-forward this title?

As Kohaku, you awake in a mysterious facility without any knowledge of how you got there. Quickly, you stumble across the ExeBreaker, a talking, mythical sword with the power to rewind time. As you venture deeper into the compound, you discover that your hometown is in ruins. Now it’s down to you to learn the secret behind the tragedy. There’s a lovely odd couple-esque relationship between the protagonists. Kohaku is a naïve youth whose ditzy comments irk the stoic sword. While this adds to the overall narrative, it’s simply a premise to carry the fascinating gameplay.

Back To The Future

COGEN: Sword of Rewind includes many of the conventions of the genre; however, its implementation of the time mechanic sets it apart. Rather than a traditional life bar, you have a window of three seconds to reverse your fortune. Every time you take a hit, you will need to rewind time and try to avoid or counter the strike. Once you exhaust your meter, your next hit will be fatal. However, you can replenish your gauge by avoiding damage for a period of time. If you fail, you’ll respawn at checkpoints that are sparsely positioned throughout.

Due to the generous mechanic in place, Gemdrops, Inc. have ensured that segments are challenging. Enemies vary and possess unique attacks. With your trusty sword in hand, you must determine whether to dash forth and attack or cautiously deflect projectiles to vanquish foes from afar. As the screen fills with numerous enemy types, combat can get intense, and you will need to strategize in order to be successful.

Countering this are complex platforming segments. You’ll need adept timing to skip and dash past an array of hazards. Pressure mounts on certain stages as you have to perform aerial feats while lava engulfs platforms below. Although these tense moments are a highlight of the game, they can cause frustration, especially when you also have to use your ability to control parts of the environment. Particular platforms are tied to your power, meaning you can make blocks appear for a certain amount of time. Juggling all of these aspects is an absolute thrill but can also be infuriating due to the fine margin of error. At times, a few too many elements have to align in order to venture forth. 

A Fight To Remember

Bosses culminate each of the game’s five stages. These battles are incredibly well-designed and require you to study attack patterns to overcome the obstacle. At first, these matchups may seem impossible, but once you learn their routine, you can satisfyingly eliminate bosses quickly.

The beautiful hand-drawn sprites make COGEN: Sword of Rewind’s visuals stand out amongst its peers. Each character is lovingly crafted and animated; however, stages lack the same ambition. A mechanical theme runs throughout, which tires in the final third. While levels differ, constantly adding new elements, environments feel too familiar and aren’t as diverse as I would have liked.

With only five stages, COGEN: Sword of Rewind is relatively short; however, there is a lot of replay value. After completing a level, you receive a rank based on your score, which gives the incentive to play through again to beat your previous effort. There is also a challenge tree, secrets, and collectibles. In addition, upon finishing the game, you unlock a new version of the campaign, which is even more brutal than the normal game – yikes.

COGEN: Sword of Rewind is a solid side-scrolling platformer that perfectly implements a time-shifting mechanic. Combat and platforming are tough but rewarding, making the moment-to-moment gameplay a joy. While the main characters and bosses are brilliantly depicted, the stages are bland and lack the identity that enshrouds its cast. Even though the game is short, there are many reasons to revisit the game, making this a title that you shouldn’t fast-forward.

*** Xbox key provided by the publisher ***

The Good

  • Challenging boss fights
  • Implementation of the time mechanic
  • Varied gameplay

The Bad

  • Very short
  • Backdrops are too similar
  • Narrative is a little cliché