Cookie Cutter Review – A Rebellious Riot

Cookie Cutter Review

There’s something about the Metroidvania formula that is timeless. The combination of exploring and steady progression helps create a wonderful pace. Merging these aspects with solid combat and precision platforming led to landmark titles in the genre which has inspired generations of developers. Underneath all the gores and guts, Cookie Cutter is clearly influenced by pioneers of the genre. The question is, will it carve its own distinct niche amidst the crowded company of its peers?

You play as Cherry, a cyborg who was lovingly created by Shinji. Living in a dystopian future, they both block out the horrors of the outside to find comfort with one another. Without warning, INFONET employees disrupt their peace, brutally pummeling Cherry and kidnapping the good scientist. Left for dead, you awake years later with revenge on your mind. You must now infiltrate the Megastructure to find those responsible and save Shinji. The premise is conventional but gives you the incentive to complete the quest. You may lose a little interest in the overall story but the polished gameplay will keep you hooked.

Killing in the Name

Combat is at the core of Cookie Cutter. You can unleash a combo with successive button presses and alter the attack with a directional input. This can also link with larger special attacks that use VOID, a form of energy, to perform. Knock down the health of your enemy and you’ll be able to end their existence with a brutal finisher. Not only does this look cool as hell, but you can also use this tactically too. Finishers will also damage those close by, allowing you to take out more than one foe at once. You also gain health and VOID making these extreme eviscerations a key part of the combat.

With its range of enemy types, you’ll need to read attack patterns and adapt. This is where movement becomes vital. Your dash has a period invincibility which makes it a strong defensive maneuver. The riskiest form of defense however is the parry. If you can master the timing, you can stun your opponent and quickly finish the fight. While it feels great to hit a parry, the window to do this is very small. Due to this, the impact of missing a parry can seem larger than hitting one which can result in avoiding this technique.

I Am An Anarchist

Some enemies fire from a distance, meaning you have to survey the area and plan your route of attack. Prioritizing ranged enemies and flying creatures is essential as otherwise, you’ll quickly get overwhelmed. This becomes particularly prevalent in the battle areas. During your escapade, you will enter a screen where multiple foes linger. After defeating them all, an unnotified number of rounds occur. Although these are fun and intense sections, there are a few too many of these segments and they start to feel like a chore. Luckily, upon completing this, you don’t need to re-do it even if you die. I really like that when you kill an enemy, they stay dead even when moving through areas. This allows you to search every nook and cranny for the litany of secrets buried within. Be careful though, as soon as you die, the creatures respawn.

Bosses are challenging but never feel unfair. These high-risk fights require you to avoid a barrage of attacks and counter quickly. Although you are likely to die during these segments, the game doesn’t punish you for it. There are checkpoints generously placed throughout the world which means you’ll be a short walk away from the boss that just caved your head in.

Take A Breather

A nice feature is the ability to transform VOID into health. You absorb from fighting enemies and hitting items in the environment. While you can just use this to unleash special attacks, you can hold a button to transfer it to health. It’s a clever system that allows you to decide to be more cautious or gung-ho. You will also collect energy cells that increase certain skills. As you can only apply a finite amount, you will have to consider what you need and equip it. You can swap these out in particular locations which allows you to experiment with your skill set.

As you progress through the world, you will unlock new abilities that then allow you to backtrack and open up new areas. Although this is well-designed, the moves you unlock are typical and lack the originality of the aesthetics. This doesn’t hinder the experience but it does feel like a missed opportunity.

The intricately designed world is full of character and is a joy to explore. Cherry can effortlessly and intuitively sprint across the world. This is enhanced by the beautiful animation and hand-drawn art style which is reminiscent of classic Cartoon Network programming. The disgustingly delicious design imbues the entire game and helps Cookie Cutter form its own identity.

Cookie Cutter is a bloody blast! Its punk rock attitude seeps through to help the game stand out amongst the crowd. Platforming and combat are tight which makes the moment-to-moment gameplay feel great. There’s an overuse of certain gameplay segments and reliance on conventions, however, the rebel spirit pierces through to make this an essential title for fans of Metroidvanias.

*** A PlayStation 5 key provided by the publisher ***

The Good

  • Stunning Visuals
  • Nice Varied Combat Options
  • Stong Platforming Segments

The Bad

  • Relies on Genre Staples
  • Too Many Battle Areas
  • Typical Story