Cookie Cutter Review

Cookie Cutter header artwork

What would you do if your lover (and indeed your creator, because you’re a robot) was kidnapped by a bunch of diabolic ne’er-do-wells? Well, if you’re an android called Cherry, the answer would be to go on a murderous, visceral, gore-coated, revenge-powered rescue, that’s what.

Cookie Cutter, it must be said, is a sublimely gorgeous game. Unbelievably gory, sure, but gorgeous nonetheless. This is due primarily to the outstanding hand-drawn 2D visuals, they are utterly sumptuous. Bold, punchy, memorable character design and bright, vivid, weird, environments both thrill in equal measures. The animation is something else entirely, and with Cherry’s deisgn alone there is so much detail to delight in. As Cherry heaves herself up onto a ledge, huffs and puffs in her distinctive run, or whips an Akira-style motorbike out of nowhere to eviscerate her foes; this is some benchmark animation.

Visuals aside, the game itself is your standard Metroidvania. And, for the most part, Cookie Cutter does a very good Samus Aran impression. Each labyrinthine level is crammed full of secret rooms and pathways that can only be unlocked through finding and correctly applying one of the numerous abilities. These are drip-fed to the player at a satisfying rate, just as every good Metroidvania should. There are traps and tricky platforming sections to navigate, hordes of minions to dominate, and – of course – enormous bosses to battle. So far, so good.

Cookie Cutter metroidvania

Where Cookie Cutter comes undone is in terms of responsiveness and control. For all her athletic animation, Cherry handles like a soapy brick in a bathtub. Many platforming sections are brutally hard and require precise timing, so tapping a button, only for Cherry to jump far too late or not at all, simply isn’t good enough. The controls just aren’t calibrated tightly enough; it’s far too easy for Cherry to over-shoot a platform or career into an electricity trap, simply because the game isn’t keeping up with the player inputs.

Sadly, the same is true of combat. Aping Guacamelee!, Cherry will encounter locked rooms in which she must battle a series of foes before she can move on, which could be a great opportunity to showcase her slick selection of sick moves. But again those loose controls rear their ugly head. Combos are a baffling mystery to perform whilst collision detection is laughable, meaning Cherry is often struck by an enemy nowhere near her. These issues even plague the finishers – a selection of moves that polish off a foe and release some much-needed health in the process. All too often, at the end of performing her finisher, Cherry can be hit before control has returned to the player, causing her to end up with less health than she started with. As such, combat is a frustrating and messy experience, where victory feels more down to luck and dogged determination rather than skill.

Cookie Cutter chainsaw finisher

One final thing to be aware of is that, if you do decide to give Cookie Cutter a chance, this is an adult game. I don’t mean adult in terms of nuanced storytelling, deep characters, and difficult moral choices. No, this is a snickering teenager’s idea of adult content. Cue copious swearing, boobs and bums, and – most bizarrely – a talking robotic vagina as a side-kick, named – sigh – Regina. Now, if that tickles your funny bone you’ll find plenty to like here. For the rest of us, get ready to skip a lot of cutscenes.

Summary
They say never to judge a video game by its graphics but, when it comes to Cookie Cutter that is easy to do. The 2D visuals and animation in this game are simply outstanding. Perhaps, with some hefty patching, the rest of the game might one day match those gorgeous looks.
Good
  • Outstanding hand-drawn visuals
  • Sumptuous animation
  • Solid Metroidvania structure
Bad
  • Terrible controls
  • Dodgy collision detection
  • Combat is a muddled mess
5