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Cookie Cutter

Cookie Cutter

Written by Joseph Moorer on 1/8/2024 for PC  
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When I was first asked to play and preview Cookie Cutter, provided to me by the people at Rogue Games and Subcult Joint, I was very excited by the back story. Although it's yet another dystopian, end of the world, rebuilt albeit now decaying utopia, it was a story about revenge. The planet is now inhabited by androids called Denzels, and your character, Cherry, has been left for dead. Your creator has been kidnapped, and in a Kill Bill type opening, you are brought back to full functionality, with one purpose. To kill everything in your way, and find your creator. That's it. That's the story. 

Now, Cherry doesn't start off the adventure alone. She is found by a renegade mechanic named Raz. And Raz kind of gives her a little more exposition. He tells her where she needs to go, and you're off. This game doesn't pull any punches either. It literally throws you into it. You go through a small, but informative tutorial stage. Here you learn the basics. You have a three hit combo attack at your disposal. Every enemy has a life meter, that you can trickle down with these combo hits. However, they also have their own attacks, and there are a LOT of different enemies. You'll run into your runts, but even they get stronger as the game progresses. Of course, with any Metroidvania, there is some platforming, and Cherry feels pretty good to control. If you miss a jump, it's either your own doing, or you don't have the correct ability yet.

Cherry also comes with some cool evasive techniques right out the gate. Cherry not only has a back dash, but she also has a full parry. In addition to the life bar, each enemy comes with a stun bar as well. As you can use attacks to get the stun bar down, the parry depletes it completely on most occasions. Once the stun bar is gone, the enemy is wide open to execute one button finishers. The finishers are gory and pretty cool to see the first 50 times. Use the parry and the finishers to get you out of a jam, because these guys are not here to get beat up. Some of them switch up their attacks, and smack you around. You will die. Because, as I wouldn't call them cheap, there are some "out of nowhere" attacks that occur, and you want to throw the controller. Luckily, as long as Cherry has ability points, you can trade those in at any time for HP. This is in-game though, and make sure you're in a safe place, or the screen is clear, because enemy attacks can interrupt this process. 

There are checkpoints in the game, but they are few and far between. You could breeze through an area, get all the way to a boss room, lose, and have to trudge all the way back through. It is frustrating, but I think that adds to the game's replay value. I was definitely going to complain about the parry not working, and just not using it altogether, because again, gaming, but they recently patched it out, making the parry window more consistent. I guess I wasn't the only one. I also don't believe the game is very hand holding either. It gives you an indicator on where to go, and the map fills out as you visit places, but that's about it. In the map menu, it gives you your objective, but it's like "Go here and do this". You will talk to an NPC, that NPC will send you on a mission to find something dumb, you go find the dumb thing, and the NPC will give you a new move. A small price to pay via back tracking, but the power up helps immensely. The game wants you to play it, not walk in the park. 

You will run into your share of power ups. You can get different weapons, like a guitar, or a projectile to do major damage. There are also power ups that come in the way of abilities, such as the double jump, or a dash that makes you invincible. You can also use certain chambers to teleport back to Raz (the first NPC) and buy upgrades, like stronger moves, and more max HP. Raz will require a combination of items you find by opening chests, killing enemies, and defeating bosses. In fact, all enemies will leave behind a little something, whether it be HP, bits, and monster parts, the latter being in-game currency. You will run into more characters like this later in the game. Within that same chamber, you can apply applicable perks that you've found from exploring the map, but that's only if you have found them, AND have enough battery power to equip those. The game wants to be complicated, but it's just not. All of these things just come to you by exploring the map. And yes, there are hidden rooms. No, they are not on the map. Punch everything.

There's a level of excitement here, because the map starts to make a little more sense. That place you couldn't access before was because the platform was too high. Now that you have the double jump, here's a boss. Die. But hey, at least you made it up the platform. You and all your new abilities. You go, you! You're a real gamer. In all seriousness, do not think because you have the new shiny gauntlet, that you will breeze through the next section. You will not. Punch those guys into a stage hazard (because of course there are stage hazards), and keep moving. You don't have to kill everything. But everything will kill you. Dodge, and use everything available to you. There are some EXTREMELY frustrating boss fights, but once you rethink your own strategy, you'll get through. You know...gaming! 

When I received the game, it was in early access. They have since patched and released the game on Epic, Steam, Xbox Series, and PS5. Graphically, it's really cool to see the cell shaded animation. Cherry's facial expressions are clear. She hates everything in front of her, and is going to kill anything that moves. She's going to make sure she finds her creator, and punishes everything. The game is only $20, and is very challenging. There are reviews out there, and they come with praise. I think it's solid. For 20 bucks, give yourself a challenge. Get your revenge. And, try not to worry so much about the story. Know that the more gates, cages, and Denzen chambers you unlock, the game feels like it's getting easier. I recommend it, but, you're gonna work. This ain't no cookie cutter Metroidvania. (Oh, I get it now.)

Cookie Cutter is a good Metroidvania, elevated by some pretty stellar graphics. Don't expect to walk through this one - the game raises the difficulty in response to your character powering up. A lot of value here for the asking price.

Rating: 8 Good

* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company.

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About Author

Joseph is the resident streamer for Gaming Nexus. He grew up playing video games as early as the Atari 2600. He knows a little about a lot of video games, and loves a challenge. He thinks that fanboys are dumb, and enjoys nothing more than to see rumors get completely shut down. He just wants to play games, and you can watch him continue his journey at Games N Moorer on Youtube, Twitch, Twitter, and Facebook gaming! 

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