Cookie Cutter is a bit like an unpolished diamond. It’s rough around the edges and it may cut you when handling it, but still, a diamond is a diamond, regardless of how rough it is. That’s how Cookie Cutter feels. It’s a gem in the making with a lot of heart and soul, but equally as much jank. Let’s take a look at what this Metroidvania-inspired marvel has to offer.
The Story of Cookie Cutter
Cookie Cutter begins with the good old cyberpunk narrative. An evil corporation is trying to take over the world and is failing miserably at it, thus provoking the people to rebel. It’s a plotline that’s as sweet as candy. You can never go wrong with it. In that regard, Cookie Cutter nails it out of the park.
You can physically feel this frustration manifest itself in this world. Either in the run-down nature of certain parts of the Megacity or in the demeanor of its inhabitants. The world is filled with downtrodden people. Some are missing limbs, others going through existential crises’, while others yet dying from a variety of ailments.
The Megacity is not a good place to live in, despite its spottles superficial appearance. It’s a place that’s corrupt to the core, hence why it’s your job to rip that core out. You play as Cherry, an android created by a rebel scientist working for the Evil Corp™ (not the actual name of the evil corporation).
What the good doctor hadn’t anticipated was that she’d be falling in love with her creation. Long story short. The Evil Corporation comes down on you two hard, leaves you for dead, and takes your lover away. Now it’s your job to go out there and rescue your beloved. And for that, you have a whole host of tools at your disposal.
The Gameplay of Cookie Cutter
One thing that Cookie Cutter nails perfectly is the gameplay. You have a wide array of weapons and tools at your exposal, as well as a wide variety of enemy types to use them on. A thing that I like about Cookie Cutter, that’s different from the Metroidvania games is the focus on melee combat as opposed to ranged combat.
This dynamic shift is pretty significant, as it necessitates that you completely alter your playstyle to accommodate it. Thankfully, Cookie Cutter allows you to feel that. Metroidvania combat required lots of precise movements. Cookie Cutter’s combat requires a lot of impetus and momentum. In other words. You should control the battlefield, not your enemies.
Because the combat is built in such a way, most fights are actually more of a well-coordinated dance rather than a brawl. Certain enemies require certain combos to beat. It’s not that you can’t defeat them otherwise, it’s just that those are the most optimal ways. This fact only expands once you add more weapons and tools to your arsenal.
At its core, you’ll always have light attacks, heavy attacks, dashes, jumps, and abilities, but the effects of those actions change as you get new upgrades. The enemies become more dangerous, but you also become more capable. There’s an answer to every situation, and that answer is very rarely “Smash everything to bits.” Although I admit, that’s definitely one of the more fun answers.
How Good of a Metroidvania Is It?
I’ll give Cookie Cutter one thing, and that’s that it’s a pretty good Metroidvania game. The world map is expansive and intelligently interconnected between itself. There are many hidden secrets and references to figure out and explore. Not only is checking every single nook and cranny advised but it’s lucratively rewarded as well.
As you unlock new abilities you’ll unlock access to previously unavailable parts of the world. A mechanic as simple as double jumps can mean a whole world of difference. And that’s just one way of getting about the map.
The references and easter eggs were definitely one of the things I enjoyed the most. Take for example the poster of Wes Borland in the image above. To my knowledge, no other game has a Limp Bizkit reference, so that’s a big plus in my book.
Making backtracking enjoyable is a big challenge for Metroidvania-esque games, and thankfully, Cookie Cutter nails it. There’s always some interesting bauble or interaction awaiting you whenever you backtrack. Plus, the Denzel stations across the map are a convenient and easy way to do so, which drastically reduces travel time.
Things I Liked About the Game
There are two things that I really liked about the game. The art direction, and the gameplay. I’ll start with the latter first. The thing I liked about the gameplay was that it offered a ton of variety, progressively. I.e. the content spacing was great. I was constantly entertained and had something new to do, which kept my attention throughout the experience.
And the art direction, my, where do I ever begin with the art direction? I’m a sucker for anything cyberpunk related. The fact that the game has a cartoonish look doesn’t change that at all for me. If anything, the look of the game reminds me of the golden era of flash games in the late 2000s. Which is an era I have many fond memories of. Not everything is well, however…
The Things I Didn’t Like About the Game
The best way to describe Cookie Cutter’s problems is to say that “The love wasn’t distributed equally.” Certain parts of the game are full of charm and artistically made, while other parts are straight-up broken and janky. The bugs aren’t game-breaking, at least not entirely, but they’re annoying enough to ruin the experience at the moment. Here are just some of the bugs I encountered:
- A bug that completely messed up the sounds on a specific area of the map
- A bug that prevented me from opening the main menu
- Frequent animation bugs
- A bug that prevented me from parrying effectively
Those are just some of the more notable bugs I encountered while playing the game. The barren nature of the options screen also left a bad taste in my mouth. The game is in desperate need of patching. That fact becomes apparent quickly. It’s a gem in the making, however, right now, it’s undeniably rough around the edges.
I won’t deny it, Cookie Cutter is undeniably a bit rough around the edges. It’s not irreparably broken, but it definitely needs a few more months of care to iron out all the bugs. The basis itself is great, and the whole campaign is a fun experience throughout, however, the constant bugs and issues that keep cropping up ruin the mood for what is otherwise a pretty cool game.
The developers are working on squashing the bugs already, and are on the right track with post-release support.
What did you think of our review of Cookie Cutter? Share what you think about it in the comments below.
This review is based on the PC version of Cookie Cutter. The key was provided by Reverb Communications.