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Cookie Cutter Review: A Metroidvania With Punk Spirit

Cookie Cutter header

Like many games, Cookie Cutter is set in a dystopian future ruled by an egotistical maniac. It’s here where a doctor named Shinji Fallon creates her latest android and names it Cherry. It’s the love of her life, in fact, but their days together are soon brought to an end after her lab is raided, and Cherry is left for dead. But all is not lost. Years later, it appears that Cherry was found and nursed back to health. Now she’s ready to head out and get revenge on those who destroyed the life she once had, and hopefully save Shinji in the process.

It’s a fun setup – if not a little clichéd – but it gets the job done and sets the tone. This is a game that doesn’t hold any punches, putting on a display of vulgar violence within minutes and the horrifying effects it has on Cherry. You feel for her, and can understand the rage and anger she has against INFONET, the organisation that has effectively ruined her life. But at the same time she has a punk spirit; she’s eager to chart her own path, be her own person, and simply break stuff.

Taking control of Cherry in Cookie Cutter’s run-down world, you’ll find that she’s nimble on her feet for an android. She moves around at a brisk pace like she’s got purpose, something you’ll definitely appreciate as you explore the game’s large map. Being a Metroidvania you have plenty of freedom here, though your progress is often halted by your limited abilities. And so as you gain new upgrades like the ability to double jump or air dash, it pays to revisit areas you’ve already been through to discover new routes, collectibles, or even more upgrades.

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Image: Subcult Joint/Rogue Games

Of course, like in any Metroidvania, combat plays a large role here. It’s fast paced and chaotic, and also reminiscent of Guacamelee! to an extent. Weak attacks form the bread and butter of your onslaughts, and by using them you generate Void energy. This can then be used to perform more powerful attacks with one of numerous weapons you’ll acquire on your adventure. The first of these is a huge metal fist, and others are even more outlandish such as the guitar. You can perform different attacks by combining them with other actions and directions, such as a powerful uppercut, and even perform combos in the air. All in all, it’s a fun system, even if it does feel a little bit unrefined at times.

Related: The Best Metroidvania Games on PS5

Ranged enemies prove to the most problematic, often standing on ledges that you need to jump to. Firing at set intervals, they can sometimes feel hard to approach without eating some damage, at least until you’ve acquired the air-dash. And even when you do get in range and pound on them, they might respond with a counter-attack through your attack if you’re not careful, once again giving them some room. In fact, watching out for enemy counter-attacks can be a problem in general, what with the action being so chaotic at times. When there are multiple enemies all baying for your robotic blood, as well as projectiles and also maybe environmental elements in the mix, it can be hard to spot a specific incoming danger.

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Image: Subcult Joint/Rogue Games

Once you’ve got some decent upgrades under your belt and you’re accustomed to the game’s brand of high octane action, however, there’s a lot of fun to be had with Cookie Cutter. It’s not the most rewarding Metroidvania out there when it comes to exploration, with your only reward for going off the beaten path often being nothing more than a bit of currency. You might find it a bit unbalanced at times, too. In fact, you could consider it a bit rough around the edges in general. But overall the meat of the experience here is solid.

With the Metroidvania genre seemingly being one of the most popular right now, fans are stacked with choices when it comes to what to play. And while Cookie Cutter might not be at the top of the pile, it does stand out for a number of reasons. Its hand-drawn art is wonderful to behold, and its punk spirit will no doubt be very attractive to some. Then there’s the combat, which has its issues but is mostly chaotic in the best way. Ultimately, then, while it’s not going to win any awards, you could do a lot worse than spend time with Cookie Cutter.

Cookie Cutter Review – GameSpew’s Score

This review of Cookie Cutter is based on the PS5 version, with a code provided by the game’s publisher. It’s available on PS5, Xbox Series X/S and PC.
Editor in Chief // An avid gamer since discovering the wonders of the Acorn Electron in the '80s, Rich has nearly played more games than he's had hot dinners. Not one to put all his eggs in one basket, Rich is happy to play games of all genres, but he particularly enjoys racing games and anything that's full of non-stop action, especially if it includes a good dose of humour, horror or crudeness!