REVIEW / Cookie Cutter (PS5)

In a dystopian world that is ruled with an iron fist by an egomaniacal leader who is determined to unveil the secrets of the universe, you find yourself in the middle of an adventure that will keep you on the edge of your seat for hours on end. As the Denzel (androids built to endure the work of maintaining the local environs) named Cherry, you embark on a blood-soaked quest for revenge as she explores the massive Megastructure and eviscerates the armies of Infonet, the supposed utopia built on the backs of the tireless automotons.

Cherry is here to kick ass and chew bubblegum. Unfortunately for those standing in her way, she is all out of bubblegum.

The events I just described happen in the indie game from developer Subcult Joint and publisher Rogue Games Inc called Cookie Cutter. Taking place 200 years after the creation of the Infonet and the home of the remaining denizens of the planet called the Megastructure, the planet is decaying and on the verge of collapse. Raz, a renegade mechanic and invaluable ally, stumbles across a hidden lab on his search for abandoned tech, discovers a butchered and left for dead Cherry. He manages to reassemble her and sets her on the path to rescuing her creator and lover, Doctor Shinji Fallon, who has been kidnapped by a demented sicko who is looking for something that Shinji is hiding: the mysterious Red Seed.

Cherry will encounter some denizens of the Megastructure who will assist her in her journey by giving her a new item or ability.

Cookie Cutter takes the best elements of action-adventure, 2D platforming and metroidvania games and creates an experience that had me constantly thinking about playing this game whenever I wasn’t. It’s been a while since I have come across a game that has made me feel this way and it was refreshing to have the opportunity to play this one. The environments are varied, imaginative and are used to complement the gameplay by incorporating elements that help to progress the game and are not just used as scenery. The music is some of the best that I have heard this year and does a great job of immersing the player into the experience. The characters are some of the cleverest designs in a game this year and help to create a world that I couldn’t wait to dive into.

Here Cherry is dispatching of her enemies with the power of her rock.

So, by the above description, you already have an idea of how you play the game so I don’t need to go into any more detail than that. What you need to know now is how Cherry handles as a playable character and you won’t be disappointed. Cherry glides along on her journey like a dream. As the favorite Denzel of her creator, she was designed to be able to handle whatever challenge comes her way. As you make your way through the game, you will be bestowed with powerful abilities like punching and kicking attacks as well as powered weapons that you can upgrade to unimaginable power levels making you into an unbelievable badass.

During your journey, you will acquire some heavy weapons that will help to turn the tide on your way to finding the Red Seed.

As you make your way through the game, you must literally rip the enemies limb from limb on your journey to rescuing Dr. Fallon and I can’t tell you how satisfying it is. The visuals in Cookie Cutter are all hand-drawn and is done in a cartoon style that fits the theme perfectly. I am a huge anime fan and grew up on cartoons so this art style is right up my alley. And just because it is hand-drawn, don’t think that there is any lack of detail because you would be wrong in thinking that. This is a gory game and blood and guts and sinew and bone oftentimes fills the screen and covers Cherry from head to toe.

This map represents just one of the many areas in the game.

Cherry can take it as well as she can dish it so don’t be afraid to get in there and get her hands dirty. Enemies each have their own attack patterns so learning them and being able to parry those attacks will help you to harvest as much VOID energy as possible. In the top left of the screen you will see gauges for Cherry’s health on the top and her VOID energy below that. VOID energy can be used for two purposes: either for powering her special attacks or to replenish her health. It’s up to you how you use it but you need to be strategic in your dispensing of this precious resource. You gain more VOID energy as you lay into your opponents so it encourages you to continually push forward because it could literally be the difference between making it to the end of the game or seeing the game-over screen.

On the pause screen, you can get an overview of your current items, weapons, components and abilities.

The environments in the game are huge and offer a plethora of paths to explore on your way to discovering exactly what the Red Seed is. On your way, you have the opportunity to upgrade your weapons and abilities to unimaginable heights. Chests that you find will offer you power batteries, amoung other items, that allow you to use the myriad abilities that you will need to bring Dr Fallon home safely. In addition, the denizens of the Megastructure that you will meet along the way will offer you weapons like a guitar that you an use to beat enemies to a pulp with as well as an ability to fire energy bolts from your eyes. You can customize your abilities and weapons any way that you see fit to tailor them to your playing style.

I bet these six fellows are wishing that they had stayed in bed.

As I mentioned earlier, the soundtrack in Cookie Cutter is some of the best music that I have heard in a game this year. It’s edgy and strong and does a great job of getting you in the right mind to take on whatever the game throws at you. The voice-overs are spot on as well and the voice actors do a great job of bringing the characters to life. The writing is funny and irreverant and is a huge part of what sets this game apart from a lot of other games in this genre. All of these elements come together to create an experience that is unique yet familiar while fostering an experience that is easy to jump into but a challenge to master.

Cherry gains some pretty gnarly abilities on her journey to rescuing Dr. Fallon.

There is a lot to this game that I could write about for thousands and thousands of words but I don’t want to spoil too much for you. I didn’t know what to expect from this game when I accepted the opportunity to do a review and I have to tell you that I was pleasantly surprised. In a world of games that mostly lean heavily on photorealistic visuals, it was refreshing to play a game that was literally done all by hand, so to speak. The action is fast and frenetic, environmental puzzles require you to use your brain and if you like games that you can sit back and veg out to after a long day at work, this is the game for you. Subcult Joint have crafted a unique and enjoyable adventure that I think you would be remiss in your duties as a gamer if you decided to sidestep this game.

This review is based on a retail copy of the game provided by the publisher.

Fueled by love and powered by rage.

  • Design 9/10

  • Gameplay 10/10

  • Challenge 9/10


The Void. The Matter. The Megastructure.

PROS – Amazing soundtrack – Action is fast and frenetic – Great replayability – Visuals are bright and fun – Character designs are unique and varied – Some of the best platforming in a game this year CONS – Some wonky difficulty spikes against mini-bosses and end-level bosses – Items that you cleared previously will reappear on the overhead map causing potential confusion. Ex: Locked rooms and blocked passageways that you have already unlocked/unblocked will reappear on the map as if they were locked/blocked.

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