Cookie Cutter is an upcoming Metroidvania featuring a cybernetic punk rock chick storming the gates of an evil corporation’s city to rescue her kidnapped scientist girlfriend.
The game starts with a quick backstory that establishes the world Cookie Cutter is set in called the Megastructure, and tells the story of how a clearly evil CEO harnesses the power of the void to trap people’s souls into machines known as Denzels to carry out his corporation’s plans.
The narrator of this story is former denzel creator Dr. Shinji Fallon, and she describes her decision to no longer stand by and let the evil INFONET corporation turn people into slaves. She creates an android companion to help her fight them, but little did she know she’d fall in love with her creation.
Things were all fine and good until one day the INFOSYS corporation came to her house, brutally beat down her creation, and kidnapped her for their nefarious plans.
With the help of a man named Raz, Cherry is repaired and rebuilt harnessing the power of another entity named Regina that’s lovingly housed right between Cherry’s legs.
Yes, this is quite literally a game about a robot girl and her talking vagina going and getting revenge on those who harmed her to rescue her kidnapped girlfriend/creator.
Shock value aside, the story is silly and just coherent enough to exist, but the meat and potatoes of this adventure are Cherry’s stylish animations and the incredibly well-hand-drawn art style that sets Cookie Cutter apart from many other entries in the genre.
The game is absolutely a pleasure to see in motion, channeling art inspirations from things like Scott Pilgrim vs the World and Invader Zim. As a matter of fact, Cookie Cutter is the game I’ve been showing off to people when they’ve asked to see my Steam Deck OLED because of how great the game looks on the upgraded screen.
Everything in this game looks great, including all of the intricate details in the character models such as Cherry’s skirt flipping up as she throws kicks or the vibrant PAR-RY!! comic book-style screens that flash in the background when you successfully counter an attack. It looks incredible in motion and is worth checking out based on sight alone.
But with a fairly weak baseline story, does the gameplay help balance out the recipe? I’d like to think so, as the combat is pretty fun though a bit janky with the time I’ve spent playing the preview build.
Combos are fast and fluid as Cherry can easily spam basic attacks and trigger directional attacks to help extend combos based on whether or not enemies are above or below her, but my biggest gripe is the lack of weight behind each hit.
More often than not, especially early on, you’ll feel like a mosquito furiously batting at enemies and barely putting a scratch on them, opting to make heavy use of Cherry’s void gauntlet to feel like you’re doing any real damage.
Eventually Cherry unlocks new weapons, like a guitar that shocks enemies with each subsequent smash, as well as new void abilities such as being able to shoot a fireball, but there’s still nothing that gives you that meaty OOMPH that you want when you land a heavy attack.
It’s close – using the gauntlet to smash enemies into environmental hazards feels far better than just a basic combo string, but it’s not quite there yet. I’d like to see a bit more weight added to make combat feel a bit more complete.
One refreshing thing about Cookie Cutter is that it’s purely a Metroidvania, there’s no souls-like elements or rogue-like nonsense to have to manage while also just trying to find hidden rooms/secrets strewn about the labyrinth of each of the Megastructure’s biomes.
You simply navigate from place to place using teleporters that you’ll find as you explore each subsection. It’s simplistic and old school, but it’s honestly a breath of fresh air not having additional mechanics thrown in just for the sake of doing it because they’re super popular.
Is Cookie Cutter woke though? It kinda looks like it screams feminist buzzwords from a glance at the Steam page. Eh, I would venture to say that’s up to your definition of woke. Raz is a black dude who’s there to help her, but that never seems forced or out of place.
Cherry and Shinji being in a lesbian relationship is forced, I guess, but if a single gay relationship means woke to you, then nothing I write is going to change your mind in that regard.
If anything, Cookie Cutter is a call back to that 90’s Riot Grrl subculture that idolized things like Aeon Flux and Tank Girl. It’s less about “woke” and more about feeling rebellious.
Cherry is very clearly not meant to be a sex symbol, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t sexy things about her, and for those of you like me who believe in Tomboy Supremacy, you’ll probably find yourself having a good time ripping enemies to shreds and watching Cherry’s glee while doing it.
Cookie Cutter releases on PC via Steam and EGS, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X/S, on December 14th.