Continuing our regular new feature with quick-fire reviews and impressions of what I’ve been playing this week, old and new and a bit of both…

All about my favourite witchy cute ‘em up Cotton on Switch this week, with two more 30th anniversary releases coming to the West for the first time – Cotton 100% from the SNES and Panorama Cotton from the Mega Drive. Cotton 100% is a straight-up 2D shooter, remixing the original arcade game with new level designs and a hell of a paint job, where Panorama Cotton goes full on 3D; think psychedelic anime Space Harrier! I’d played both before but never really gave them a chance, and how wrong I was. I love Cotton, and there’s already full reviews for both on the site here and here!

A little while ago, my friends at the wonderful Cane and Rinse podcast did a deep-dive into Hypnospace Outlaw, an offbeat nineties internet simulator where you have to enforce standards by scouring its ancient pages and hunting down wrongdoers. It sounded fascinating, I saved it for later on Xbox Game Pass, and it turns out it is fascinating! It’s some well-realised recent historical fictional mixed with some increasingly in-depth detective work and a bit of nostalgia, and I’m so glad I gave it a go!

Over on iOS, I played Crossy Road to death a few years ago, and it’s sequel was a big draw for trying Apple Arcade again now, but Crossy Castle turned out to be a nice looking but very average loot-based platformer that didn’t hold my attention for long. Castlevania: Grimoire of Souls was another attraction, but while the monetisation might have been removed here, it’s still free-to-play at its worst! Don’t be fooled by the sights and sounds, this isn’t Castlevania. Controls like crap too! A few more games left to try on there, namely the Alto’s Odyssey update, Taiko no Tatsujin Pop Tap Beat and Tetris Beat, but I can’t see me needing to go beyond my current, second trial period.

Otherwise, I’ve had a good time with recent Atari ST pickups Pit-Fighter and Turbo Out Run, and they’re both nice versions despite the non-stop loading! More occult pinball too, but this time the Devil’s Crash MD variant on Mega Drive, and my dear old arcade Splatterhouse (and a bit of its Mega Drive sequel) for some Halloween high-score shenanigans with my friends on Twitter!

After the bumper crop of Cotton reviews and a big New Zealand Story feature on the site this week, we’re going to calm down a little next week with a look at Mastertronic’s Hunter Patrol for the Commodore 64. Until then…

EDIT FROM THE FUTURE: In a slight last-minute change of plan, we’ll be saving Hunter Patrol for next week and reviewing a brand new Spectrum game instead. And it’s a belter!