It’s time for a platformer with a pretty fun time manipulation gimmick. In a lot of platformers you really focus on running to the goal and dodging attacks but in this one you actually have the ability to rewind as you may have guessed from the title which is really fun. Additionally since the game is built around that premise, it’s actually very well balanced so you aren’t just being extremely overpowered while slicing through the competition. This game has a lot of replay value and it’s actually quite a bit of fun to go back and work on those levels. I ended up getting an S rank on 6 out of the 10 levels which went over better than I had expected.
The story follows a girl named Kohaku who wakes up in a strange world in a cybernetic costume. She doesn’t really know what’s going on but there is a talking sword named EXEBreaker who wants her to break the system. Kohaku is fine with doing this but what is this system and what’s going on? As you go through the game this will all be explained. You even have to go up against your father and Kohaku will have to make some tough choices. It isn’t going to be possible to make everyone happy this time around so she can’t just press on ahead without a plan.
There are 5 main levels and then 5 SP levels so there are 10 levels in the game. Each level is reasonably challenging though which is exactly why you have the rewind feature. As Kohaku you have a single life point so taking any damage automatically means you lose. Fortunately you have 3 seconds of rewind time in the vault and so you can use that to quickly get back in the action. Of course if you die while you have no rewind time left then you go back to the last checkpoint. You passively gain your rewind time back up to 3 seconds once you use it so as long as you don’t die too often then you’re good.
Of course with the way these enemies attack that can be easier said than done. Other times you may find yourself in a death loop accidentally and be doomed. This can happen when you are squished by an object for example. So plan things out well or you will jus get yourself in a jam. On paper I know that sounds easy but that’s why this game stands out. The levels are really well designed to keep you from cheesing it. You do have to actually get a hang for the controls. I would say the gameplay itself reminds me of Mega Man Zero a lot. You can dash, back dash, crouch, use your sword combos and you have a double jump. Basically if there is a movement option then odds are that you have it.
You can cover a lot of ground and so the actual platforming will normally be easy while the real danger is sticking away from the enemy robots. Once you beat the game then you unlock a super mode which makes all of the levels a lot easier. This is perfect for earning S ranks and all of that plus it’s just fun to have a laser cannon instead of only relying on the sword. Just be careful that you don’t get sloppy as it can be very easy to relax your guard when you have a better weapon.
I died numerous times against the final boss for that reason. It’s just hard to go back to the sword when you’re used to the lasers. Also I kept getting trapped by this portal attack the boss uses and it turns out that I wasn’t supposed to go inside it. See, I thought that was just the next phase of the fight and so I always let it suck me in but apparently that’s a trap. It’s actually kind of clever when you think about it. I can tip my hat to the developers on that one.
The base game is reasonably long since those 10 levels are not a walk in the park. Then you have a lot of good replay value with trying to get the Platinum here. It’s definitely a difficult platinum but one that looks achievable. I would say to give it a go and see how you fare. Even without that, the base game was still fun enough where you will have a great time. I really enjoyed the story all the way through. It’s a pretty fun sci-fi premise with a lot of fun twists scattered all throughout the game. The cast is fairly small but memorable and each character brings something to the table.
By splitting the 10 levels into two sets it also helped you get used to two different fighting styles. For example in the second half your rewinding abilities are much more limited so you really have to focus on your pure fundamentals. Just running in won’t be helping you out much at all because you can’t spam rewind the way that you could. Then at the very end of the game you get the third gameplay style which is a lot of fun and I’m glad it was added to free play.
The graphics here are definitely very solid. The art style really gets the sci-fi feel across very well. It has that Mega Man vibe without feeling like a clone and all of the character designs are on point. The soundtrack is also very good with a lot of solid rock type themes. I actually need to look them up later since it would be a lot of fun to listen to those tracks again. On a technical level the game holds nothing back.
Overall, Cogen really delivers on everything I could have wanted here. It’s a fun side scroller with an intense story and a lot of fun gameplay. The rewinding gimmick is one that never feels annoying and in instead it’s really innovative. The game had a very specific goal in mind and executes on all cylinders. I really had no issues with the game at all and highly recommend checking it out. Hopefully at some point we can get a sequel here since there is still a lot of potential all around.