Cookie Cutter review

by on December 14, 2023
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Release Date

December 14, 2023


I’d be hard pressed to suggest another gaming genre that makes me sit up and take notice like MetroidVanias do. It’s a genre that keeps on giving for me, producing hit after hit, wherein even the not-so-great ones bring at least something to the table. And this year we’ve seen a few, from The Last Faith and Tevi to Convergence: A League of Legends Story and the roguelite Astral Ascent. But one of the best in a year of bangers has to be Cookie Cutter, Subcult Joint’s hyperviolent revenge story.

As cyborg Cherry, your goal is to track down the evil talking heads who kidnapped your creator and left you in literal pieces. Rebuilt with new parts and an appetite for violence that would make Kratos call a timeout, Cherry sets off on an odyssey across various alien landscapes, post-apocalyptic wastelands, and industrial death traps. Some of the level designs make little sense if examined closely (factory owners of the future sure love to put massive whirling blade traps in public areas), but if you’ve come here looking for context, then you’re in the wrong place, bub.

Cookie Cutter

Arguably, the violence is what Cookie Cutter does best. A 2D action game in the vein of Dead Cells, it occasionally falls foul of the hidden bad guy conundrum, where two or more identical enemies appear as one thanks to the 2D plane, and parrying one leaves you open to the others. It’s also seriously messy, with so many mini explosions of sparks and gears and brains and bowels at a given time that it’s hard to make out protagonist Cherry’s adorably psychotic facial expressions. But it’s also one of the most brutally cathartic combat systems of the year.

Cherry’s standard kick combo is satisfying in itself, but when you add in a frankly huge amount of additional attacks, traversal moves, and Void powers, it becomes a bombastic ballet of boots, blades and body parts as you batter bionic baddies into beaten bags of blood and bolts. The combat feels effortlessly smooth, and it’s aided no end by the ability to bounce enemies off walls and ceilings, smash them into scenery, and catapult them into environmental hazards.

While Cookie Cutter doesn’t do much to break the mould, what it does with the standard MetroidVania structure is impressive. As you make your way through various themed biomes, you’ll come across teleporters which I at first took to be too widespread. However, you charge through the areas so quickly and the checkpoints are so well-spaced, that you don’t ever really need more teleporters.

Cookie Cutter

Here and there you’ll come across items that need returning to their owners, like the lens for an old dude’s eye, or someone’s head that they misplaced. These side objectives mix with the overall story so that you won’t know what’s critical path and what isn’t, and it won’t matter, because it all flows so well.

For example, I met the owner of the missing head long before I found the head and I don’t remember him asking me to find it. Some of the characters are other robots, whereas some are grotesque mutants. One is a giant ambulatory penis with muscles like The Rock. Hell, Cherry’s sidekick and guide through the game is a floating robotic lady-garden called Regina. So yes, it’s that kind of game, but weirdly it doesn’t beat you over the head with it. A lot of the humour comes from Cherry’s sassy, snarky attitude, which stays just on the right side of obnoxious. Her interactions with Raz, the dude who rebuilt her, always have a certain sweetness to them.

Progression is handled by finding pickups that give Cherry new buffs or new powers entirely. Combat abilities usually draw from the Void and often double as traversal moves, giving her things like a ground slam, air dash, ranged attack and what can only be described as a Super Saiyan style area-of-effect attack. But there’s also a special weapon that lets Cherry cut down certain walls, and one incredibly cool device that you’ll need to assemble from scattered parts.

Cookie Cutter

So ironically, Cookie Cutter stands out as something that feels quite unique. The hand-drawn art and fluid animations give it the air of a game more expensive than it probably was, and there’s enough attitude, humour, and surprises in it to keep fans of the genre glued to the screen. If anything, my only real issue comes from the energy management.

Cherry builds energy by attacking and depletes it using special abilities. She also uses it to repair herself when damaged. But if you run out after a hectic fight and the next room has an obstacle that requires use of an ability, you’ll have to go and find enemies to kill to replenish it. And as they don’t respawn unless you die and are sent to a checkpoint, sometimes your only option is to find a teleporter, warp to a different area, and then come back refilled. It’s a bit of a pace killer and would benefit from a slow regen of Void – which you can unlock later, by the way, but which you won’t have for some time.


Cookie Cutter is a fantastic example of a game made by devs that truly understand their genre. Everything is geared to keep you playing, always unlocking new powers, resources, and upgrades while charging through diverse locales at considerable speed. The bosses present enough challenge to test you without frustrating you, while there are enough puzzles in the environment to keep you scratching your head and punching the air for hours. That being said, the big orbs you move around with the Void fist can get in the bin.

Most of what Cookie Cutter sets out to do, it manages with flying colours. Despite a few minor missteps, it’s easily one of the best MetroidVania games of this year. If you’re a fan of the genre, it’s an absolute must-play.


Cathartic combat
Satisfying movement
Great progression
Looks incredible


Combat can get very messy
Energy management is a bit weird

Editor Rating
Our Score


In Short

Despite some minor missteps, Cookie Cutter is easily one of the best Metroidvania games of this year, and an absolute must-play.