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Cuphead Review

Well worth the wait as it offers hours of gameplay, due in large part by the difficulty, and absolutely stunning artwork.

Developer: Studio MDHR
Publisher: Studio MDHR
Release Date: September 29, 2017
Platforms: Xbox One, Microsoft Windows
Platform Reviewed on: Xbox One

Cuphead has finally arrived! And it lives up the long-awaited, three-year hype. As many other users have expressed, yes it is a very difficult 2D side-scroller. With that being said, boy is it a fun game though. Many reviewers have often dubbed it as the Dark Souls of shooters. The game demands that you bring your A-game and hand-eye coordination as you play through relentless boss battles and difficult sublevels with only three hit points. Also no Checkpoints! Despite the difficulty, Cuphead is one of the most fun side-scrollers I have ever played.

A Throwback classic

Cuphead bw

Cuphead stars a crazy cool character by the name of Cuphead and his partner Mugman who make a deal with the devil and then have to repay a debt by collecting contracts of other debtors. Cuphead must collect these contracts by downing crazy boss-fights that require quick reflexes and a solid strategy to win back the contract for the Devil. When Cuphead was first announced at E3 2014 fans were immediately drawn to its 1930’s cartoonish style. The game runs smoothly with perfectly hand-drawn art mixed with platforming and run-n-gun play styles. All of these factors combined make this indie something special. The artwork resembles that of a Betty Boop/Mickey Mouse cartoon. Who remembers the first level of Mickey Mania?

Mechanics

As mentioned before, the object of the game is to obtain the contracts of bosses for the devil as you travel through 3 different Isles. You battle it out in a heated bout dodging and using reflexes to avoid a multitude of attacks. Collecting coins from the run-n-gun levels is extremely beneficial to help with some of the bosses as you can purchase a variety of weapons like a spread shot, or a charged shot. Also available to purchase are buffs like having an extra health or filling your Super Meter. Speaking of Super Meter, performing precision parry’s fills up your meter faster. A parry requires you to hit the jump button again at the right time when you see any pink object in the game. The pink objects can be a projectile or enemy and are very well placed throughout the game.

Parrying gives you a boost in meter and in the final grade for each level. You are allowed to carry two weapons at a time which you can switch any time before doing a level. Careful planning and learning the bosses’ attack pattern can really help you succeed. Every boss fight has multiple forms where they will change shape, and behavior throwing new things your way throughout. There is a Simple and Regular mode where a number of forms, difficulty and patterns change. Only on the Regular difficulty can you collect the contract. However beating it on Simple will still progress you through the game.

Co-Op

The bosses’ health meter is never displayed and you can never really tell how far you are until it’s too late and you die. After death, a progress bar will display how close you were to winning. Over time and playing a lot, you will start to get a feel of how much damage you need to do to win. You are guaranteed to become frustrated but that’s what makes this game epic. I found that playing with a partner makes it a little harder. There are more projectiles on the screen, the bosses’ health is increased and there is another player in the way on screen. You do have a small window of time to revive your partner by parrying their ghost, but it’s a mere few seconds while it floats up to the top of the screen before disappearing for the remainder of the fight. The ghost floats faster after each revive and you only have one HP upon revival.

Boss Battle

 

Final Verdict

Cuphead has finally arrived and is well worth the wait as it offers hours of gameplay, due in large part by the difficulty, and absolutely stunning artwork. The soundtrack really brings you back into the 30’s and is even sort of creepy but well composed. I would highly recommend this game to anyone who wants a co-op experience or a challenging platformer. It truly is a rare and original game that deserves all the praise that it has been given.

 

Pros

  • Great difficulty level
  • Stunning artwork
  • Great soundtrack
  • Fun co-op

 

Cons

  • No boss health meter

 

Score: 9.3/10

Check out my Let’s Play as my Girlfriend and I struggle on Co-Op. And as always, stayed tuned for more cool reviews here at Lunawolf Gaming.

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