We’ve waited and waited. Cuphead from developer MDHR peeked its head out at E3 around 2014. It was spotlighted on the back on the Xbox One box, and hyped every year since. This year at E# we got a release date and better looks at the game. MDHR touted the game would be difficult. We all scoffed, as we’re all seasoned gamers. Did MDHR keep their promise? Did the game live up to the hype? Did I break down and cry the 50th time the slot machine killed me?
That video above is from the first time I played Cuphead. My excitement for this has been well documented. I’ve been salivating for this game and the hype is real. Cuphead is a master piece. The gameplay is incredibly difficult, but after you die the 15th time, you’ll begin to learn the patterns, or what to expect the next time the woman-blimp transforms. You will die, you will be angry, you will swear and you will play again and again.
Cuphead is completely hand drawn, inked and painted. It’s done in an amazing 1930’s art style. So much so when our resident toy reviewer Ken saw the game, he couldn’t believe it. Even the sound is meticulously in another era. The hiss from the recording studio lasts throughout, and the sounds from some of the enemies (as well as the shop keep) sound like gravel, it’s perfect. The story surrounds the titular character “Cuphead” as well as his brother “Mugman” (when you’re playing two player). You’ve lost quite a bit of money in the Devils casino and now you’re going around gathering soul contracts from all sorts of characters.
There are two main type of levels: Run and Gun (Think Contra mixed with Disney), and boss battles. The boss battles are brutal, but sometimes you get lucky, get the grove early and can take them down fairly easy. I was having repeat trouble with a boss until suddenly I was parrying all the pink items, avoiding all damage, and continuously attacking. I received an A+ for my troubles and I could finally breath. The run and gun levels are also quite difficult. Continuously moving forward while dodging or attacking the never ending stream on enemies can be grating. Some of the run and gun stages are finished with a boss battle as well, so you’re doubly angry!
The game itself is amazingly made. There was a lot of love put into this game from the animation to the music created by Kristofer Maddigan everything is wonderful. You cannot however continue through the game without playing it on “Regular” difficulty, you can finish the level and get a feel for it, and then try and finish it on regular. If you’re not a hardcore gamer or good at certain aspects of the game. this will definitely be a daunting task. It sometimes takes away from all the good aspects of the game leaving you with a 1930’s sour taste in your mouth.
All in all I would highly recommend Cuphead, as again, the graphics and soundtrack are incredible. The gameplay is awesome, but the difficulty will sway some people, and for good reason.