When you are someone looking from the outside into gaming, you tend to see a cliche or a heavily noticeable trend with who plays what kind of games whether they’re first person shooters, sports titles, racing, fighting, these kind of games have thrived throughout the past decade. A genre that has been making the comeback of sorts as of late are platformers and shoot ‘em ups, one of the oldest staples in gaming, one of the best places to look to for a very nice balance of the two is Cuphead. The long awaited title by Studio MDHR features an up to two player adventure in which you take control of characters named Cuphead and Mugman who find themselves working for the Devil collecting the debt of others in order to pay him back from a bet they had lost.
Right off the bat the game is fantastic, from head to toe, when it comes to feeling like a 1930s aesthetic. Whether it’s the era appropriate jazz music, the old timey design of every sprite in the game, to even the main menu, everything just feels right and makes my inner artist cry in joy. You can obviously tell the team behind this game did their homework when it came to nailing every single aspect of the golden era of cartoons and it’s no surprise. The team behind the game have revealed their process behind making the game whether it would using original animating techniques to bringing in musicians to help with making the soundtrack as authentic as possible. The game has a right amount of respect towards it’s past while also adding in their own elements that makes this game unique. One instance is that the game includes very unique images of the bosses when they defeat you as well as a pun that accompanies the image. It could be a bone joke, a bird pun, or even something that can throw you off. There are a lot and they are all worth checking out.
The games difficulty is another thing. Although, as of writing this article, I have died a total of 609 times, I still don’t feel any ill will towards the game or want to throw my pc out the window. The game is very firm when showing you where you may have gotten something wrong. It’s a game that requires experimentation and adaption on the fly and it can either reward you for it or punish you. Not once did I die thinking the game was broken or something got in my way, on the contrary, I felt the need to try things I never thought I would be trying before and in the end If an enemy arose that felt too strong I was able to approach it in a collected manner rather than something I would call “panic shooting”.
The amount of content you are getting for the price should be one of the biggest reasons to grab this game. It advertises a twenty dollar price tag while having a lot of replayable levels and bosses. I decided that my first play through would be multiplayer while my second run would be solo and each play offers a different kind of feeling and technique to going about levels and bosses. In multiplayer it would be my friend and I mowing down enemies while dying multiple times with no regard of how long an enemy takes, in solo I felt a lot more tactical with my time and effort switching between charms, special moves, and ammo types finding the best possible outcome.
All in all, Cuphead was worth the long wait as it offers a unique experience that’s becoming a lot harder to find these days. Cuphead made me feel great about myself, although the game can be incredibly hard and downright frustrating at times, it rewards you for change. The game doesn’t need multiple modes or extra content to push you to play through it, the game itself should be good enough on its own to make you want to reach the end. If you are looking for a game that can keep you relentlessly busy for around 8 hours, offer a fun multiplayer experience, artistically gorgeous, and has a twenty dollar price tag then look no further, this games a gem.