Our Review of Cuphead

With the hype for Cuphead reviving a bit with their latest E3 announcement, I thought it would be a good time to share my thoughts and review Cuphead. Cuphead is a Run n’ Gun/Platformer style game with a high difficulty curve where most of the gameplay happens in the form of boss fights.

Gameplay

You play as the character Cuphead (or his pal Mugman if you play co-op), and the two characters gamble at the Devil’s casino and are bound to a contract with him when a gamble goes south. You’re tasked with collecting the contracts of other beings in the land, and then you’re sent on your journey. So the storyline is simple and not emphasized, which is perfect for a fast paced game like this.

When it comes to the gameplay itself you’re given a basic pea shooter as a starting weapon and you unlock more as you gather coins from the game’s Run n’ Gun levels. And while collecting the upgrades feels fun at first, it doesn’t take you very long to realize that a lot of the upgrades aren’t actually very useful, and probably could have been done better.

The progression of difficulty is pretty fair, starting you off with fairly easy boss fights and moving up to much more challenging ones as you reach the more difficult zones. But of course, all of this is supported by the games’ visuals.

The Cuphead "Feel"

With hand drawn artwork, you’ll be amazed by the artistic talent that went into this game, with mere seconds of gameplay involving hours of work. This allows the developers to come up with these crazy bosses where they take up the entire screen, and their attacks disorient and confuse the player, making for a challenging fight.

For the most part these fights are fair, the attacks are cued well visually, and usually you can predict attacks as they come. There are however a few bosses that have attacks which aren’t related to the theme of the boss itself, making those fights seem a bit more unfair than the others. But overall you should be able to get through every fight with multiple attempts, and it is well worth it to see all that the game has to offer.

The only other point of controversy this game faced is that if you choose to fight bosses on the “simple” difficulty, you are barred from fighting the final boss. Some think that this is wrong since the player paid for the game, but personally I wish more games would take this approach. In a lot of games, if you couldn’t beat a level, you couldn’t get to the rest of the game. And other challenging games will do this same thing, just not as blatantly as Cuphead does. But I don’t see this as a bad thing, as it’s the developers telling the players that they must achieve a certain level of performance before being rewarded with beating the entire game.

Conclusion

Overall Cuphead pulls together all of its individual parts to make a wonderful, and sometimes painfully difficult experience. Visually stunning, fast paced and rewarding upon completion, Cuphead is a great buy. If only they could have pulled together those upgrades to give the player more options for the boss fights, they would’ve have an even better experience, and I’m excited to see what the DLC has to offer next year! I give Cuphead an 8/10!

— Joseph Musgrove

We also recently reviewed No Man's Sky and Other Games, take a look!