In rare occasions you start playing a game and you immediately realise that you are playing something special. Something truly special that will blow a fresh air in the genre. Cuphead is one of those games, actually it is the best example for one of those games. We have been waiting for a long time, it was worth it. Now review time begins or you can just skip this review and buy it from the Xbox Store!
- Cuphead laughs at people who don’t consider games as an art-form. Never in my life have I seen such beautiful work before in video games. The classic throwback to years ago with the butter smooth animations is impressive enough that I’m confident that no-other game will come even close to what StudioMDHR did, you can compare it with animated cartoons, it even beats it. Explaining how great the colorful, charming and cute visuals are is impossible, you have to play it to understand how well the hand-drawn graphics are made.
- The bosses you fight against are not only visually impressive but each and every boss should be approached with a different gameplay tactic. Finding the right one takes some serious trial and error but nothing feels better than finally seeing the solution and executing it. Cuphead has some of the best boss fights I ever played, because of the absurd design, the hilarious phase changes, the cute but violent cartoon look and most importantly the addictive gameplay.
- Cuphead’s breathtaking artwork is, without a doubt, the best the game has to offer but the gameplay isn’t far behind. It begins with tight controls, something I have been missing with some previously releases platformers on Xbox. Cuphead has a “in your face” approach, you only have a handful of normal levels but most of the time you are fighting some well-designed boss. Learning how to defeat all the boss attacks is your primary goal, this is done by dying a lot and trying to figure out how to dodge or dealing damage. All of this madness is such an addictive experience, a perfect balance between frustration and that rewarding “I did It!!” feeling.
- So we know that Cuphead is hard, placing your controller in a microwave hard, buying a look-a-like Cuphead doll to smash it a million times-hard, buying a very risky Ryanair ticket (not sure about your seat) to Paris to throw your Xbox One from the Eiffel tower hard. You get the point? The greatest thing about it? Cuphead never feels unfair, you learn how to survive, persistence is key and a little bit of luck. The game is evil enough to tease you with how close you got for beating the boss, a great motivation tool to continue playing.
- A one-of-a-kind co-op experience, it is a shame that Cuphead doesn’t have online play (yet) but this game is really fun to play with a friend. Both players will need to have enough skill to pull of the reviving mechanic, so playing it with your casual girlfriend or child is out of the question.
- A 50+ long list of live performed orchestral music, insane for some AAA games, even more insane for Cuphead. Let us not forget that this is an indie game made by two people. Anyway, the musical score fits perfectly with the atmosphere and the visuals. Creating some real magical moments.
- The story about Cuphead and Mugman could have been a little bit more meaningful. They make a deal with the devil and are forced to defeat all the living souls that still owe something to Mister Satan. I am glad that Cuphead has a small storyline but I expected more.
- A vintage screen filter with some old music player sounds, it is a great way to set the overall atmosphere but this loading screen comes up quite a few times. It isn’t as troublesome like Recore but still worth mentioning.
- Controls feel tight but I had a small issue with the manual aiming, when you hold a button and your right stick you can “supposedly” manually aim you gunfinger. The issue however is that you can only aim right, left, 75 degrees and up. This causes some unnecessary frustration.
Cuphead is like bacon, it is ridiculously tasteful but bad for your health. This defining 2D platformer is fun to play, but will awaken some long-forgotten prehistoric rage, the trial and error gameplay isn’t for everyone. At the same time, every respectful gamer should try Cuphead. The two brothers: Chad and Jared Moldenhauer from StudioMDHR did great, no… FANTASTIC work. They single-handedly gave gamers a reason to buy the Xbox-consoles, it is a shame that PS4-only gamers won’t get to enjoy Cuphead.