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Cuphead Review

Nintendo Switch by StudioMDHR 0 text

Cuphead Thumbnail

Delightfully devilish!

"Cuphead" is a distinctive game that takes inspiration from 1930s cartoons, both in aesthetic and in challenge. Developed by StudioMDHR, a small indie game studio formed by two brothers, Chad and Jared Moldenhauer, this game is renowned for its hand-drawn animations, jazz soundtrack, and its notorious difficulty. The game has not only captured the attention of hardcore gamers but has also received acclaim for its art style and innovation in gameplay.

Gameplay 8

**Cuphead’s** gameplay is a meticulous blend of run-and-gun action and boss battles that tests precision and endurance. The game uniquely combines these elements with a fair but punishing difficulty curve. Players take on the role of Cuphead (or his brother Mugman in two-player mode), who must navigate a series of levels to repay a debt to the devil.

Each level is crafted with a series of complex patterns that require players to learn and adapt quickly. The core gameplay involves dodging a barrage of attacks while managing to shoot back at various enemies. This is complemented by the ability to parry certain pink-colored projectiles which adds an extra layer of depth to the gameplay. The parry mechanic not only allows players to charge their powerful 'super' moves but also introduces a risk-reward strategy that is central to mastering the game.

The controls are tight and responsive, which is crucial for the precision that Cuphead demands. The game offers a variety of weapons and charms, giving players the flexibility to tailor their playstyle to each challenge. However, the high difficulty may not be for everyone, as it requires significant patience and skill, often leading to frustration among less experienced players.

Graphics 9

The graphics of **Cuphead** are nothing short of a visual feast. The game’s aesthetic mimics the look and feel of 1930s animations, complete with the grainy film quality and surreal, morphing characters that feel like they've been pulled directly from a vintage cartoon. Every frame of the game is hand-drawn and inked, and the backgrounds are watercolored, which is a rare dedication to authenticity in game design.

This labor-intensive process not only sets Cuphead apart from other games visually but also creates a nostalgic connection to early animation. The characters are charming and whimsical, despite their often menacing roles. The attention to detail is evident in every aspect of the game’s design, from the character animations to the dynamic and fitting backdrops.

Cuphead image 2

Storyline 7

The storyline in **Cuphead** is straightforward yet fittingly thematic. Cuphead and his brother Mugman, while exploring, stumble upon a casino where they end up gambling away their souls to the devil. In order to save themselves, they must collect the contracts of other debtors who owe their souls to the devil.

The plot serves as a simple framework to link the game’s various levels and boss battles. While the story is not the most complex or deep, it provides enough context to motivate the player and add stakes to the gameplay. The 1930s cartoon theme is consistently maintained, reinforcing the game’s unique style and charm.

Multiplayer 8

Cuphead offers a local cooperative multiplayer mode where a second player can join as Mugman. This mode does not alter the game’s difficulty, which means that both players need to be highly coordinated to succeed. The cooperative mode is a standout feature, as it not only makes the challenging gameplay more manageable but also more enjoyable.

Playing with a friend adds a layer of strategy to the game, as players can revive each other when knocked out, provided they can reach the fallen player in time. This adds a crucial dynamic to gameplay, emphasizing teamwork and communication. However, the chaotic nature of the game’s visuals and boss patterns can sometimes make multiplayer feel crowded and confusing.

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Issues and Community Feedback

Players have celebrated **Cuphead** for its unique visual style and challenging gameplay. However, its difficulty level has also been a point of contention. While many appreciate the tough-but-fair approach, others find it too punishing, leading to frustration and a steep learning curve for casual players.

Conclusion 8.5

Cuphead is a remarkable achievement in both game design and homage to 1930s animation. Its unique aesthetic, combined with challenging gameplay, makes it a memorable experience for those who dare to take on its trials. While the high difficulty curve might deter some, the satisfaction of conquering tough bosses is immensely rewarding. The game is a testament to the capabilities of indie developers and is a must-play for those who appreciate art and a good challenge.

Pros and Cons

  • Stunning visuals
  • Engaging gameplay
  • Creative design
  • Very challenging
  • Limited story depth

Player Quotes

"Never have I been so thrilled and infuriated simultaneously!"

"An absolute masterpiece of art and design."

"The difficulty might not be for everyone, but it’s a rewarding experience if you stick with it."

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Please note that this review is based on the feedback and sentiments of players on various Reddit threads and does not represent the views of all players.