Cuphead Xbox One Review

Jari Välimäki

Cuphead

After putting years of hard work and dedication into Cuphead, Studio MDHR has finally released the anticipated game we first saw glimpses of at E3 back in 2014.
We learn’t back then that every single frame in game was hand drawn, and boy has it been worth the wait..
The game is truly a visual masterpiece, looking like a 1930’s cartoon.. and the jazzy soundtrack is hitting a home run too.

Cuphead tells the story of two brothers, Cuphead and Mugman whom made a bad deal with the devil following some unlucky gambling.
Which leads you to getting out of debt; by collecting soul contracts across the Inkwell Islands either single player, or local co-op with your friend(s) in epic Boss Fights,
all of them hand drawn to perfection with their own personality and charm.

Basically the bosses are the stars of the show, and by naming them I kind of spoil the joy and fun of finding, trying to beat them, failing, and eventually succeeding.
But there are several several bosses in the game which should keep you occupied for some time (or in my case a long time).

Each of the levels can be played on a simple or regular difficulty, but you only get to fight the last bosses once you’ve beaten the rest on regular.
Simple mode does reduce the bosses health and takes away entire stages from the fight that you can only experience on regular difficulty.
You start off with 3 health bars, and can later on in the game improve on that. But the ultimate rule is that when you die, you start over.

Cuphead started out as a Boss Fight game only, but progressed throughout development to have Run & Gun (Platforming) levels which can be completed in different ways,
like the name says Run and Gun, or the pacifist way.. not killing enemies and reaching the end of the level (for Achievement hunters this is a tough cookie to do).

While you work your way through the Islands beating bosses, run & gun levels and collecting coins, you can also frequent shops to buy some power ups to help you along the way.
For instance you start off the game with one gun, and can purchase later on a second one.. an auto aiming gun for example, it does a little less damage, but as you have infinite
bullets that is ok. To name other things you can purchase in game, there is a charm that makes you invincible whenever you do the dash move to get past enemies.

There is alot of neat things you can equip in game to help you beat a level, and sometimes it takes a bit of trial and error/time to choose what suits the level.
Cuphead features also a super meter, which fills up by just dealing damage, and can be partially drained to use a enhanced version of a normal attack,
or by saving it til it’s full and then slashing out a devastating super move. All part of the fun, figuring out should you use it now, or save it for later on in the level.

Cuphead is the type of game that I was really intrigued by from the very beginning I saw it, I had it in the back of my head that it was not going to be an easy ride
by any means, and that is exactly what’s going on here.

Cuphead shines in a way no other game has done for me in a long time, one minute you are about to throw
out your controller after dying 10-15 times in a row to your own mistakes (stupid thumbs), and then you succeed in getting forward and there’s joy.. and all is
forgiven… (thank you thumbs!)

It’s managed to show me what I didn’t know I had in regards to platforming games; and that is patience mixed with forgiveness,
Just because I want to see what’s around the next bend.

It’s in no way an easy game even if there are difficulty settings you can adjust, but as the old saying goes:
practice makes perfect, and that’s what you have to aim for here, practice and alot of it..

Maybe what I’ve written above kind of scares you a bit?

I hope not, I really hope that if you’ve read this far already, that you would take a gamble and make a deal with Cuphead and Mugman to try it out atleast..
Yes it can be frustrating and hard, but the feeling when you progress and move forward in the game is an feeling that beats all other feelings you go through.
And by taking that chance, you get to experience first hand the hand drawn awesomeness and top notch jazzy music.

It’s tough but it’s fair, It’s Cuphead.

Cuphead is out now. (Released 29th September)
Check your Xbox One, Windows Store, and or Steam client for pricing or your local retailer.

Review code provided by Microsoft.

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