Cuphead Game Review

Posted on October 17, 2017

By Ramzi Maducdoc

    Joy in video games can come in many shapes and forms. In Cuphead, by Studio MDHR Entertainment, joy is achieved through the rush of finally finishing one of its many grueling levels.
    From first glance, the most striking feature of Cuphead is its visual appearance. The game takes upon an extremely charming 1930s cartoon-like art style, complemented with a highly engaging soundtrack inspired from the same era.
    The screen crackles and the colors pop with luminous vibrancy. The game is truly a joy to look at, and it pays great homage to its inspirations.
    Looks can be deceiving however, as a walk through a caricatured park is the last thing to expect from this game.
    In terms of gameplay, Cuphead follows the rudimentary platform shooter archetype, similar to games like Contra and Megaman.
    Akin to these games, Cuphead is also similar in terms of perplexity.
    To put it bluntly, Cuphead is a very difficult game. From my own experience, it took me almost an hour to complete only the first level.
    Following the experience, things came relatively easier, as I had some grasp of the mechanics of the game.
    Even after that, the game still continued to be challenging, as levels and boss fights came in increasing difficulty.
    The main attraction of this game are the boss fights. They consist of unearthly beings throwing all sorts of ludicrous attacks in an attempt to completely deplete your limited health pool.
    Each fight is both a joy and a struggle to complete, as bosses for the most part fight in difficult but predictable patterns.
    Boss fights can be played in two difficulties: simple and regular. This really doesn’t mean anything because both are hard either way.
    For the full experience, I suggest the regular difficulty, as they give the complete brutal experience and give a huge rush of euphoria when you finally beat the boss.
    The game also locks you out of the finale unless you beat all bosses on regular difficulty. In other words, to see everything, you will need to do it the hard way.
    The great thing about Cuphead’s extremely demanding boss fights is that sense of completion and progression afterwards.
    After beating subsequent levels and bosses and collecting coins and upgrades, the sense of progression as a player and as a character is very evident. This was the factor that kept me coming back for more, and is something that I rarely see in games today.
    Overall, Cuphead’s charming atmosphere paired with its laborious yet extremely joyful gameplay combine for an experience even hardened gamers could sit down and enjoy. The journey is painful, but the satisfaction at the end is well worth the grind.

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