Cuphead Review – A deal with the devil
StudioMDHR Entertainment Inc.
StudioMDHR Entertainment Inc.
29 September, 2017
Xbox One, PC
Inspired by cartoons of the 1930s, Cuphead is a classic run and gun action game that has become extremely popular among PC and Xbox One gamers for its difficulty. Pretty sure that most of you have heard of this game, we tried the game out too and here is our Cuphead review!
Cuphead tells the story of the two adorable brothers – Cuphead and Mugman who risked their soul to gamble with the Devil but lost to him. As they beg for mercy, the Devil makes a deal with them – collect the souls of his runaway debtors for him. Therefore, the brothers will need to travel across strange worlds and complete plenty of stand-alone boss fights in order to pay their debt back.
The story actually comes with 2 different endings where you can choose whether to join the Devil's team or not. If you say Yes, the Devil will turn Cuphead and Mugman into his demonic servant (bad ending). If you say No, Cuphead and Mugman will have a final battle with the Devil. After defeating the Devil, the brothers would burn all the soul contracts and tell anyone that they are all free of the Devil's debt (good ending).
The game is heavily focused on boss battles with a few run and gun level for you to earn coins. There will be 2 difficulty level for boss battles – simple or regular but in fact, you will need to beat all the bosses at regular difficulty so you can access to its final parts.
Every boss battle is roughly 1 to 3 minutes long with a few change of phases which the boss will transform and introduces new tricks. Some bosses even have multiple forms that you will face them at random sequence. The good thing is, the bosses’ attack patterns are predictable so you could do trial and error until you remember how they attack and prepares your next strategy.
While for the “Run and Gun” levels, you will be able to challenge the Super Mario like side-scroller and collect coins. Noted that there is no checkpoint at all, you will need to start the level from its beginning even if you run out of hitpoints just before the finish line.
Coins are used to unlocks new weapons and abilities (you can purchase them at the shop). The game allows you to equip 2 different attacks and swap them freely during battles. Some attack and ability work better on certain bosses (or levels) so you should think about what you bring to the battle.
Other than the typical 4-direction movement, you can dash, parry or ex shot too. Although the controls are pretty easy, using them on the correct timing is not an easy task. Parrying requires you to double-jump off any pink objects (such as enemies or bullets) to add a bar to your super meter and keep you safe.
As you super meter fills up, you will be able to release ex shot – a special attack that deals upgraded damage to the enemy. You can release ex shot whenever it is available (using one super meter card) or save them up until 5 charges for a Super attack.
Graphics and Audio
The art style and sound work are what makes Cuphead stand out from the others. The game looks so gorgeous with its 1930s art style that reminds me of the early Disney cartoons, even the characters bear a resemblance to Mickey Mouse. The backgrounds, animation and characters are all hand-drawn then touched-up digitally, the bosses are having their unique design (even though some of them doesn’t really make sense).
The game also features some stunning orchestral soundtrack which I found them pleasant to listen to, even after I spent my time fighting the same level again and again. The sound effects are well-designed too.
Cuphead is a masterpiece in its art and sound design, however for its difficulty level, it is truly “a deal with the Devil”. There is no other way to beat this game except mastering your skills and wishing for the luck to stay by your side. It is a game that will make you swear in anger, hating yourself for being slow in reacting but then cry happy tears when you finally passes the level.
Besides, here is a tip for everyone – if you are unable to perform well due to its default control schemes, try remapping them to the ones you are familiar to.
If you love challenging things (that require you to try it over and over until you succeed in it), Cuphead is totally worth your time. If you not, you better think twice before you start to play it. Cuphead is now available on Steam for RM38 (or $19.99).