Thursday, 05 October 2017 19:10

REVIEW: Cuphead (Xbox One)

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Announced back in 2014, the long-awaited hand-drawn action game Cuphead is finally here.

Developed by StudioMDHR, Cuphead and it’s art style is a homage to the 1930s cartoons, but don’t let this cute cartoon art style title fool you because this game isn’t what it seems. Cuphead can be pretty tough and will require a lot of patience, skill and cat like reflexes. The biggest requirement in Cuphead is pattern recognition and being able to read your opponent's next move.

So what’s it about? The story behind it all is a bit of a sinister one. You play as two pieces of homeware, Cuphead and his brother Mughead who both end up in a bit of a pickle with the devil through gambling. The only way out of the devil's debt is for Cuphead and his brother to wonder around three different world maps tracking down the Devil’s targets, defeating them in battles and collecting contracts. Sounds easy right? Well, not at all i’m afraid.

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Cuphead is tough, and tackling the bosses can be difficult, and there are a few dozen or so boss fights you’ll come across. Completing each boss fight will reward you with one of the devils outstanding contracts. These boss fights aren’t terribly long, only a few minutes or so each, which is fine as you will be dying a lot, so these are short enough for you to learn patterns to finally beat the boss. The fights themselves are broken up into different phases, with each phase introducing a new set of challenges to overcome by trial and error. Outside of these boss battles are the odd run and gun platforming type levels where you just need to jump, dash and parry your way to the end of the level.

As you play, Cuphead will unlock new weapons and abilities. This allows you to further experiment with your new gear, working out the best way to defeat any given boss. You're able to carry two weapons, a bonus power and a special attack at all times. This is where the game can become somewhat a little easier for you by making sure you have different sets of charms (perks) and weapons at your disposal. Though, the only way you can purchase the different weapons and perks are by collecting gold coins. These gold coins can be found hiding in the world maps, while other coins can be given to you from characters hanging around the maps. Weapons and buffs can also be purchased with these gold coins.

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Now, as I said earlier, this game can be tough but there is a "Simple" difficulty you can choose to play on. All this really does though is take out a phase or two from the full encounter. While that’s all well and good, the only issue here is you won’t get the contract signed-off for that boss fight to then hand into the devil. So at some point, if you do plan on actually completing the game's final boss, you will need to defeat each boss on the "Regular" difficulty.

So is it worth your time? Well, Cuphead is a stunning looking game that feels and looks like it’s been ripped straight out of a 1930s cartoon. While it might be kind of tough for some players, the upbeat music and very creative enemy and level design will have you coming back time and time again, giving that one tricky boss another attempt of taking them down.

Additional Info

  • Review Score: 4.5 / 5.0
  • Release Date: Out Now
  • Platform: PC, XBOX ONE
  • Developer: Studio MDHR
  • Publisher: Studio MDHR
  • Genre: Indie, Action