Developer: StudioMDHR Entertainment Inc.
Release Date: Sep 29, 2017
Platforms: XBox One - Windows 10 - Steam - GOG.com
Written by ALFA_Overlord
Welcome to Cuphead, the wonderful bullet-hell platformer themed around the era of rubber-tube animation; complete with minor screen corruption and jazz music.
Right off the bat of loading up Cuphead, I fell into the atmosphere it provided. The music was spot on, and the art-style lined up perfectly with the era it was representing. I hit "START" and loaded up file A, and was met with a cutscene in the form of a short comic. Already, I enjoyed this, because it allowed me to go at my own pace throughout the cutscene, instead of having to sit through the slow transitions.
The story is simple - Cuphead and Mugman got into trouble with the Devil, and need to collect the souls the Devil is owed, otherwise Cuphead and Mugman's souls will be taken, instead. This places Cuphead and Mugman in a pretty tight spot, but we, the players, will help them complete the task. As to not spoil the rest of the game, I will go over what to expect, but not what specifically appears.
Every boss is unique. You can not face every boss the same way as the last. Some bosses will be easy for some, and hard for others. The difficulty will spike later on, but you'll be much better prepared for it than you think. You CAN face every boss with the starting weapon, but if that isn't your style, you are welcome to buy different weapons and try them out. There are, also, different charms and supers (the game never specifies, but that is when you use a full 5-card EX attack) available, so you can use whatever combination works best for you!
Bosses are more bullet-hell themed, and "run-and-gun" levels are more platformer themed. However, both have aspects of the other, so if you have full skill in platformers and no skill in bullet-hells (or vice versa), you will probably be in for a bad trip. That isn't to say you are hopelessly outmatched, as practice makes perfect in this game, and it is a hard game. You can learn what to do, and what not to do, and use that to your advantage.
All right, I'll admit, the game is hard. I've played years of bullet-hell games, and I expected to wipe the board with this game to put all the "platformer dark souls" reviews to rest. I can say that it is by no means anything remotely close to Dark Souls, and comparing Cuphead to Dark Souls would be shaming Cuphead's uniqueness to the core. It took me about 5 hours to beat the last boss, and I have yet to go through all the bosses on expert. While the game is pretty easy compared to what I was prepared to face, I feel the main struggle is all of the buttons to press. There are a lot of them. If you play this game with just the keyboard, you will probably not enjoy this game; a controller is STRONGLY recommended.
There are a good amount of secrets to find out and explore, so don't be afraid to chat with the NPC's and such. The game seems very linear, but you can go at your own pace and face levels in your own path, which I have high respect for. The world is small, but diverse; if you get bored of running at the same boss over and over, go try a different one, or just admire the landscape!
All in all, Cuphead is a very unique game. Bullet-hells aren't a very talked about genre of games, and mixing it with a platformer was a rather odd move, but the game truly pulled it off, all while sporting a theme practically untouched by video game developers, being difficult, and rocking all of it.
While the game itself is quite pricy for the length (at least for me), I would say that it is absolutely worth getting, just so you can join the conversations with your friends over what boss was your favorite, what weapons you enjoyed using, and how to take down certain bosses without getting hit. It might be one of my favorite games, and I am certainly looking forward to Cuphead 2, whether it is being thought about or not.
FINAL SCORE: 9.0