Here’s Why You Should Play Cuphead: Review
Cuphead is the 1930’s styled cartoon run-n-gun game from Canadian game developers, Studio MDHR. It’s a simple yet frustrating game that’s a perfect mash up of “easy in theory, difficult in execution”. The game has a number of levels including run-n-gun platforming levels, boss battles, and other challenges with the boss battles being the most fun, creative and challenging of these.
It’s Simple But Frustrating
A lot has been made about Cupheads difficulty with a lot of people claiming the game is too hard and that it prevents players from enjoying it. Cuphead presents itself as an old-school game in almost every way. From the artwork to the music, right down to the playstyle. It’s a run and gun game at heart with some animated twists. It’s certainly a challenging and even frustrating game at times but at no point seems overwhelming. There are no health bars or timers. In fact the only indications of progress are boss transformations and a lose-screen meter that shows you how close you were to finishing the level. The lose screen meter is what motivates you to keep playing by revealing just how close you were to a knock out the latest boss.
I wouldn’t say the game’s difficulty prevents people from enjoying the game. Part of the enjoyment of the game is the fast-paced and zaney action and the ability to lose and dive right back in quickly. There is no loss of resources upon death and the boss battle from start to finish are rather quick. Yes, it might take you 10 to 15 times to finally beat a boss but I’ve found these fights to be enjoyable.
Handrawn Artwork, Live Original Jazz Music
The bosses themselves are absolute characters. Because of the artwork which is handdrawn 1930’s style animation, to studio was abel to create characters that can do anything and become anything and still be believable within the world of Cuphead. For example, if I told you there was a half-zepplin half-woman boss who eventually transformed into a half-moon, start shooting, UFO summoning creature it would sound absolutely ridiculous but in Cuphead, it makes sense. It really taps into a time when Wylie Coyote could draw tunnels onto walls, Bugs Bunny could drop anvils onto people and Mickey Mouse could turn the tail of a goat to play music from its mouth. The artwork really is a thing of beauty that’s only supported by the live, original jazz music of the game. Studio MDHR really tap into the big band sound to give the game an authentic peek into the world of the 1930’s and I think that’s the real strength behind Cuphead.
A World Where The Unexpected Is Expected
Studio MDHR built a 1930’s cartoon world for us to explore. It’s an experience like no other in gaming and is what makes Cuphead so special. It taps into a nostalgia I don’t think any of us knew was there. I mean, how could we? I doubt anyone reading this or downloading Cuphead grew up in the 1930’s. However, we did grow up with Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny. We grew up with art that made it easy to lie and by that I mean, Daffy Duck could get shotgunned in the face and still be able to talk the audience and it would be funny. Cuphead gives us back that world where we can expect the unexpected and enjoy highly animated and ridiculous characters and believe what we’re seeing. Like a giant psychic carrot that shoots psybeams out of its third eye or a couple of boxing frogs that can turn into a giant slot machine.
Cuphead is a work of art. Hand-drawn artwork, live jazz recordings and the imagination of one studio giving us a world much different from our own. The game taps into a nostalgia I don’t think we knew was there but have been craving for some time. While the game is difficult, it’s not overwhelming and challenges you to jump back in and try again and again and again. And boy have I tried again and again and again and will continue to try again and again and again.