Cuphead (XBOX One) Review
Updated: Nov 20, 2022
Game Name: Cuphead: Don't Deal With the Devil
Developer: Developer(s) StudioMDHR Entertainment
Publisher: Developer(s) StudioMDHR Entertainment
Release Date: September 29th, 2017
Platform: Windows and XBOX One
This game has been talked about for almost 3 years. It was first discussed and displayed at the 2014 Microsoft Conference at E3. Since then all that we have seen are rumours and some gameplay. This seemed to be one of those games where fans never thought that it would be released. Then this year at the 2017 E3, a date was announced and it started to become a reality.
The studio took their time with this game as they wanted to make sure that it was done right. They also realized that hand making the animations were not an easy task and that it would take longer to produce than they initially thought.
For those that are not familiar with the game, it is a run and gun platformer game that is in the style of 1930 cartoons. All the animations were hand drawn just like back then. CGI was not used. May be it was but not not as much as other games.
The backstory to this game is the following. You play as 2 characters (Mughead and Cuphead). They live a carefree life. This is until they wander to the Devil's Casino, contrary to the Elder Kettle's advice. In order to get back to where they came from, they will need to complete some contracts that are given them. Once completed they must return these to the Devil. This is where the various levels come from.
So let us see if the hype was worth it.
The game like I mentioned before is a platformer. It has hints of Commander Keen (Old PC Game) with the run and gun gameplay of Rayman.
Commander Keen Sample Gameplay
Rayman Legends Sample Gameplay
The controls are very well done. You can jump and use the left joystick to shoot out of your fingertips. I loved the mini tutorial at the beginning. It is short and concise. Most games drag on this part of the game but I think Cuphead does this very well.
You can get new power ups with different gold coins that you gather through the non boss level stages. You have 6 weapons to choose from. Charms are another way that you can obtain new power ups. These can also give you an extra life for example. You also have a total of 3 Supers available and 6 charms that are available.
I must admit that the presentation is very well done. From the cracking of old film to the old time music. You can actually listen to the soundtrack on steam (http://store.steampowered.com/app/704710/Cuphead__Official_Soundtrack/). It is also available on a few other services as well. Just Google Cuphead Soundtrack and you will get many results. There was lot of care that went in to the presentation and they did not hold back. You can tell that they did not cut corners.
There is local Co-op which is a rarity in today's games. Every game seem to focus on online play. So this is refreshing to see. I know fans of Halo have been asking for this to comeback for years.
Cuphead Sample Gameplay
Most people have praised the game as it is refreshing in a stale landscape. Although as mentioned before the gameplay is not new, it feels fresh. The fact that the animations are all hand drawn, for me makes this an awesome game already.
Some have complained that the game is too difficult. Having played through the game, I can confirm that it is not easy. However it is not more difficult than the difficult games of the past like Ninja Gaiden. It is just that now, some games have become almost too easy. Either that or they come with an easy setting. This game does not really have that. What makes Cuphead amazing in my eyes is that in a day and age where you can go to the internet to see how a boss is beat, this is still not enough. You still need to develop your skills. This means that you will die a lot and you will retry stages over and over again. When you finally do beat the bosses and the game, there is a sense of accomplishment.
I also have to talk about the pricing. You get an exceptional game for a 20$ price tag. You cannot go wrong. The replay value also makes this a bargain. Although some of us probably lost some controls while playing this game, I can picture myself going back and playing it again one day. It has that appeal that games rarely have with me nowadays.
What I also love about Cuphead is that there are save states. So, you can play for 10 or 15 minutes, beat a boss, and then turn off the game. That is awesome. This is the big advantage that this has over the NES. Would you imagine having to keep your machine on to play this game, all of the time?
This game combines art, great gameplay and a great soundtrack. I know that some of you may think that since I am an XBOX guy, I am overly positive about this game as it is an exclusive to XBOX and Microsoft. This could not be further from the truth. If this game was only released on Linux or PS4, it would still be a hell of a game.
So after all of that, would I recommend it? The answer is, hell yeah!!! There was a lot of thought and TLC that went into Cuphead. This indie developer should be proud of what they have created. I would never have imagined this being released by EA or Activision for example. This is why we need to support these guys. The great part is that you can play with your kids. The violence is cartoon violence. However it is a lot more tame than some of the cartoons or anime today.
If this is the start of what they can make, the future looks very bright.
Rating: 10 King Dice's out of 10
I do not give this rating lightly. I rarely give a 10 for a game but this one deserves it and it will become a classic.
What do you think? Did you like Cuphead? Let me know below.