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Cuphead worth time and money

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By Amelia Abraham, Intern

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Saying that Cuphead is difficult game is an understatement. However, the diverse cast of bosses, interesting characters and the game’s charming style makes it a must-download for 2017.

Cuphead was released on September 29th on Steam and Xbox One and already has overwhelmingly positive reviews on both platforms. The game is an excellent combination of creativity and complexity that makes the game so enjoyable. For only $19.99, Cuphead is highly recommended for video game enthusiasts.

The game begins with a cutscene, introducing us to the main characters Cuphead, Mugman, and Elder Kettle. A fateful day, Cuphead and Mugman end up in the Devil’s Casino, a place where Elder Kettle has warned the brothers to avoid. Inside the casino, we meet King Dice, the casino manager, who watches as the boys as they score big in a generic casino game. Next, the Devil himself is introduced, and he proposes a gamble. If the boys can win yet another roll, all the loot in the casino is there’s to possess. A loss would result in the Devil’s gain of their souls. Against Mugman’s warning, Cuphead impulsively agreed. To their dismay, the roll was inadequate and the Devil was victorious. As the boys begged for their lives, the Devil made a final offer. If the brothers could gather the souls of the beings listed on a parchment, their souls would be spared. The cutscene ends, and the player(s) are relocated to the world one map of Inkwell. Cutscenes shorter than this one are sprinkled into game play to progress the story plot, and they give a much needed objective to the game.


The game is played in stages, and once all stages on a map are completed, the player moves onto the next map. All stages can be played Simple or Regular mode, and once Regular mode is accomplished, the player can replay the stage on Expert mode. Most stages are boss stages, where there are 1-3 bosses to defeat and ultimately collect souls from. The concept of having most stages being boss stages is uncommon amongst staged games like Cuphead. Most staged games have multiple distance stages prior to a boss battle. It’s a nice change of air from traditional gameplay.


There is also the occasional Run ‘n Gun stage, where players cover a distance of monster infested territory rather than targeting a specific boss. Both stage types don’t inform you on how far you are in killing the boss(es) or traveling within a Run ‘n Gun. Unlike most games that are played in stages, Cuphead is not a game to breeze through in an hour, despite only having 4 maps. Players will get used to clicking the retry button over and over again until the stage is completed. No punishment is given for retrying, therefore players are encouraged to get back up again continuously to overcome the boss. This makes the game enjoyable to play for extensive periods of time.


Along with additional interactive levels, the game also offers co-op options that allows users to play together and revive each other, giving them one health to work with once revived. This makes the objectives slightly easier to complete. Additionally, to aid in the player’s journey, coins can be collected in Run ‘n Guns and spent at Porkrind’s Emporium to obtain upgrade upon upgrade for health, shot damage, and evasive tools. As one can imagine, so many tools are given because the game is so absurdly difficult.


No two bosses are alike and each one is designed with unique attacks, settings, voice lines, and physique. An impressionable example is Cala Maria. Her stage is divided in three phases. In her first phase, she’s a flirtatious mermaid, but in the other two, she becomes a treacherous gorgon. All of her attacks are crafted to match her sea vibe for players to dodge and defend against. A disparate example is Rumor Honeybottoms, a queen bee holding an extensive defense to keep bothersome travelers from robbing her of her honey. Her stage is also separated in 3 phases. The first being Police Bee, and the depressed worker bees. The second is Rumor Honeybottoms herself, as she casts spells with her scepter. And her third is her as an airplane, shooting at the player(s) with fist-rockets. Characters were clearly designed with effort and creativity, which forms an environment of much appreciated diversity.

The animation quality and setting art is one of the most admirable aspects of the game. Cuphead takes an innovative spin on 1930’s cartoon animations, by using hand-drawn images to craft a motion picture and backgrounds of maps and stages that were painted by hand. The effort that went into this program’s artistic pieces are apparent, and the results are phenomenal.

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