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Cuphead Review

(Image from Xbox)

Only from the outside do the colourful and emotive adventures of two faiences appear pleasant and innocent. It’s time to see what the MDHR studio has developed and hidden in the main characters’ ceramic skulls. 

Cuphead is a unique game centred on a single concept: challenging boss fights. Putting all of one’s chips on one concept was dangerous, because a show consisting of just roughly thirty duels may get tedious after a while. The creators, on the other hand, completely understood the notion they developed and made the fights vivid and distinctive. Each opponent demands the player to study their strikes, master their shooting range, and figure out when you can finally attack your opponent. There are no health bars for bosses, only information regarding the fight’s advancement is the transfer to the next stage, in which the opponent gains new powers, further dynamizing the conflict and requiring the player to devise a new strategy.

Unfortunately, there are no checkpoints in the game. This implies that if we make a mistake in the last stage of the battle, we must restart the level from the beginning. However, the bouts are not overly long, with an average of 2-3 minutes needed to overcome an opponent. When we are unable to beat the attacker, lowering the difficulty level allows us to better understand some of the attacks and practice evading them. However, if you want to complete the game, you must do so on Regular difficulties, as progress on Easy does not count.

(Image from The Verge)

Cuphead and Mugman utilise finger missiles to kill the Devil’s former debtors, a task they agreed to after losing a dice game to him. However, if we determine that the weapons we have at our disposal pale in comparison to the lethal talents met on our opponents’ path, we can proceed to one of various platform levels and obtain money for which we can purchase additional weapons. They are not essential to complete the game, but they provide a welcome respite from the frequent boss battles. This does not imply that they are simple however 

We can spend our hard-earned money – really hard, believe me – at The Shop. The travelling store is brimming with numerous weapon upgrades and unique powers that, for example, improve our hero’s dodge or enhance the quality of life points at the price of the damage delivered. Each type of shell has advantages and disadvantages that should be considered while designing a build for the boss you meet. A high-damage, but lobbing, purple projectile or red arrow splashed at a short distance will be ineffective in ranged combat. This little RPG feature may greatly simplify a fight with a formidable opponent! 

Special manoeuvres are also useful; the capacity to utilise them is indicated by cards adjacent to the hero’s health points. They fill up with harm and demolish various pink items after a second leap. Cups can also unleash a super move that consumes all cards, allowing them to do immense damage or acquire temporary invincibility. These blows are acquired by playing exciting mini-games in which you must rid mausoleums of spirits that are upsetting the gorgeous Chalice. 

(Image from Tuni)

I saved the audio-visual layer till last. The game’s distinguishing features are probably the stunning graphics and jazz music in the background, which are not just stylized on animations from the previous century, but actually generated using the same approach. In one of the interviews, the writers stated that it takes roughly two years to develop an animation of one character. The music was developed with the help of large bands, focusing on genre classics with Duke Ellington at the foreground. The whole thing is complemented by the distinctive crackling of a vinyl record playing in the background, which nicely complements the noisy picture filter. The ultimate product is incredibly magnificent, and most importantly, it ensures the game’s aesthetic immortality. The game will still look great in five, 10, or perhaps fifty years. It’s as if she made a deal with the Devil himself. The models are meticulously constructed, and the added animation based on the unrealistic, rubber movement of the character’s limbs adds to the fairy-tale, nostalgic experience. Just… Cuphead is extremely lovely, and the fact that the gameplay maintains a consistent 60 frames per second in both portable and stationary Switch modes indicates that we’re dealing with a top-tier product. 

Cuphead is as bad as gambling. It’s highly addicting, and most importantly, it’s rewarding when we finally kill this terrible enemy after trying several different approaches. Cuphead adores everyone. But not everyone will adore him. It’s a challenging yet thrilling relationship that’s worth participating in.

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