Review: Cuphead (Switch) - Japan-based Nintendo Podcasts, Videos & Reviews!


Thursday, May 30, 2019

Review: Cuphead (Switch)

by Danny Bivens

Gambling kills, people!
Cuphead exists to lure you in with its cute, charming visuals only to come back at you hard with a high level of difficulty. While fair, the game does deliver an extremely challenging experience that will be sure to frustrate some, but also provide gamers with a chance to improve if they’re willing to put in the time.

Cuphead has a pretty dark premise. The innocent looking Cuphead and Mugman aren’t the cute, happy-go-lucky characters they appear to be. They’re gambling addicts that are willing to exchange their souls for a chance at some cold hard cash. After losing an extremely high stakes game with the devil himself, our heroes are tasked with tracking down some other deadbeats that owe a debt to the prince of darkness.
Obviously, I’m not the first person on the internet to sing the praises of Cuphead’s visuals. The game looks absolutely amazing. The artwork is great, the animation is fantastic and the whole 1930s aesthetic is perfectly crafted. My image of old cartoons is something that is a little bit creepy and potentially cute at the same time. Cuphead nails it. Even on the performance side of things, I had little to no issues with the game overall. There were a few times where I did notice a little bit of slow down, but these occurrences where something I could count off on one hand. I did notice that the loading times seems to take a little bit more time than what they did on the Xbox One. That didn’t hinder the experience for me, though. The music is also top notch, offering tunes that fit perfectly into the visual aesthetic.The sound effects also play out nicely into the experience with every projectile hit making satisfying thuds every time they hit enemies.

The overworld is beautifully crafted and full of secrets. If you're like me, you might not have realized that the majority of the "levels" in Cuphead are actually boss fights. The game does also offer some more traditional stages as well. These "Run & Gun" stages are more traditional platforming experiences that are, of course, pretty intense. Though some of them have some interesting mechanics and environments, they play second fiddle to the bosses. Upgrades here also play a vital part in progression. Accessing the shop gives players access to a number of helpful goodies that enhance firepower and can enhance abilities.
Gameplay doesn’t disappoint here. The controls in Cuphead are super precise. Any time you find yourself taken down by an enemy, it (typically) doesn’t feel cheap. I found myself understanding what I did wrong and tried to learn from my mistakes. Sure, some of the boss encounters can be extremely frustrating, but if you persevere, that makes defeating them feel all the more satisfying. That’s the key to success on any of the levels or bosses - keep moving forward and improving based on your past failures.

Cuphead is a brutally difficult game and you will die very often. At the end of my first run at the game, I clocked up 307 deaths and probably would have had more if it weren’t for the ability to restart levels. However, I never felt that the deaths were cheap. The game is all about pattern recognition with the boss-like characters and then honing your skills to take them out. If you cab come to grips with that, you’ll be able to dive right into the game, no problem. If not, well, you might be better off appreciating the awesome art and animation from the comfort of a YouTube video.
Final Score: 9.5 

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