Studio MDHR has released the much-anticipated indy title Cuphead, a game your whole family should be playing! If you are like me and remember the days of watching countless hours of 1930s and ’40s animation on UHF television, the look of Cuphead: Don’t Deal With the Devil is about to smash you right in your nostalgia bone. All of the elements are there: the film grain, the soft focus, the gorgeous primary colors, the stylized look and personality, and do not forget the amazing jazzy tunes to complete the package. If you only watch someone play Cuphead, there is enough there to keep you entertained for hours. It is a ceaseless buffet of joy.
That is the good news. Here is the other news (not bad). Cuphead is an incredibly difficult game. It takes even the most hardcore gamer to the edge of his or her sanity. That being said, it never seems as if the game is unfair–quite the contrary, in fact. Cuphead will make you want to roll up your sleeves and jump back into battle time and time again. I have sat for hours with my test goblins and watched them pass the controller back and forth rooting for someone–or anyone–to achieve the completion of a level. Cuphead will turn your living room into a den of hoots and hollers. I recommend the modality of passing a controller around to give everyone in the family an opportunity at Cuphead‘s bruising levels. Of course, playing it alone and screaming at the screen is quite a bit of fun as well.
Games as stylistic as Cuphead have often disappointed once you pick up a controller and actually try to play them, but this title absolutely shines in its technical construction. Once you get past the introductory cutscene and brief tutorial, you open the door to a beautiful overworld map reminiscent of the Super Mario series or The Legend of Zelda titles. To access and progress on the map, you have to defeat one of three level types: bosses, run-and-gun, and bullet hell. Having the bosses and levels separate from each other is a fascinating idea that allows the player to change gameplay style if they are stuck on a level and want a bit of variation. When you battle the bosses, you can choose standard difficulty or easier. Progression of the game is limited for players who only defeat the bosses in the simple mode.
In Conclusion, Cuphead is not just another video game release. I feel it is the beginning of a new era of games, games that will choose more stylistic looks rather than just cramming more pixels and sharper textures into the image. This game does what all good games do at their hearts: it entertains you. For that reason (and for the incredibly attractive price of $19.99), don’t wait for a birthday or holiday to buy this for your child or yourself; buy it immediately and give your family a few fall nights of joy, laughter, and a bit of frustration.