Cuphead was probably the most highly anticipated game this year in the gaming community (gamers not casuals). The game is a side scrolling platformer similar to that of Metroid or MegaMan. But the thing that made this game stand out is the entirety of this game is animated like an old-school cartoon, like Mickey Mouse and Felix the Cat old. And when I say the entire game, I mean the entire game. The characters, while running or standing still, are constantly bobbing up and down in that old fashion. Even the music sounds like it’s from that era. And someone who is an animator and like the old style of cell animation, I got hooked very quickly, but let’s get to the review…
As I’ve already touched on the visuals are in a fairly unique art style (compared to what the last 3 generations are used to). Now I’ve already stated my bias in loving the art style so this section of the review is going to disregard that. But I can tell you for visuals this game is getting ranked fairly high. The colors in the game are extremely diverse and vibrant, while still adhering to the old-timey feel. The backgrounds are very well done making each level have a specific theme. And art style aside the characters in this are great, many of them may not be considered the most original (i.e. sunflower people and slimes), but they are very diverse from each other.
The physical controls in the game work perfectly, there is little to no delay whatsoever between button and action. The movement in the game is fluid and precise so there are no issues in that regard. The hitboxes for the player and the enemies are perfectly mapped out (at least from my experience). The controls are simple to pick up, and there isn’t much user interface, which for this type of game is a good thing.
As I’ve stated in the past the ability to replay a game is very important to me, so that effects the overall score. For Cuphead there is room for it to be replayed, but there also isn’t at the same time. What I mean by this is, the game can be played on different difficulties for the added challenge, and same goes for doing challenges like the “Pacifist Run.” And of course, there’s always the popular “Speed Run” aspect that everyone goes for. But these aside, if someone just simply wanted to play through the game without all the added runs and such, (in my opinion) they may not have as much fun or any at all for that matter. The levels are scripted, the bosses have the same moves during the same stages of the fight, and the enemies spawn in the same exact place every time. So if a player isn’t trying to do a speed run or any of those other challenges, they’ll eventually know where everything is and how to easily maneuver with little to no challenge, and for this kind of game that would get boring. Again this is my opinion I’m sure there’s someone out there saying the exact opposite, but then again they aren’t writing this review.
So overall this game does have a solid standpoint for replay given the room for different challenges and such, but as a game without player added rules (the game as it was specifically made) the game does fall a bit short for replay value.
Is it fun?
Cuphead, for me, is one of those rare occurrences where you fully enjoy the game, but you have no idea why it is fun. What I mean by this is if you list the qualities of Cuphead on paper and compare tem quantitatively with other games of a similar genre, there’s nothing special. I don’t mean that to say there is anything wrong with the game, but story set aside the concept has been done before again and again. Which leaves me wondering, why is it that I enjoy it so much? For some people it could be strictly the game style, or the story, or the music, etc. but for me, I just can’t seem to put my finger on it. There are very few games that can actually have this effect on me including the Spyro franchise and the Poke’mon franchise.
OVERALL RATING: 9.75/10 A+
As always, I'd love to hear what any of you think about either this game or my review of it. Feel free to send a message or post to the KeyBound Facebook or Twitter.