Video Game Review

Cuphead

“Don’t Deal With The Devil”

By: Ganja Gameboys

Cuphead is the long-awaited indie release that stole the hearts of many during the Xbox press event of Electronic Entertainment Expo 2014. Its 1930s animation style – all watercolor backgrounds – original jazz recordings and surreal, juddering, hand-drawn characters – pay homage to that classic cartoon style we know and love. The game’s art was estimated to be 40 percent complete as of July 2014. Somehow it manages to balance dozens of moving elements and a slight rear-projection blur
without ever feeling unreadable in even the most frantic moments. There has never been a game that looks like this and there may never be again. Every scene is a masterpiece – a true achievement for an art sty

le. On the fictional Inkwell Isle, Cuphead and his brother Mugman are two fun-loving kids who live under the watchful eye of Elder Kettle. Against the elder’s warnings, the brothers wander into the Devil’s Casino run by King Dice. When the brothers go on a winning streak, King Dice calls upon the Devil who raises the stakes. Cuphead rolls snake eyes and he and Mug

man must give up their souls. The Devil makes a deal with them: collect the contracts of the other inhabitants of Inkwell Isle who have lost their souls and he might let the brothers

off the hook.

Levels come in three forms – run’n’gun left-to-right platforming, bullet-hell style flight bosses and pure platforming fights.They’re some of the most distinct bosses in recent memory. Telepathic carrot-firing vegetable creatures; frog boxers who transform into coin-shooting slot machines; or a giant bird in some bizarre armor; developer Studio MDHR consistently breaks its own design moulds as it rolls out one unique boss after another, leaving you with some of the most memorable fights you’ve ever experienced with gaming. Cuphead is not a simple game by any means. It’s up to you to properly learn the ropes – and by God will it take some learning – in order to get through unscathed. You have no way to regain health mid-fight and just three pips of life before you die. There are no mid- level checkpoints either. It’s almost like you’re playing

on ‘hardcore’ mode the entire time.

Cuphead is absolutely not for the faint of heart, but it’s certainly captivating. Come
for the gorgeous bygone ragtime jazz, and stay for the thrill of defeating a boss you’ve spent hours in attempting. It’s brutal, but you won’t find many games with such a satisfying sting.

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