Blast from the past
You don’t necessarily need to be born in the 1930’s to appreciate the distinctive art style of cartoons from that era, because there’s something about its old-school charm that manages to transcend even the impeccable Pixar-quality animations of today. But even with its nostalgic appeal, it’s hard not to think that it would be suicidal for a video game developer to release something in 2017 that looks reminiscent of a cartoon from that era – especially when we’ve become so accustomed and desensitized to video games with graphics that are more realistic than actual reality. Enter Canadian independent game developer, Studio MDHR Entertainment, who has boldly decided to take the plunge with its debut game, Cuphead. And to say that the risk has paid off would be a massive understatement, because more than one million copies of Cuphead were sold within a span of two weeks, and it’s easy to see why.
If you enjoy playing side-scrolling shooters like Metal Slug, but want something that’s considerably more challenging, you’re bound to have oodles of fun with Cuphead – provided that you’re willing to perish multiple times over just to complete a single level. And by multiple times, we’re not talking about single-digit numbers here – we’re talking about numbers that you’ll have to keep track of using all your fingers and toes, and perhaps even those belonging to the friend sitting next to you.
Yes, Cuphead can be punishingly difficult, but it’s also incredibly rewarding. Unlike Metal Slug, which has a string of different levels with inane enemies that you’ll have to complete before coming to a boss fight, every level in Cuphead is literally a boss fight. And no, you won’t be able to defeat them by simply memorizing their each and every move, because you will also need perfect hand-eye coordination to avoid the hail of projectiles that will be heading your way.
Not making matters any better is the fact that every level in Cuphead is devoid of checkpoints, and that your character will only have three lives to work with throughout the duration of the level. Period. There is no way for you to regenerate or regain a lost life.
Just so you know, it should take you no more than five minutes to complete a single level in Cuphead without dying. But because the odds of that happening is actually lower than the odds of you encountering a unicorn in person, you can safely expect to spend at least 45 minutes on every level before progressing to the subsequent one.
Sure, you can attempt to vary your play style by purchasing different weapons, abilities, and special moves from the in-game shop, but do bear in mind that every weapon has its own drawback. The scattershot weapon, for example, does the most damage compared to the rest of the available weapons, but you’ll need to position yourself uncomfortably close to bosses because of its short range.
Cuphead can be downright torturous at times, but boy, does it hurt so good.