Cuphead is an almost classic sort of game, the likes of which has never been made since the entire thing replicates the style of the animated 1930's cartoons but in a game form. It features completely hand drawn art across a number of distinct locations. This is carried to the wonderful creatures that inhabit the mystical land and the way you fight enemies. It's mostly a boss fight game with only minor levels of actual traditional gameplay if that makes sense. The boss fights are varied, wonderful and just plain creative. You choose from two levels of difficulty to fight these bosses and it does provide a solid challenge.
Things mostly come down to learning patterns and performing them perfectly so that's where most of the game time is spent is just repeating boss battles. There are also run and go type levels as mentioned before. These levels have you just run through a level shooting things to grab coins, these collected prizes can then be spent at the local shops for abilities. You also unlock some abilities by completing special ghost levels and these can be customized whenever you're in the overall world. This open area feels like a classic movement area where you can chat with the locals, pick new missions or discover secrets hidden throughout. The general plot is also rather hilarious and I just won't spoil it as it's there, yet not as present as one might think.
Being somewhat of a platformer you'll take advantage of varying landscapes during boss fights to come out victorious. Sometimes it's dancing upon moving ledges and others it's just using a step to help out. Some of the levels also send you up in a plane to fly around in a sidescrolling type environment and these were excellent. Combat is simple as you just shoot and then use other options to dodge attacks. These come in the form of ducking, dashing or hopping. The entire game can be played in local coop with multiplayer apparently coming post-launch. I find that rather disappointing as this could have been a great online game and for how long they've been working on it, this should be an option. The general look perfectly captures the sought after cartoon era and it's enchanting. I would often get lost in the visuals of the world or the soft crackling of the film-like screen. Everything matches this perfectly and every stage is a pleasure to behold.
Cuphead is excellent, it's got the right amount of challenge and charming design to make this completely stand out. It should have honestly had online coop and while simple it packs so many hours of gameplay as bosses just take you out. This game can be a blast with a friend though I honestly found it distracting as I would be dealing with saving them instead of boss battling. This is truly a unique experience featuring a wide range of bosses, fun levels and secrets to explore. It's also somewhat quick as matches could be a minute, but the journey there is much larger as you need to learn the varying patterns of bosses to be successful.
I did want something more from Cuphead, but what they brought here was certainly compelling enough. I'd love to see them expand this concept in the future as it would be very interesting as more of a typical narrative driven platformer if that makes sense. The story is great here and told through fantastic paper flips, just think something more traditional would be super cool as well in this style.
Cuphead Review on Xbox One & Windows 10
Review Code Provided by Microsoft