I played through this on Steam when it came out, and I loooooved it. As a big fan of run-and-gun shooters like Contra: Hard Corps and Contra: Shattered Soldier, Cuphead was definitely a joy to experience. I never expected it to come to the Switch, but I'm happy to see it become exposed to a wider audience
I really enjoyed this game! It's really not that hard, just chip away at it whenever you feel like it and enjoy the art. I didn't do the sidescrolling levels though, it felt like I had to repeat too much whenever I lost. This didn't bother me with the bosses!
Yay! Once again I slack off and someone does the work for me.
Really liking Cuphead, by the way. Its difficulty level is somewhat overblown; it's tough but not cheap, and the challenges being in little bite-sized portions makes it a lot less frustrating than, say, losing all your lives/continues in an old NES game.
Initially I wasn't sure what to expect of the whole boss rush aspect of it, but the game transcends that simple description because of how varied and dynamic the encounters are. There's a fair bit of platforming to many of them, and the different phases keep things interesting. The weaponry is surprisingly diverse and balanced (as far as I can tell), to the point where trying new things can have surprisingly good results. I struggled using the homing shot on the Dragon boss for 20 minutes or so, but once I switched to Charge and played it like a Mega Man game, I beat it within a few tries!
And the art, my gosh. It's been emphasized plenty in reviews, but the dev team nailed it. It's animated expertly and perfectly adheres to that old Disney/Merrie Melodies/Betty Boop/Popeye style. Replaying bosses for the 20th time isn't so bad when you get to admire the insane amount of detail that goes into the animations. There's only been one design so far that's seemed slightly out of place (the sentient wall in a run-and-gun stage on the third world) and that's if I'm going through everything with a fine-toothed comb.
And they take it a step further with the music, which doesn't cheap out and phone it in--on the contrary, it runs the gamut of early 20th century stuff (from jazz, swing, big band, barbershop, ragtime, Dixieland and a fun Satchmo-style number) all with glorious live instrumentation. And not only are the bosses well animated, but they fully embrace the cartooniness aspect, morphing and stretching into all sorts of nonsensical forms (a fire-breathing monster's head turns into a blowtorch, one boss's head becomes a wrecking ball, another turns into a slot machine for no real reason).
The one presentation exception that comes to mind--and it's really super minor--is that Cuphead himself feels a tad slapped together. I appreciate his Fleischer bounciness and his Mickey Mouse "GOLLY"s, but the concept of a cup-based hero comes across as a little half-baked. Outside of a few non-gameplay animations, the cup aspect isn't used at all and he simply jumps, dashes and shoots like any other hero. Ultimately this is hardly a big deal, but in a game where every boss oozes personality, it's a little strange that the main character(s) isn't handled a bit more cleverly.
So yeah, I'm having a blast with this game. A few reviews haven't been as impressed with the try-and-try-again gameplay, but if that's your jam and you enjoy stuff like Metal Slug and Gunstar Heroes, Cuphead is a must-play. I went in slightly skeptical about the hype and now it's in the running for my favorite indie game of all.
Finally got this, really don't have much to say that Bun didn't already say. I didn't realize coming into it that like half the game was boss fights, but they're all pretty well done so far so it is tough to complain. The game can be tough but the levels / boss fights aren't particularly long so you can just jump right back into things. Art style is amazing, nailed it. Music is good too.
I'm about 25% in based on the % on my game file.
@Secret_Tunnel Wait, you can just straight up skip all the sidescroller levels? Are they just there for those coins you can use to upgrade?
Feels like you would be missing a lot of the game to skip them all!
Originally the game was only going to be boss levels! They added in the sidescrolling levels because people fear innovation. I think there are three sidescroller levels in each world and like five to eight bosses? I didn't enjoy them much, so I skipped them! The fun of Cuphead for me was getting to see the cool boss animations.
Hmm, the way people talked about it, it was like one of the hardest games ever, but the game isn't that hard! Sure, you die a lot, but a lot of it is pattern recognition, and once you get the patterns down, it's not too hard. Of course, it often has multiple things happening at once so the "patterns" become pretty dynamic, but yeah... I'd say it is tough, but not like Super Ghouls and Ghosts tough or anything.
Overall, I liked it. I'm not sure I'm totally a fan of the idea of a game that is essentially a boss rush, but it's a good boss rush, so why not?
The more I think about it, the more Cuphead reminds me of Punch-Out!! Think about it--both games involve (more or less) nothing but "boss battles." These begin challenging by testing the player with learning the attack patterns and reacting accordingly, but are still fair and manageable. And replaying fights isn't too bad since the characters all have a ton of personality in their animations and attacks.
Yeah, I wasn't a huge fan of the sidescrolling platforming levels that were sprinkled in here and there, so I'm glad they weren't the focus. The boss rush style is perfect for showing off nonstop cartoony goodness, too.
Still working through this one. Three bosses to go in Inkwell Isle 3. For the most part, I'm a huge fan.
I feel like most of the game is well designed, but that the Run & Gun levels were shoehorned in near the end of development because they really break up the flow of the game. I think they were going for Contra, but it just feels like they fall flat.
I liked the run and gun levels and liked the break from the boss rush, but the whole balance is weird. I can't think of many other games that are like 80-85% bosses and 10-15% platformer / shooter. Maybe that Contra on PS2 that felt super boss rushy? Even that probably had more of the balance on the run and gun side.
I think the platformer levels are really not bad at all--by most metrics they're designed well, have a variety of obstacles, keep things moving and introduce numerous surprises and shifts in scenery. But I do agree that they somehow feel a little "off" compared to the boss battles, like the core gameplay wasn't quite built around them. For a Cuphead sequel, I'm not sure if I'd say the game would be better or worse with the extra run and gun levels, but it's possible it would feel a little too boss dense without them? Like they help break up stuff a bit.
When I think about Metal Slug stages (which I feel may be the game closest to Cuphead's feel), I think they generally come across as punchier and slower-paced than Cuphead. Like, the screen may stop for a bit as you take on a wave of soldiers or some miniboss. And certain sections are meant to just be plowed through. Maybe a few more of these "empowering" areas would help the variety in the stages? Not sure...
Metal Slug is a fair comparison (I've only played the original Metal Slug, so I don't have much to go on there). There are a couple of points in the Run & Gun stages that do require you to stop moving and defeat some enemies, but you don't necessarily have to stop (depending on how good you are at dashing or parrying).
I dunno, they aren't my cup of tea in general. That's not how the game was conceived or designed. They're not boring or bad, just feel out of place.
Interesting! There are some talented people behind the show, and there's already a large, colorful cast to pull from. I'm not sure how enticing the narrative of Cuphead will be in television form, but I'll give it a shot for sure. The game was a blast and a half.
It's got potential! The animation looks pretty smooth, although it's got a bit of that modern bend to it with the expressions and such, which I'm not so sure about yet. But I'll check it out, since I'm a big fan of the game.