Cartoon chaos with “Cuphead”


Wyatt Dybdal, Student Reporter

With the recent releases of big game titles like “Call of Duty World War 2,” and “Star Wars Battlefront 2,” it might be easy to overlook this recent release, “Cuphead.”

Developed by indie game company Studio MDHS, “Cuphead” is a platform side-scroller, much like Mario, but with a few endearing twists.

First, the art of “Cuphead” is fantastic.

Reminiscent of ‘30’s cartoons, “Cuphead” makes use of watercolor backgrounds, fantastical characters and projector-like visual presentation that is definitely one of the biggest draws to this game. The look and feel of this game is spot on.

Accompanying the stunning visuals is a fully-orchestrated soundtrack that even further transports the player back in time. The tracks fit each level perfectly and changes to keep the mood of the level, as you jump, shoot and slide your way past enemies in into rather challenging boss encounters.

The gameplay of “Cuphead” is much like that of other titles in the genre.

You control Cuphead, the titular protagonist of the game, moving left and right across a two-dimensional world with different platforms on which you jump to avoid enemies or gain better angles while trying to progress further in the level.

What really makes “Cuphead” stand out is that it feels like a shooter as well. Firing different types of projectiles from your fingers, you battle your way past enemies more so than other similar games.

The mechanics might not be all that new, but the challenge is. “Cuphead” is not a game for the casual player. The visuals and simplistic style of gameplay are misleading when it comes to the actual challenge this game poses.

With difficult boss encounters, no way to save mid-level, and zero checkpoints to return to, each and every one of your three hit points is super important. If you lose all three, you have to start the level form the beginning.

Also, forget healing, because that isn’t a thing in “Cuphead.”

This game requires a lot of trial and error, and the responsiveness of the character makes it hard to blame anyone but yourself for any mistakes.

As such, “Cuphead” can be super frustrating, but at the same time, super rewarding once you finally make it past a level.

The story is also surprisingly dark for a game this cute looking.

Players take control of Cuphead and his buddy Mugman as they attempt to settle a debt with the Devil and reclaim their souls. This leads the heroes into combat against several of the Devil’s debtors as they collect what is owed in exchange for their own freedom.

For this being the first release by Studio MDHS, “Cuphead” is well polished. With great visuals, fun and exciting music, and a challenging game design, “Cuphead” is a hidden gem for gamers that like a challenge, but will punish newer or younger players that just aren’t up to par, even on the easy setting.

If you want a game that will test your skills, “Cuphead” will do just that.

“Cuphead,” released Sept. 29 on Xbox and PC, is available now if you want to pit yourself against the Devil’s debtors and take back what is yours.