Cuphead is out later today, after enduring several delays that came in part from Studio MDHR’s decision to expand the game beyond its original boss-rush concept. The fact that all of the visuals are hand-drawn didn’t exactly speed things up, either. If you’re looking for our final thoughts on the game before you download it, you’re going to have to be patient for a little while longer. In short, we’re not done playing yet.
The game is an homage to arcade-style, run-and-gun games, and its creators didn’t scrimp on the difficulty. It’s hard, and I want to be sure I’m seeing everything the game has to offer. However, even if I can’t issue a final verdict yet, I can offer some preliminary thoughts:
- It’s hard, but (mostly) fair. You have to be patient and persistent if you want to succeed – each new phase of the boss battles feature new attacks and gimmicks that will likely catch you by surprise the first time. Be prepared to play through the beginning of a lot of these fights over and over again.
- I’m not having a great time with the platforming sections. They don’t seem nearly as inspired or interesting as the lengthy and imaginative boss fights. The lack of checkpoints is certainly faithful to those older games, but it’s made finishing several of these stages a frustrating slog.
- This should come as no surprise, but the game looks great. After all, that’s the reason it’s been on so many of our radars. Fortunately, there’s a game behind it all, too. Is it a good game? Yeah, mostly. Is it great? No.
At this point in my time with the game, I’ve completed nearly all of the game’s boss battles and all but one of the platforming stages. This is where it gets tricky. The game offers simple and regular versions of the boss battles, which do more than dial down the difficulty. If you play the simple versions, you’ll miss out on several of the most interesting phases of each boss encounter. For instance, a battle against a rat in a tin can features a creepy set of animated eyes in the background. In the simple version, the battle ends on with the rat flailing around in defeat. If you want to see who those eyes belong to, you need to beat the boss at the more challenging difficulty level.
Further, you have to complete these battles on the regular setting to face off against the game’s final boss, so my review will have to wait until then.
In the meantime, you can watch footage of our recent hands-on session with the game here.