Gameplay leaves a lot to be desired

The early buzz around this game was that it was hard, and they weren’t kidding. Photo: Supplied
The early buzz around this game was that it was hard, and they weren’t kidding. Photo: Supplied

From the moment it was announced, Cuphead caught the eye of the gaming world. A game with graphics and styling reminiscent of old-style cartoons, the ones many of the more mature gamers among us grew up with.

Trade show after trade show came and went and we saw the game, but had no idea what it was really about. Was it all style and no substance? Well, now it’s out and the answer is . . . more or less, yes.

Cuphead is made up almost entirely of boss battles, with the occasional run-and-gun style sidescrolling level. The early buzz around this game was that it was hard, and they weren’t kidding.

Cover. Photo: Supplied
Cover. Photo: Supplied
Consider this a heads-up: if you aren’t particularly adept at sidescrolling games (such as Mega Man, Rayman and, to a lesser extent, LittleBigPlanet), then Cuphead will tear you to shreds. You get a brief tutorial, and then you’re straight into some rather unforgiving battles. And it only gets harder from there.

The battles themselves have that ‘‘one more go’’ mentality, which is crucial for games like this. Despite the fact I was constantly dying, I felt like it was down to me making errors, rather than the game being unfair. What this does is encourages you to try again, until you master it and finally move on.

The game is about two brothers, Cuphead and Mugman, who sell their soul to the devil at a casino, and must vanquish enemies of the Devil to free said souls. The design of the characters and enemies is second to none. They look superb. Boss battles come in three stages and it’s a visual feast, if you have the time to look, that is.
The inherent problem with this is that people got so invested when it was previewed, it was never going to live up to the hype. It looks absolutely superb, but the gameplay, ultimately, leaves a lot to be desired.

It’s catered to players who enjoy being eviscerated over and over again, which is a significant proportion of gamers, but it is all but inaccessible to people who just dabble in games.

If you like games like Super Meat Boy, you’ll adore Cuphead. If you like to unwind on the couch after a hard day at work, Cuphead is probably not the kind of game for you, lest your controller end up out the window or embedded in the nearest wall.

 

Cuphead
For: Xbox One, PC

From: Studio MDHR

Rating: (G) ★★★+

 - by Simon Bishop

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