A lot in one cup
Cuphead is being groomed to be the ID@XBOX program's Castle Crashers. With a unique art-style and deceptively simple gameplay, when I lined up at E3 to play this game I was taken aback by its old school difficulty.
While it appeared to be a level based side scroller when it was revealed, Cuphead is actually filled with boss battles. Starting out on an overhead map after a short tutorial, players walk around until they find a location which starts a scene. Taking the aesthetic into account, these scenes are surrealist situations where Cuphead is harassed by someone such as a sailor, a train conductor, or a potato.
The controls are pretty simple, jump, shoot, switch weapons and some kind of parrying ability. They worked, but the bosses are really old school and you will have to struggle for your victories. The first level tested my patience with how many times I could stand to jump over enemy projectiles. However, even though I kept dying, I was still drawn into the game and exploring the map just to see how the next level was going to look.
It's here where the game's main appeal lies: taking this era of animation and putting it in a new context which can be both good and bad. I like the art style, but the era it came from had a lot of insensitivities reflected in these cartoons, which initially put me off of the concept. But the charm of the graphics and the how they’re simply different won me in the end. It will still be interesting to see what outrage people may have from what’s seen in the game, if any.
Cuphead so far is a pretty interesting game where art beats out gameplay, even if everything is presented as being simple. The nostalgic difficulty will be the game's biggest hurdle, but even then, its emphasis on boss battles rather than entire levels of this difficulty makes the game a real pick up and play affair and won't make one feel bad when they put it down after on level. When it releases in 2016 on Xbox One and PC, it’s sure to be an early year highlight.
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Akil is a big fan of video games and music, specifically fighting games and R&B. Other interests include game design, and comedy. His background in game design combined with his unique worldview and sense of humor makes him someone to follow.
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