Cuphead is an awesomely quirky little game, in all the best ways. It’s stylish and funny, and it complements its great art style with some intensely fast-paced gameplay. If those bros from Contra went back in time, met Max Fleischer, and teamed up to make an Xbox game, it would probably be Cuphead.
Embodying classic cartoons of the 1930s, Cuphead is the story of two friends trying to pay back a debt to the devil. To do so, they have to travel through farms with enormous angry murderous carrots, over the high seas, and into the amusingly upbeat and melodic bowels of Hell. Don’t be fooled by Cuphead’s cartoonish appearance: This is an old-school, skill-testing run-and-gun game at heart.
The demo offered at the [email protected] event at this year’s Game Developers Conference did not coddle us, but rather threw us straight into a couple of boss battles, showcasing just how wacky, action-packed, and challenging Cuphead can be.
In one of the battles, the titular Cuphead was pitted against the dread pirate Captain Silver, who bears no small resemblance to Popeye’s arch nemesis Bluto. Using a pink octopus as a gun, Captain Silver attacked Cuphead, all while a huge shark tried to eat our hero, and angry sentient crates tried to crush him, and a giant squid popped in occasionally to stir up trouble.
When we say this game will test your skills, we’re serious: The boss battle we played required air-dashing, avoiding enemies from both sides of the level, a partially obscured screen, and numerous instant-death attacks.
From the look of it, Cuphead will feature weapon upgrades and other run-and-gun mechanical staples. Of course, run-and-gun games are better with friends, and Cuphead features co-op play in the form of the title character’s best pal, Mugman. You both owe the devil, so you can both fight off the adorably whimsical forces of Hell.
We’re thrilled that Cuphead is a perfect blend of classic animation and classic gaming, and we can’t wait until hits Xbox One.