Cuphead Review

Cuphead: The Game That Will Make You Want to Throw Your Controller (But in a Good Way)

Cuphead: The Game That Will Make You Want to Throw Your Controller (But in a Good Way)

Cuphead is a popular indie game that was released in 2017 and quickly gained a cult following. Developed by Studio MDHR, the game is known for its unique art style, challenging gameplay, and jazzy soundtrack. Cuphead has become famous for its difficulty level, often being compared to classic platformers like Mega Man and Contra. Despite its challenging nature, the game has received critical acclaim and has won numerous awards for its art design and gameplay mechanics.

The Unique Art Style of Cuphead

One of the most striking aspects of Cuphead is its art style, which pays homage to the classic cartoons of the 1930s. The game features hand-drawn animations and watercolor backgrounds, giving it a vintage feel. The characters and environments are reminiscent of old Disney and Fleischer Studios cartoons, with exaggerated movements and vibrant colors. This unique art style sets Cuphead apart from other games and adds to its charm.

The animation in Cuphead is also top-notch, with each frame meticulously hand-drawn. The characters move fluidly and have a sense of weight to them, making the gameplay feel more immersive. The attention to detail in the animation is evident in every aspect of the game, from the way Cuphead’s hat bounces as he jumps to the way enemies react when hit. The animation adds another layer of depth to the game and makes it a joy to watch and play.

The Challenging Gameplay of Cuphead

Cuphead is notorious for its difficulty level, often frustrating players with its challenging boss battles and platforming sections. The game requires patience and perseverance, as players will die multiple times before finally defeating a boss or completing a level. This level of difficulty has divided players, with some finding it exhilarating and rewarding, while others find it too frustrating.

The mechanics of Cuphead contribute to its challenging gameplay. Players control Cuphead or his brother Mugman as they navigate through levels and defeat bosses. The controls are tight and responsive, but mastering them takes time and practice. The game also features a parry system, where players can jump off certain objects or projectiles to gain a boost or deal extra damage. Timing these parries correctly is crucial to success in the game.

The Soundtrack of Cuphead

The soundtrack of Cuphead is another standout aspect of the game. Composed by Kristofer Maddigan, the music is heavily influenced by jazz and big band music from the 1930s. Each level has its own unique track that complements the gameplay and adds to the overall experience. The jazzy tunes create a lively and energetic atmosphere, making players feel like they are in a classic cartoon.

In addition to the music, the sound effects in Cuphead also add to the overall experience. From the sound of Cuphead’s footsteps to the satisfying “ping” when parrying an object, every sound in the game feels intentional and well-crafted. The sound effects help to immerse players in the world of Cuphead and make the gameplay more engaging.

The Boss Battles of Cuphead

One of the main highlights of Cuphead is its challenging boss battles. Each boss has its own unique design and attack patterns, requiring players to learn their moves and react accordingly. The boss battles increase in difficulty as players progress through the game, with each new boss presenting a new challenge.

There are different types of bosses in Cuphead, ranging from giant vegetables to anthropomorphic dice. Each boss has its own set of attacks and phases, keeping players on their toes. Some bosses require precise timing and quick reflexes, while others require strategic thinking and pattern recognition. The variety of bosses adds to the replayability of Cuphead, as players can try different strategies to defeat them.

The Power-Ups and Weapons of Cuphead

Cuphead features a variety of power-ups and weapons that players can use to their advantage. These power-ups and weapons can be purchased from the in-game shop using coins collected throughout the levels. Each power-up and weapon has its own strengths and weaknesses, allowing players to customize their playstyle.

Some power-ups in Cuphead increase the player’s health or give them special abilities, such as a dash or an extra hit point. These power-ups can be crucial in surviving the challenging boss battles. The weapons in Cuphead also vary in their range and damage output, allowing players to choose the best weapon for each situation. Experimenting with different combinations of power-ups and weapons adds another layer of strategy to the game.

The Co-Op Mode of Cuphead

Cuphead features a co-op mode that allows players to team up with a friend and tackle the game together. In co-op mode, one player controls Cuphead while the other controls Mugman. This mode can be beneficial for players who find the game too difficult on their own, as they can share the frustration (and fun) with a friend.

Playing in co-op mode has its benefits and drawbacks. On one hand, having a second player can make some of the boss battles easier, as they can distract enemies or deal extra damage. On the other hand, playing in co-op mode can also make the game more chaotic, as both players need to coordinate their movements and attacks. Overall, co-op mode adds another dimension to the gameplay and allows players to experience Cuphead with a friend.

The Hidden Secrets of Cuphead

Cuphead is filled with hidden secrets and Easter eggs that add to the overall experience. These secrets can range from hidden paths in levels to secret boss battles. Finding these secrets requires exploration and experimentation, adding another layer of depth to the game.

Unlocking these secrets often requires completing certain tasks or meeting specific conditions. For example, players may need to collect all the coins in a level or defeat a boss without taking any damage. These hidden achievements and Easter eggs provide an extra challenge for players who want to fully explore the world of Cuphead.

The Replayability of Cuphead

Despite its difficulty level, Cuphead has a high replayability factor. The game offers different ways to play, such as trying to complete levels without taking any damage or speedrunning through the game. Players can also challenge themselves by playing on higher difficulty levels, which increase the health and damage of enemies.

In addition to the different ways to play, Cuphead also features a New Game+ mode, where players can replay the game with all their power-ups and weapons from their previous playthrough. This mode allows players to tackle the game with a different strategy and try to achieve a higher score.

The Legacy of Cuphead

Cuphead has become a classic game and will go down in gaming history for its unique art style and challenging gameplay. The game has had a significant impact on the gaming industry, inspiring other developers to experiment with different art styles and revive classic gameplay mechanics.

Cuphead has also gained a dedicated fanbase, with players creating fan art, cosplay, and even tattoos inspired by the game. The success of Cuphead has led to collaborations with other media, such as an animated series on Netflix. The legacy of Cuphead will continue to live on as more players discover and appreciate its unique charm.


Cuphead is a unique and challenging game that stands out for its art style, gameplay mechanics, and jazzy soundtrack. Despite its difficulty level, the game has received critical acclaim and has become a classic in the gaming industry. The combination of hand-drawn animations, challenging boss battles, and hidden secrets make Cuphead a must-play for fans of platformers and classic cartoons. While it may frustrate some players, the rewarding feeling of finally defeating a boss or completing a level makes Cuphead worth the challenge.

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