"Well Cuphead and his pal Mugman, They like to roll the dice, By chance they came upon Devil's game and gosh, they paid the price, Paid the Priiiiccceeeee".
OverviewI'm sorry I couldn't resist I love the intro music to this game (it's so cheery but has a dark twist to it). I've been playing Cuphead for a while but I haven't completed it yet. You are probably wondering why I haven't and why I am writing a review now for this game. I haven't completed it because although the strategies are simple it takes time to perfect. I am over halfway and I feel at this point in the game I have good understanding of the game. I also decided to do it now because I wouldn't be able to spoil the ending. As they say "AND BEGIN"!!
The story is told by completing each level/boss battle in the areas and paying your debt to the Devil. After you beat all the bosses in the one area you get a cut scene as you enter the new area. I felt at times the cut scenes reminded me there is a storyline. I enjoyed the creativity for each boss and how they incorporated well into the theme of the various areas. I also enjoy the short breaks when you are doing a Run and Gun which is essentially a side scrolling platform. This gives some variation to the game and it gives the feel that Cuphead (and Mugman) travelling to different areas on the map to fight another boss. You have a top down view of the map area and you can speak to some of the characters in the area. I believe they can hint/guide you to secret levels. Overall I will say that Cuphead didn't feel like a linear game and that it was more focused on the boss battles. The cut scenes help to remind you that there is a story but with this type of game I wouldn't know any other way you could make it more linear.
There are two types of boss battles; one is where you are in a plane and shooting or it's jumping to platforms and it goes either up, down, left or right. The boss battles were fun and exciting because for each attempt on the same boss there were different patterns you had to learn. This makes it more challenging and frustrating because once I learnt one pattern/got into a rhythm; it all changed. I found with some of the bosses I struggled with, it became a nuisance. I would hate to admit but I would often rage quit because of the forever changing patterns (I was stuck on one boss for almost a week). That being said I couldn't help but fall in love with the designs of the bosses. They were beautiful to look at and the attention to deal is unbelievable. When you are playing as Cuphead the boss battles are quite fast paced and I didn't feel that when I got hit by an attack or fell it was more due to human error rather than the game itself.
I would also say that sometimes it's hard to move away and you just have to accept that you're taking the hit. The worst thing about the boss battles is that are no checkpoints at all (this is beginning to sound like a Souls game XD) which means you have to endure and not take risks.the one of the worst things about dying is that it shows how close you were to defeating it. That in mind it's so rewarding when you do defeat a boss and 3 mins seem like a life time. It doesn't sound long but when you are trying to dodge, hit the boss and learn the pattern trust me; it's a long time. After you defeat a boss you have a ranking that include increasing your score for not losing any HP, Parrying and using your Super Meter. I found I scored either a B or a C but I haven't scored any higher yet.
I haven't had a chance to play co-op but I have watched some videos. I can see how it can be to your advantage having someone else play with you but I can see a downside. In the battles there is a lot going on and there are different cluster attacks going all around the screen. I found it hard enough dodging with just me playing as Cuphead, let alone anyone else playing as Mugman. It does look like a lot of fun and I'm hoping in the future that I will have opportunity to play co-op.
Run n Gun is a side scrolling platformer with no checkpoints like the boss battles you have to endure attacks from various enemies. It was a nice breather and it allowed me to collect coins in the game. The Coins can be used to get new attacks and charms from a in game shop which can aid you throughout the battles you face. They can mean a difference between you defeating a boss or not, so chose wisely.
The Supers can be collected from a separate area on the map where you have to parry for what it seems a long time. Parrying is your best friend and your worst enemy because if you don't hit it the right way it doesn't increase your Super Meter. It can also mean that you lose some HP as well which doesn't help when you are trying desperately to get enough to do a powerful attack. I have looked at the equipped option and there are three Supers you can collect. I already collected all three but I have gotten use to using the first one. I should try and experiment more with the Supers.
Overall I really like Cuphead it really gives a feel of a 1930's Cartoon especially with the Jazzy music. The Bosses are creative and exciting with the various patterns you have to learn in order to defeat them. It's focused on endurance and patience to be successful in this game along with parrying as well. With this in my mind it gets incredibly frustrating when the patterns change and you are getting increasingly more inclined to rage quit. I also felt with the amount of boss fights it became a bit repetitive and slightly boring. I would have enjoyed more Run 'N Gun personally to give more breaks from the battles. I enjoyed the storyline but like I said it's not heavily focused on this so it makes a good game to jump into at any point. The co-op seems fun and I would honestly like to try it. I can't really say anything positive or negative about the co-op because I haven't tried it myself.