Video Games

Cuphead Tips and Tricks

30 Nov , 2017  

Written by: Jon Scarr

Cuphead is one of the most talked about games in recent memory. Developed by Canada’s very own Studio MDHR, the game was first announced in 2014, and ever since then fans have been clamouring for it. With over one million sales since launch, Cuphead is already making a name for itself in the gaming community. Check out these Cuphead Tips and Tricks.

Having played through the entire game on Xbox One, let’s discuss my thoughts on what is one of 2017’s most innovative titles.

A Tale of two brothers who make a deal with the Devil

The story in Cuphead is fairly minimal, but just like the old cartoons, it’s intentional. One day Cuphead and his brother Mugman visit a local casino and discover that luck is on their side. After winning big playing craps, the casino owner offers them a deal. If they win, they will be showered with unimaginable riches, loose and the Devil will own their souls.

After not being so lucky, both Cuphead and Mugman beg the Devil for mercy. Devious as he is, the Devil comes up with a plan for the two brothers to repay their debt. Both Cuphead and Mugman must collect the contracts from others who have lost their souls to the Devil.

Three different types of levels

Just like its graphics and sound, the gameplay of Cuphead is unique. Originally the game started out as just featuring boss battles. However, during development, the team at Studio MDHR decided to incorporate side-scrolling run-and-gun levels into the mix.

Thus Cuphead consist of three different types of levels: side-scrolling, platforming boss battles, and airplane shooter. The side-scrolling run-and-gun segments are some of the best of the bunch. They mostly involve platforming and enemy pattern memorization, which is a throw back to the days of games like Contra, Megaman, and Gunstar Heroes. These stages feel like reprieves after maddeningly hard bosses and extend the enjoyment of the game.

The most common level you will play are the platforming boss battles, which offer some of the most intense challenges I’ve seen in quite sometime. Each one is beautifully hand-drawn and animated to perfection—they are really good.

The flying levels are equally as fun as the other types of levels. Though, I did find them a tad more difficult given how much action is going on the screen. Many of these stages involve light dodging segments mixed with enormous boss fights, just like you would see in shooters such as R-Type or Gradius. To make things a big easier, you can switch between two different types of planes. The first is a highly maneuverable plane with weak gunfire. While on the other hand, the other plane is slower with stronger bullets.

One of 2017’s best looking and sounding games

When Microsoft first gave us a glimpse of Cuphead, I immediately fell in love with the game’s unique art direction. Unlike any game before it, Cuphead captures the look and feel of the cartoons from the 1930s through its stunning watercolour art design. The hand drawn characters and backgrounds along with the film grain effect is absolutely stunning.

It’s not just the visual appeal that totally blew me away, it’s also the audio in the game. Levels are filled with jazzy big band tunes that are a perfect compliment for the on screen action. Voices have a muffled warm feeling to them. It’s just enough to where you can understand what the characters are saying, just like the old cartoons.

Take a look at the video below to see and hear just how awesome Cuphead looks and sounds for yourself.

Get ready for a good old fashioned challenge

There has been quite a lot of talk about Cuphead‘s stiff difficulty, and yes it’s 100% true. The game’s hard, borderline punishing at times, and bosses require you to memorize patterns while dying numerous times learning them.

As a gamer who grew up first playing games in the 1980s, Cuphead’s difficulty reminded me of games like Battletoads, Contra, and Megaman. So, though it had been quite some time, the challenge that Cuphead presents was welcomed. However, I can understand how some gamers are upset about the difficulty of the game. Comparatively speaking, most modern games are considerably easier, thus making it a shock to many gamers of the modern era.

Gameplay elements such as life bars are completely removed in Cuphead. You’ll have no way of knowing how much health bosses have left, aside from an ambiguous progress line after dying. And don’t even think about half-way checkpoints, this game doesn’t have those either. When you die it’s always back to the beginning to have another attempt from scratch.

Tips and Tricks

Here are some tips and tricks to help you out while playing Cuphead:

  • Power-ups can be purchased from Porkrind’s Shop. These include your primary and secondary weapons such as a Chaser, which is weak but heat-seeking, the shotgun-like Spread, and heave-damage Lobber. A few more shot types exist as well giving you plenty of options to choose from pre-battle and will help you immensely along the way.
  • Additionally, Charms that act like passive abilities can be purchased. Once equipped, they provide Cuphead with a range of passive abilities. These range from a Smoke Bomb, which makes you invincible during dashes, to Coffee that continuously fills your Super meter.
  • Certain weapons may be more effective depending on the boss’ attack pattern, and the same goes for passive Charms. Often times when you’re stuck on a particular boss, simply changing up your loadout is enough to secure you victory.

Final thoughts

If you are looking for a game that will give you a challenge, then look no further. Cuphead is a punishing game in its own right. With impeccable controls and memorable boss fights, Cuphead is a game that overwhelms you with a feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction when you succeed. And, brings out your competitive side when you are on the loosing side of things.

I hope we see more of Cuphead in the future, with a little more broader appeal to the mass market of gamers.

Platform: Xbox One
Developer: Studio MDHR
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Genre: Platform
ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)

Final score: 88/100

About the Author: Jon Scarr

Based in Toronto, Jon is a proud Canadian who loves all things gaming. He is a veteran of the video game and tech industry who has been in love with technology and gaming for over 20 years. Come say hi and join the conversation with Jon on Twitter.


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