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Cuphead | Xbox One / PC
Released: September 29, 2017
Developer: Studio MDHR
Grade: 5 out of 5 meatballs
Reviewed by: Pawl Schwartz

Cuphead is the story of a 1930s style cartoon that is Mickey Mouse from the neck down, and a tea cup from the neck up. As Cuphead, you and your pal Mugman hit up the casinos one night and get caught up in a simple game of dice with Satan (you know, normal everyday stuff). You, of course, lose everything and end up in debt to Satan, which is a terrible place to be. In order to be released from this debt, you have to use your magical snappy fingers to shoot at and defeat different cartoon beings to collect their souls and return them to Satan. Don’t worry, they all sold their souls willingly and contractually; Satan is just making you do the hard work to collect them, which is quite far from easy.

Make no mistake, this game is not just old school in looks, it is old school hard and then some. It plays a lot like a cartoon of Contra, but with even more shit going on constantly and even bigger bosses to bathe in bullets. To negate this unforgiving nature a bit, you have two difficulty levels to choose from on all boss levels: ‘Simple’ or ‘Hard’. Beating the level on Simple is a little easier, but not much. When you beat a boss on Simple, you do not actually acquire the boss’s soul, a big downer, as this is the object of the game. If you don’t collect them, you’ll never be able to fight the last boss, Satan himself!

Yes, Cuphead will make you learn by retry more than Dark Souls, but it’s an integral part of the game. It’s quick, smooth, and takes lots of practice (and dodging) to beat. But this is great, because it has the double effect of making you feel really fucking awesome when you are having a good run at it.

Visually, there is no other game like it. Cuphead is its own category—it's only distant kin is perhaps Hyperlight Drifter, or an awesome acid trip. The only trouble is that it is very difficult to appreciate the animation while playing the game, because playing requires an extreme amount of focus and memorization, especially in the sidescrolling stages. Luckily, my childhood of Sega Genesis sidescrollers gave me the experience I needed to push through these levels. After all, you will be retrying so much that you will still have the chance to appreciate the art of the game at some point. I recommend changing the controls around, putting the fire button on the right trigger and the lock button on x, as I had to do to be able to keep up with the requirements of the game.

Simply put, if you are a gamer or animation fan, you have to play this. If you don’t have an XBone like me, download it on Steam and grab a controller. Resistance is futile; Cuphead is dripping cool.