#08 - Cuphead
I’ll be honest; Cuphead did not really interest me all that much. I was very impressed by the art style, but I’m not one to get too excited about “bullet hell” style platformers. I never was a big fan of games like Contra. However, after reading up about the game and hearing all the praise, I decided to give it a shot anyway. At the very least, I would enjoy the hell out of the animation. As it turns out, the entire game is pretty delightful.
The premise of Cuphead is told through an amazing song during the title screen. Basically Cuphead and Mugman are gambling at a casino. Cuphead pushes their luck and bets their souls to the devil. They lose, but instead of just losing their souls, the devil sends them out to collect the souls of other various people to repay their debt. The game starts, and you’re in a beautiful, hand drawn overworld. Each area contains a handful of bosses and one or two platforming stages. Beating bosses unlocks new routes in the overworld until you finally finish them all, unlocking a new area.
The bosses are the meat of the game. There is a wide variety, and each one feels unique. Each boss has different forms, and you must figure out where to shoot to damage each one. It’s pretty simple, but the different ways you can equip Cupheadkeeps things interesting. I also really enjoyed the parry system even if I didn’t always use it in the boss fights. Anything pink in the game can be used to parry. Basically this means that if you press the jump button again on the pink item, you will parry that thing and fill your special move bar a bit. Also, I haven’t mentioned it yet but the game is unyieldingly difficult. The boss levels will take perseverance. You will die over and over. It is incredibly rewarding, though, when you take down a challenging boss. This kind of difficulty isn’t going to be for everyone, but I enjoyed it.
The platforming levels were definitely my favorite part of the game, but not for the reason I would have thought. There is a NPC in the overworld that will mention something about beating the platforming stages without hurting anyone. Sure enough, there is a way to complete each stage without ever killing a single enemy. Figuring out how to do this in each level was a joy. It was definitely infuriating at times, but the puzzle aspect gave me something different than the gauntlet of bosses the game otherwise provides.
Ultimately, while I definitely had a lot more fun playing Cuphead than I would have ever thought, I don’t know that I will have any desire to return to it. I did not feel the need to engage with the customization in the game. There’s an item that turns you invisible while dodging, and I had that equipped the entire game. I only used two or three different guns, and I kept the original special move equipped the entire game also. I’m sure there may be benefits to the other load outs, but I could not justify changing up my playstyle. The game also ranks you after each victory. I considered going back and trying to get top marks on all the bosses, but that ultimately sounded like more trouble than it was worth. Cuphead will remain a fantastic 6 hour game that I will have fond memories about. Maybe someday I’ll return to it. It probably won’t be for a while, though.
#07 - What Remains of Edith Finch
Aaron (me) is a lover of games, Extra Life member, Twitch streamer, and husband. I have never written much before, so I apologize if things start a little rough. I hope to improve in time.