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Hands-on review: Cuphead is very fun but brutally difficult
Wed, 4th Oct 2017
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Cuphead is easily the hardest game you will ever play in 2017. It's arguably more difficult than both Nioh and Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy.

I managed to finish Nioh and all of its DLC. I also got every trophy available in Crash Bandicoot N. Sane trilogy. Despite my gaming expertise, Cuphead is pushing my abilities to the limit. It's REALLY hard.

Normally when you think of a difficult game, you may think of giving up or throwing the controller in frustration. However, Cuphead's difficulty is not annoyingly hard if that makes any sense. All you need to have is a keen eye and a lot of patience.

The first level of Cuphead isn't too difficult, even though it took me several tries to complete it. As a 2D side-scroller, all you need to do is travel to the right side of the screen and shoot everything you see while dodging projectiles.

This is easier said than done because the enemies travel quite fast and the projectiles can come out of nowhere. You will need to use Cuphead's dash ability and jumping skills a lot to avoid everything.  Thankfully unlike Megaman, Cuphead is able to shoot in all directions. Not to mention you can collect coins in levels in order to gain new abilities that will help you later on in harder stages or boss fights.

One of my favourite abilities is the homing missile gun. This green blast targets onto enemies no matter what direction you shoot at. There are also special moves that you can attain that is super helpful against the many boss fights that you will encounter.

From my experience, it's best to collect as many abilities as you can in order to experiment which ones suit you the best. The homing missile gun and the dash ability combo allowed me to progress further than I'd ever imagine in this game.

The only flaw with this game is that there are more boss fights featured here than actual levels. The boss fights are cool to play through, but I would have love to have seen more levels for you to traverse through.

Speaking of boss fights, I won't spoil you about them but they are tricky. That said, every boss has a certain pattern that you can exploit so they are doable if you learn how to avoid their attacks. Not to mention your special moves also come in handy.  The only annoying thing about boss fights is that the game doesn't include a life bar over their heads. A visible life bar would have been easier for me to know how much longer I needed to defeat a certain boss.

A cool feature is that this game includes offline co-op. A friend can drop in and drop out at anytime to give you help. The second player controls Mugman which is just a blue version of Cuphead himself. Playing with my brother was helpful during boss fights, but he became a burden during the stages since he was too slow to keep up with me...

Graphically, Cuphead is one of the best looking games I have seen all year long. All the characters are hand drawn and it mimicks the old animation style of Mickey Mouse. The old-school style visuals are rarely seen these days so the retro look is a nice touch.

Anyway, Cuphead is by far my favourite Xbox One/Windows 10 exclusive released in 2017. It might be brutally difficult, but you will jump for joy once you actually complete a level or boss fight. Perseverance is the key to success in this game.

Verdict: 8.5/10