Cuphead offers frustratingly addicting sidescroller

Sitting alone in the dark at 11 p.m. Anger boiling over. About to blow a fuse. That’s what Cuphead is about. It’s an incredibly challenging game designed to not be beaten. Every level is hard, and there is no such thing as easy. It’s level after level of brutal challenges and impossible enemies. Cuphead is designed to make you angry, and it does that very well. That’s the beauty and fun of the game, also making it one of the most diverse games on the market.

Cuphead’s art is one of the coolest parts of the game. The artwork and music are made to look like you are playing an early Disney cartoon. The 1940s-esque cartoon theme makes for great looking, side-scrolling adventure. A diverse array of enemies that walk weird, talk weird and fight weird is what makes it a little easy playing the same level over 20 times. If it was some other theme like a jungle, or whatever, it just wouldn’t work the same. The crazy up-tempo, jazzy style is in sync with the hand-drawn art in a way that’s hard to describe, but by just looking, you know there’s something special pertaining to it.

Cuphead’s is something that is ferocious. It makes you want to slam your controller down and throw it across the room countless times. That being said, when everything finally connects and falls to fruition perfectly, it is a moment of pure euphoria. It is a dopamine level only felt by heroin addicts and Cuphead fiends.

So, this all being said, before buying you must know how hard the game is. It’s nearly impossible. You’ll have to play levels so much so that you remember every little thing. You’ll study it, memorize it and develop new strategies to make it through the gauntlet.

Trial and error is both your friend and foe. If you have any desire to play this game in its entirety, it will be hard. It will seem like an impossibility, but it will be euphoric in the end.

The run and gun games will take forever. These are the modes that require the studious concentration. It seems easy enough. All you have to do is run to the right and avoid enemies in this side-scrolling mode, but the lack of forgiveness is what gives this mode its bite.

So much as a mistimed jump, dash or sprint can be deadly. Upgrades are important to things like your peashooter and movement abilities, but all in all, they are futile if you don’t have the skills.

Boss battle levels are next up. It’s usually just three killer bosses who are impossible to take down. For me, it always seemed to require unconventional ways to take them down, like running around until I got a few shots in. It will be hard, it will be brutal, but if you persist you will get it down.

Cuphead is a daunting game. I’ve said that about 400 times now, so you get the idea, but it would be a disservice to let you go in unarmored with tips. First off, I know I said the upgrades mean jack squat without skill, and I mean that, but that also doesn’t mean you go in without any upgrades. They can provide useful in dire times.

For example, there’s a smokescreen ability allowing you to be untouched during dashes. This can be incredibly useful in tight situations. An accidental death resulted by running into an enemy is one of the more infuriating ways to end it. This will hopefully limit those.

Secondly, choose a shooter that works for you. Whether it be the spread shooter that fires in multiple directions at short range, a homing shooter that does little damage or the final shooter, the boomerang, that shoots projectiles that follow your character.

Thirdly, don’t give up. When times seem dire, things are breaking and you just feel like quitting, don’t. As long as you don’t stop trying, eventually there will be a finish line.

Cuphead’s gameplay art, mixed with its challenges, make it a timeless game. The arcade style of play is perfect for the game and only helps its case. The depth may seem limited, but you tend not to focus on that stuff when you’re 50 tries deep into a level.

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