Saturday, October 28, 2017

Cuphead Review : Cartoons for the Masochists!

When he was first introduced to the public, the gamer's eyes immediately looked and focused on what he was offering. How come? When most games pursue a quality visualization may be realistic or contradictory, offering pixel-based visualization to bring a more subtle nostalgic sensation, this one game actually takes its inspiration from the 1930s cartoons. Visualizations are certainly familiar to those of you who are familiar with cartoons such as Disney when he first headed for the television screen. A presentation approach that makes many gamers fall in love.

But regardless of the shape that is so cute and adorable, Cuphead is certainly not a game that is thought for this. He is not a platforming game that follows the Mario or Rayman style that offers the challenge of design, but ends "easy" to complete with a little dedication and skill in it. Instead, Cuphead actually sells what we rarely find in a platforming game - high difficulty level. True, following the Souls series format and the games in the console generation of the past, it is designed as a game that will test not only your eye and hand coordination capabilities but also patience.

So, what is actually offered by this Cuphead? Why do we call it a cartoon game for masochists? This review will discuss it more deeply for you.


Cuphead's own name actually refers to the name of one person's main character, as does Mario. But from the story of his own story, he actually concerns one other character - Mugman, who is here, you can position like Luigi. Both are the character of the protagonist who actually has a sincere and fun personality. It's just that they're not smart enough to follow suggestions that seem relevant to us in the real world - do not play with the devil.

In a world called Inkwell Isle, the lucky Cuphead and Mugman end up at Devil's Casino headed by a character named King Dice. As the name implies, this casino contains various types of gambling. Cuphead and Mugman's triumphant increase their risk of luck with one bet that changed everything. They will be entitled to take over the Devil's Casino if they win, but if they lose, they must surrender their souls to Satan. Too optimistic, Cuphead and Mugman also agreed the bet.

As can be predicted, it does not end well. Cuphead and Mugman end up losing. But not immediately lifting their lives, the Devil offers an alternative solution to another. Both characters with the head of this cup were asked to collect contracts from Inkwell Isle residents who lost their lives before tomorrow night. To carry out this tough task, both are equipped with the power to fire fire from their fingertips by Elder Kettle - their supervisor. So go Cuphead and Mugman to run the job to secure their lives.

So, what kind of challenges must be faced by Cuphead and Mugman? Can they save their own lives? You should of course get an answer to this question, by directly tasting the Cuphead itself.

Hand Drawing

One aspect that is sure to make many gamers end up familiar with Cuphead is the visualization approach he offers. In contrast to most games that despite the pursuit of cartoon flavor, end up offering a quality of modern-looking animation, Cuphead takes a unique approach that is ready to steal anyone's attention. True, a presentation that reminds you of cartoons that had appeared in the late 1920s and early 1930s. The initial flavor when Mickey Mouse was finally introduced in the form of an animated film.

To achieve that effect, everything you find in this Cuphead, from just the environment, characters, to animations and facial reactions that are blended with hand drawings, just like old cartoons in the past. This one process produces a more authentic taste, such as the atmosphere that MDHR is trying to pursue - the developer.

So what you find is a game that has a pampering visualization, but on the other hand, shows a strong enough personality for each character and level that it offers. The taste of the 1930s cartoon is indeed slightly "injured" with the initial design with modern high definition colors. But along with the progress of the game, especially if you have enough "intention", you can open up extra content filters to use - black and white and a two-color filter to produce a more "old" impression again.

So like watching Steamboat Willie from Mickey Mouse, you'll find an expressive world within the limitations that exist. The sound of gunshots, explosions, and grumpy characters are clear, short, and imply a classic flavor that strengthens the atmosphere. Shouts or types of attacks sometimes even rooted in the effect of writing expression coming out of the mouth of the enemy, the detail that we think increasingly makes Cuphead look unique and "old". Of course, the string of things is the accompanying music, which, in our opinion, is even worth talking about in separate sessions later on.

The point? From the side of the presentation, Cuphead appear to spoil the eye through a unique approach to her classic cartoon style. But not just a "unique" course, the developer seems to succeed in offering authentic taste through the quality of hand drawing, sound effects options, to melting music into a fantastic element. Something is enough to make you fall in love, from the first sight.

Git Gud!

But do not be fooled by the cute form he offers, because believe it or not, like the story he's holding, playing Cuphead will feel like you're caught in a deal with Satan. A game that is ready to frustrate and despair, but on the other hand, offers a difficult satisfaction to describe if you succeed in solving every challenge. True, this is not an easy game.

You might think that this game is platformer based. Not wrong, but also not true. Cuphead itself divides itself into two great modes: Boss Fight and Run & Gun. For Run & Gun, you can see it is no different from platformer game in general. The point is to move from point A to point B, and make sure you're not dead in the middle. Remember, there is no checkpoint system here. So, with your super limited life, this is an uncompromising platformer game. Once you end up failing and dead, then you have to repeat this platforming process back from the beginning. Continually, until you succeed.

But the core of the Cuphead gameplay is actually more focused on the battle against the boss who comes with many variants here. And herein lies the real Cuphead "fun". Bringing the boss fight formula of the platformer games in general, each boss will come up with a clear and definitive pattern of attack. Usually present through several phases that each of them will offer different types of attacks and challenges, the focus is to survive while hurting them with the weapons you use. But of course, do not expect this to be easy. Because in the end, this is a game that will require you to go through a fairly intense trial and error process, until finally, you will learn and understand how to subdue each of them.

Because without any mercy, every boss is not an easy thing that can be underestimated. Patterned attacks mean demanding concentration to not only act, but also predict what will happen next. The variant changes for each boss that can be present in 2-4 different formats mean necessity to not only recognize, but also understand what you should do, you should avoid, and should think about afterwards. Because remember, this is a game without a checkpoint system. With a limited life of 3 (minimum) which allows you to only accept 3 times damage / battle, killing means it will require you to repeat everything from scratch. So like the sensations offered by the Souls series, there is no more effective strategy other than applying the essential "Git Gud" strategy here.

Moreover, there is a level of randomness here. Not enough to carry only 2-4 variants / boss only, each boss sometimes also comes with different variants of attack that will be present in random format. You will not be able to predict what kind of attack will approach your battle session this time, something that might not happen before or after. As an example? There is a boss with a Slot Machine theme that can issue a specific attack depending on the same image that appears on the screen. There is no clear sequence about these attacks, and there are three different variants that each will require different avoiding and attacking actions. Seize Slot Machine attacks can be the same or even, much different from your next gameplay session if you end up dead. And there are plenty of enemies like this to make your gameplay sessions more interesting and challenging.

The good news? Cuphead also provides many alternative "solutions" that you can use. Through a pig-shaped merchant that will appear on every chapter, you can buy a variant of a weapon or a permanent buff that you can install. Relying on Gold resources that you can collect through the limited Run & Gun gameplay series, you can buy weapons or equipment that roughly, can support your play style. There is a powerful shotgun-style weapon but within a short distance, there are weapons that require you to charge for greater damage, to a buff that will increase the number of your HP to make you automatically do parry attacks at the beginning.

Parry? True, this game also carries the parry system. Unfortunately, of all the mechanics he offers, this may be one of the most "weak" mechanics. By pressing the jump button in the right timing, especially for all things pink (either pink) or enemy projectile attack itself, you can activate parry. It will neutralize the damage, give extra jumps, and fill your Power bar for special attacks. Although it sounds tempting, but amid the scandalous conditions of the screen with so many attacks and things to watch out for, Parry's action will usually end up with a disproportionate risk rather than an appropriate reward. Of course, this is different if Parry is the only solution needed to fight back or finish the stage.

Because in the end, consistency to continue to damage is more important than just collecting the Power bar in the form of a card for a special attack with great damage. Even if you end up collecting 5 cards (Max), you will be able to access a more special attack called Super Art that will be able to generate even greater damage. But do not have to do Parry, this bar will also be filled along with the more damage that you catapult to any enemies. According to us personally, ideally, this Parry system should have a reward that is much more worth it. We would not mind trying it if he could, for example, recover our HP bar if it is executed successfully. For now, Parry is a mechanic that does not feel "worthy" to be pursued, unless it is essential for your progress or battle strategy.

Fantastic Music

As we talked about before, one of the most fantastic things about Cuphead is the music he offers. Indeed from the visual presentation side, you can already find a strong impression that he was inspired from the classic cartoon film. But in the end, it is the music that appears like the glue that makes everything, ends up far more fantastic.

The dominant classical jazz music will accompany your action, unique and different in every level. Kian makes the classic cartoon atmosphere more authentic, this music fuses with a sweet and solid in the gameplay that of course takes a high concentration. Noisy, not too dominant to mess up your attention, and sound so fitting with the "monster" you're facing on screen, the original Cuphead soundtrack will make you fall in love. At least, he will make the process of trial and error that is sure to happen to dozens or even dozens of times, does not feel boring.

We will not even be surprised if you end up choosing to include some original OSTs of this game into your portable mp3 playlist, just to enjoy it. Delightful cartoonish flavor to accompany your day, as long as you do not associate it with the "nightmare" and frustration that may arise during the music accompanying your action in the gameplay.


An amazingly exciting game, no longer a sentence that seems appropriate to explain what kind of experience Cuphead has to offer. You may start to fall in love with the visual presentation that he offers or the music that merges all the elements so well, but most of you will probably survive because of the solid gameplay and high difficulty level that is ready to challenge you. There is a strong impression that each of these challenges can be rationally subdued, until the trial and error process for one boss is not impossible, will run up to tens of times. However once you have overcome it, as does the Souls series, there is an unmatched satisfaction followed by a feeling of maximum relief. That's the main attraction of Cuphead. Complexity does not come from simple key input, but from how hard your fighting power is to get it done.

Of course, this game is not perfect. There is not much we can talk about what we can really complain about. But if you have to choose, then so valuable parry system in mechanics as a whole seems to be a separate note. MDHR can actually make Cuphead players much more interested in taking the risk of parry if they provide equivalent rewards, such as making it able to recover HP for example, which of course is very valuable. But what is happening now, he is nothing more than a "prime requirement" to complete several stages and fight some existing bosses. But when it comes to an alternative, it seems that no one will be interested in taking the risk of jumping over a projectile or any object, which could be the end of their lives.

But of course, with all this appeal, Cuphead is still not a game that everyone can "enjoy". For frustrated and frustrated gamers with the level of difficulty of modern games that seem to offer a short solution to all problems, Cuphead seems to be the source of new problems that they will not want to approach. But for gamers lover of challenges and games with high difficulty levels, such as the Souls series for example, this is a quality title that you will not want to miss. This is a cartoon for you who are masochists.


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