Half-Full or Half-Empty? Cuphead runs and guns to the top of the lists!


Half-Full or Half-Empty? Cuphead runs and guns to the top of the lists!

If you can imagine a favourite Looney Tunes or Mickey Mouse cartoon depending on your age, it immediately brings to life the atmosphere, scenes, music and mayhem that was in one of those cartoons. For those not old enough, there's always Futurama.

Cuphead Art

 Article by James McQuillan / Follow on Twitter as  @Sarcastic_Apple

Think of the music too; the playful orchestra with mischievous clarinets, it brought the entire show to life. Now... add a colourful playlist of bosses, put in the odd deal with the devil and two children with 1 complete skull between them, and you've got Cuphead!

Cuphead Flower

When it was showcased to journalists for the first time, the atmosphere drastically changed; it left an immediate impression on viewers, earning it the Xbox one award for best game at its debut at E3 in 2015. And with so many next gen games that it stood shoulder to shoulder with, that's incredible.

Despite delays, including an entire rebuild of the engine which set them back (Reminds me of Phil Fish), Cuphead debuted just days ago! And it is as remarkable as it looks and feels! In their blog, Chad and Jared Moldenhauer (Studio MDHR) expressed regret over the unplanned delays but I think it's not just on professional, but personal grounds that they felt that way.

Cuphead Carrot

When I compare it to Looney Tunes or Mickey Mouse, it's no coincidence: it truly harkens back to the Harman and Ising era of animation, making a video game world that at once is comical, action packed but one which is thoroughly alive with unique characters and environments.

"Seeing the animation in Cuphead has made me want to dedicate years of my life to making a fully animated game some day! 2D Goodness!" - Ross O'Donovan (Rubberninja), Game Grumps

Their regrets, I believe comes from the depth of inspiration they take from Fleischer studios among others, in wanting their game to be on the 80th anniversary for cartoons like Betty Boop & Popeye, both which you can see in some of the characters.

The soundtrack takes you back in the same way the art style does; classic Jazz-age, even throwing in 'Scat' style singing akin to classic Betty Boop. and we have Kristofer Maddigan to thank for it. 

Now what it represents is a style of gaming that has been hitting sweet spots so consistently that it is such a bread and butter market for the independent scene, it should almost be a trademarked thing.

What I mean by that is the ability to create a compelling story, coupled with enough of a nostalgia trip for veteran gamers with colour and character to draw in newcomers... While also punishing those who think the colourful worlds means it's going to be like riding 'It's a small world'. 

Cuphead Screenshot Mermaid Game

The MDHR brothers lay it out clear that they're not fans of handholding, they're a 'tough but fair household' so you best roll up them sleeves. Those knowledgeable of earlier editions of video game induced trauma such as 'Super Meat Boy' will know all about the difficulty curve, but also just how endearing they can be.

The gameplay mechanics are very similar to classic 'run and gun' platformers like megaman. Those more clued up will find the gun side of it is the style of 'Bass' from Megaman and Bass or Metal Slug's multidirectional shooting.

Cuphead Article

With weaponry being situational to your need. For newcomers, it allows you to chop and change, and for challenge junkies: you get to try out the hardest combinations while trying to get an A+.

There's no arguing that this won't be everyone's thing; the platforming can be frustrating and while the bosses may be colourful, the language you'll be using when fighting them might just transcend the spectrum. But it's one that has fans of Game Grumps among other streamers clamouring to get their take on it.

Article by James McQuillan / Follow on Twitter as  @Sarcastic_Apple

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