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The Best Game I Played: January 2018 | Cuphead

February 02, 2018

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kids articles

By: Max Cannon

A lot of different games flash across my TV, some of them good and some of them are not so good. If you're looking for a great gaming recommendation you are reading the right article. Each and every month I'll give you the update on my favorite game I played over the last 30 or 31 days. Some of these games will be newer releases and some will be ancient games that I dug out of my dusty old cabinet but they'll always be something I'm passionate about. This month's game is...

Cuphead

The Best Game I Played: January 2018 | CupheadThe Best Game I Played: January 2018 | CupheadCourtesy of Microsoft

Easy on the Eyes and Ears

Of course, the reason Cuphead started turning heads with the press during E3 2014 wasn't the tight gameplay and boss rush mechanic. Gamers took to Cuphead because of the gorgeous, hand-drawn visuals that emulate a classic 1930's cartoon similar to Disney's Steamboat Willie. On top of looking the part, the jazzy soundtrack (which you can check out below) brings a frenetic energy to the fights and becomes as important as the visuals of the game. Every inch of the game nails the aesthetic that Cuphead is going for and has set a new bar for artistic direction. 

The Music of Cuphead: Recording Floral Fury

Not only is the game hand-drawn frame-by-frame but each character is drawn in a style that emulates multiple different cartoon styles from way back when.  Bosses clearly recreate the visuals of PopeyeBetty Boop, and Tom and Jerry while our heroes Cuphead and Mugman share a look with classic Disney characters like Mickey Mouse and Goofy. Inanimate objects dance and smile to the music, or fire projectiles at you, with a cheery yet creepy atmosphere that you won't find in any other game but the important thing to remember is that this is still a game and the gameplay here is a ton of fun.

Character designs are what make the art style so memorable.Character designs are what make the art style so memorable.Courtesy of Studio MDHR

More Than Just Looks

The Run-N-Gun gameplay popularized by games like Contra brings a retro vibe to the gameplay as much as the visuals, though only back to the 80's and 90's. Only a few of the game's levels are traditional platformer levels, so if you're looking to get attached to Cuphead's gameplay you'd better have a love for bosses. There's a level of love and care to the bosses that make it easy to forget how horribly challenging the game's enemies can be. You don't know a true beatdown until it's at the hands of a psychic carrot.

The Popeye influences are strong here.The Popeye influences are strong here.Courtesy of Studio MDHR

While the game has some iffy controls on my Xbox controller, the ability to customize your own control scheme will fix that problem promptly. Slowly chipping away the health of a boss with your projectiles and dodging attacks with a swift dash feel responsive and divide fights into sequences that feel satisfying to predict. Throwing in a snappy parry/jump and you have a simple set of commands that become easy to understand and difficult to master. Augmenting your moveset with special skills like teleporting dashes or homing attacks gives players more options than a stagnant moveset. Finishing up the game had me immediately rebooting to tackle the harder challenges, Cuphead is a challenging game that's worth every bit of your time.

Switching to a plane shakes up the formula.Switching to a plane shakes up the formula.Courtesy of Studio MDHR
Have Your Say!

Did you ever try out Cuphead? What did you play in January? Leave a comment below!