E3 Hands-On: Is Cuphead great or a Silly Symphony?

Wednesday, June 29th, 2016

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One of the most punishing games I played, by far, at E3 2016 was Cuphead at the Xbox One booth. Cuphead is a platform run-n-gun game with an art style that is directly inspired by a 1930’s cartoon animation style. This means that everything you fight, from creatures to plants, has that distinctive Felix the Cat, Silly Symphonies, and Merrie Melodies look to it and is rendered in a beautiful 60 FPS. Additionally, while I could not prove it at E3, I am fairly certain that the audio in the Cuphead demo I played draws upon that early 19030’s-era as well.


The 1930’s animation style is jawdroppingly beautiful to see in person.

I played the Cuphead demo with another person in co-op mode and we quickly dived into the game without any storyline setup. The biggest thing I have to say about the gameplay is that it is incredibly punishing, but incredibly fair. I died. A lot. My partner died. A lot. Yet, each time we died, we deserved to die. This is a difficult game, yet both myself and my partner kept saying ‘just one more time’ after we would both wipe out. We both kept being drawn into the game and wanting to play it and push a little bit further, even if we knew that we were going to ultimately just die again at some point.


There are multiple boss fights throughout the game.

We played through several stages and a boss fight in Cuphead. The boss fight continued that distinctive Golden Age of Animation art style inside of a vegetable patch. First, we fought a large, angry potato creature that continually spat objects out at us. Once we killed it, an angry carrot with a literal ‘third-eye’ that shot beams appeared and we had to kill it as well. The boss fight was easier than the stages, though not by an absurd amount, and was fun. We quickly picked up on the boss’ battle patterns and squashed them both to earn us a well-deserved victory.


Cuphead can be played solo or in co-op.

Cuphead is currently scheduled for a 2016 release exclusively for Xbox One and PC, and I cannot wait to get my hands on the final release and attempt to play through it again.

All images are courtesy of Studio MDHR.

What do you think of Cuphead’s animation style? Are you looking forward to the game’s upcoming release on Xbox One and PC? Let us know below!

About Quentin H.

I have been a journalist for oprainfall since 2015, and I have loved every moment of it. Do you want to do an interview? You can reach me at interviews@oprainfall.com