My video gaming experience growing up was mostly playing platformers on Nintendo consoles that I couldn’t beat. I would usually have friends come over and play some of my games for me so I could see the end of my games. Since then, my gaming skills have improved but I’m far from perfect and some of those classic platformers still give me trouble. So, in my eyes, adding Cuphead to the Nintendo Switch’s library was a perfect choice.
Cuphead originally came out in 2017 and caught instant popularity for a few reasons. The game is best known for its charming 1930s cartoon style and its punishing difficulty. As fun as it is to run around as a rubber-hose animated character, you’ll most likely find yourself trying to twist your controller in two after making the same mistake for the 180th time. The plastic on my controllers may be warped by this point, but I’m not as bad as that one journalist who was stuck on the game’s tutorial for an embarrassing amount of time.
At least he owned it. I would deny, deny, deny. You’ll never see my embarrassing Cuphead failures.
If you’ve never played or seen Cuphead, it’s a little run and gun game that focuses on boss battles. You play as Cuphead or his brother, Mugman (with the latest update), as you run around the cute and friendly world of Inkwell Isles meeting up with all kinds of different characters. Except it’s not cute and friendly, it’s more like if Steamboat Willy tried doing Houdini level magic tricks while explaining to his Grandmother on the phone how to make a video call with her computer. If you can’t recognize or learn patterns, you may find Cuphead difficult.
I’m very good at forgetting things I’ve just seen or had done, so Cuphead is quite a challenge for me.
Cuphead and Mugman lost their souls to the Devil in a game of craps once a winning streak made them overconfident. After losing the high-stakes dice roll, the brothers beg for mercy to keep their souls. The Devil agrees to return their souls after they collect the souls of the debtors who live on Inkwell which all happen to be insane bosses with crazy powers. It seems like everyone owes the Devil something.
The game centers around a variety of boss battles. From dealing with giant blue blobs who have a mean right hook to fighting a sky woman who can transform into the moon. Cuphead isn’t without creativity. There are a few levels of run-and-gun platforming that the game needs plenty more of because the boss battles can be straight-up frustrating at times. So a break from those would be nice.
I think we’re all hoping we’ll get a few more of the run-and-gun levels once the new DLC hits later this year.
While the title is somewhat identical to its Xbox One and PC counterpart, something that is new to the game is the secret bosses. These hidden additions made their way into the game via an update when the game launched on Switch and can be found in all versions of the game. They’re great if you want an added level of difficulty for a few of the boss fights. One you can access early is in the garden vegetable fight. Don’t attack the Onion when it shows up and you’ll get a different third stage of the fight. Plus seeing the Onion cry is quite sad.
As I mentioned, at length, Cuphead is difficult and that kept me from playing the game for a long time in one sitting when it originally launched. However, now that the game is on Switch, it is great to pick up in handheld mode for an hour or more and chill out. Something about being on-the-go makes the game much more appealing. I found myself picking up my Switch between daily tasks and work to attempt a few boss runs and promptly moving on once I failed a fair number of times.
It may sound like I’m hung up on the difficulty. I am, however, I don’t want the game to sound like its difficult to a fault. The game is incredibly fun but I am far from being good at this game. I enjoy this game every step of the way and most of my frustrations come from my inability to learn from my own mistakes. My thumbs get their fair share of the blame as well.
The game runs incredibly smooth on the Switch. Plenty of times in the past we’ve seen games ported over to different consoles and the game suffers in that transition. The Switch is more susceptible to downgrades because of the hardware it uses but Cuphead doesn’t miss a beat. It performs perfectly in the dock and in handheld mode. Which is very important considering the precision needed to be successful at the game. If there were any kind of missteps, the game would falter greatly.
The visuals maintain the same level of detail on the Switch as well. You never lose the charm of those 1930s inspired characters. The time, effort and love put into Cuphead‘s production are not lost in this port.
It would have been nice to have something that made this version of the game different. I can buy into why it was left the same with no additions but I just wish it had it’s own something special for Switch addition. Why not have a Mario suit for Cuphead? Or maybe just Mario’s hat? Just something to have that added Nintendo flair.
Cuphead is perfect on Switch. Usually porting games to new consoles presents unseen issues but Cuphead doesn’t miss a beat. It is the same game you can get either on Xbox or PC and that is a good thing. The combination of beautiful animation, a great, original soundtrack, and unique characters make Cuphead one of the best platformers in years. While the game is hard, it’s an absolute blast and a game that fans of classic platformers would love.