Tag Archives: Cuphead

Cuphead Review

There is a day in my life I will never forget, but for all the wrong reasons. I had been on a fad diet for a few weeks and as a result my body was a bit out of sorts, mainly lacking in fibre. Which in this case had led to serious constipation. I spent the best part of 8 hours in pain, unwilling and unable to stray from a certain room in the house, all the time struggling and swearing, but when I had that breakthrough it was a wondrous moment.

And that my friends, is extremely similar to the process of completing a level on Cuphead.

Yes folks, I just compared Cuphead to Constipation. But it’s not quite as painful, and the relief at the end is probably somewhat greater.

You see, every level on Cuphead is tough. Not unbeatable, but really tough. I need to point out that I haven’t finished the game yet. That’s my first ever review where I haven’t done so. But, if I waited until I had then this review may not go out until 2018!

Cuphead is made up of three islands, and progressing to the next is only granted by completing the island you are on. Each island has 7 levels, which are split between three game types. The most common is the Boss Battle level, which was the basis of Cuphead when it was first revealed. These levels require the player to defeat a single enemy to progress. Each of these levels can be tackled on Easy or Regular difficulty, but you will need to complete on the latter to make it count towards completion. There are also “Aeroplane” levels, which are boss battles but set in the sky where Cuphead is in control of a Biplane. Finally, and probably most rare, are the Run and Gun levels, which are short platformer levels with a smaller boss at the climax.

Defeating the boss is achieved by shooting. A lot of shooting. Collecting coins during levels allows you to unlock new guns, and these can make the later levels much easier to complete. At any point you can switch between two guns and these are manually swapped by the LB button. You also have a super attack that builds up and is displayed at the bottom of the screen as playing cards. A full card means you can fire the super, or you can build up to five cards to unleash the best super attack possible.

Now, I know that sounds easy. “21 levels in total? “Why the heck haven’t you finished the game yet dude?” is what I hear you all cry. Well, it’s really hard! Really, really hard! You see, it’s not as simple as learning the patterns of your enemy, much like the retro games of old.

The enemy do have patterns but they are mixed up so much that although you can predict which attack is incoming, you have no clue as to which one will follow. On one occasion I had nearly perfected the level when the boss threw a new attack at me. This all lead to some sticky situations where quick reflexes and incredible dexterity are needed to survive. But each time you play the level you find yourself improving and getting further. Which leads to an incredibly strong urge to have “one more go” as you get closer and closer to victory.

A certain level on the first island followed this pattern, and it was a good two hours of gameplay to get skillful and knowledgeable enough to defeat the boss. And when that moment happened I yelled and punched the air in delight. And thats Cuphead in a nutshell. The moments of feeling cheated by poor collision detection are few and far between as the game is hardly ever unfair. 99% of the time if you die, it’s your fault. But it’s not completely perfect. That 1% of imperfection is due to the parry mechanic. During each level there will be pink objects that will attack you or appear on screen as an object. Pressing A near these will result in a parry move, and I found this to be very hit and miss to register, which is especially frustrating when it causes a loss of a precious life.

And it’s very difficult to know just how close you are to victory. Your enemies have no health bar, but during the course of the fight your experience tells you how far you are along. When you die you get to see your progress on a sliding scale, with the different stages marked. I have lost count of how many times I have been millimetres from victory at my inevitable death!

You start each level with three lives. Lose all three and it’s game over. And at that point the level restarts. No checkpoints, no extra lives. It really feels quite brutal at times. When the level is successfully completed you are given a score based on your time, number of parries and number of super’s used, and like games of old you are given a score, which usually for me was a nice C or B+. I’m assuming that somewhere in the world there is a superhuman who is achieving A+ scores!

Cuphead looks astonishingly amazing. Its 1930’s graphical style makes it stand out from pretty much any other game I have ever played. Credit to StudioMDHR for creating and perfecting this style. And the music and sound design pretty much follows that theme, with Swing, Jazz and Big Band songs written specifically for the game. And these are just as good as the graphics. If Cuphead doesn’t win multiple awards based on it’s design then I will be amazed. In fact, my wife entered the room as I was playing and likened Cuphead to “Tom and Jerry” because of its graphical quality. This is made to look as authentic as possible with the addition of “noise” on the screen, particularly in menu screens, almost as if the game had been created and restored many years ago.

But I am not the only one here at TiX who has been playing Cuphead. Let’s cross over to John Pinnick to see what he has to say!

When I offered to contribute to the review of StudioMDHR’s Cuphead, I didn’t realise that I’d struggle with condensing my feelings of it as much as I struggled with the fantastic world that StudioMDHR had crafted. I’ve been batting this back and forth for a few days now, a little like how my controller was back and forth from my sofa to my hand, my emotions to and fro between elation and despair.
I’ve read many Tweets, Reddit posts and YouTube comments from people exclaiming they’d “finished the tutorial” – I challenge this by saying that I feel the whole game is one big tutorial. I certainly felt schooled during each stage on the game. That isn’t me saying the game is unfair because that most certainly isn’t the case… Well, okay, maybe I feel it is unfair in some places. For example: facing down a boss that does the same pattern of attacks for a half-dozen attempts, then just when I have nailed the pattern, a totally new pattern emerges. Baroness Von Bon Bon, I am talking about you!
I’ll hold my hands up now, as I come to a close, as of this being written, I’d not defeated boss 7 on world 3. That being said, I feel I can at least comment on this remarkable game; it is so charming, from the artistic design of the 1930s, and the tunes that will stick in your mind (due to hearing them a dozen times each) to the refreshingly strong handed approach to difficulty of most of the stages, and beyond. Cuphead is a great entry in the Xbox and Windows 10 world, one that won’t be replicated anytime soon.”

So, John has progressed further, but has very similar feelings to mine. And I feel empowered and inspired enough to say that Cuphead is a tremendous game and will go down as a classic in future years. It’s not perfect, but then what game is? Whether you are battling the aforementioned Baroness Von Bon Bon in a circus big top, or fighting a three headed dragon whilst jumping around on cloud platforms, Cuphead will amaze, enthral and frustrate you all at the same time. And you’ll put your controller down in anger, and immediately pick it back up for one more go.

At the time of writing Cuphead has sold over a million copies, which is quite astonishing. It’s also available to buy for under £17. It will be high up on many GOTY lists and rightly so.

Forza 7, Cuphead and more heading to Xbox this week

It’s an exciting week of releases on the Xbox this week, Including Forza 7 and Cuphead. That’s not all though…

Pinball FX3

  • Windows 10 / Xbox One

Pinball FX3 is the biggest, most community focused pinball game ever created. Multiplayer matchups, user generated tournaments and league play create endless opportunity for pinball competition and its tables are backwards compatible with previous versions of the game!


  • Xbox Play Anywhere Title

Set in the year 2091, a wired sociopath lashes out against a corrupt system to retrieve his kidnapped brother and uncover the truth under the guidance of a secretive hacker friend. Acquire deadly supplies, enhancing your tactical senses, and master other skills and gadgets that will leave your foes confused and powerless as you seek revenge in Ruiner.


Lightfield is a hyper-futuristic racing game with a parkour twist. Drive on any surface including walls, tunnels and sci-fi architecture to piece together the fastest racing line. Only by mastering your anti-gravity spaceship and finding the best omni-directional route can you race to the top.

Batman: The Enemy Within – Episode 2: The Pact

Continue the story of Bruce Wayne and Batman as the Riddler returns to terrorize Gotham City. With the arrival of a ruthless federal agent and the return of a still nascent Joker, Batman must navigate uneasy alliances while Bruce Wayne undertakes a perilous series of deceptions.


FIFA 18 brings to life the players, teams, and atmospheres that immerse you in the emotion of soccer. Play with the most iconic legends in FIFA Ultimate Team, continue the story of Alex Hunter in his second year in the Premier League, or build your very own Ultimate Team Squad from thousands of players in the game’s most popular mode. EA Access members can start playing today, only on Xbox One.


You awaken from a deep slumber to discover most of the ship’s crew are dead. To survive the horror of what remains, arm yourself with weapons and scare ammunition to deal with the monstrosities lurking in the shadows who react to every movement and noise.


Play as Lilith-M, a robot who embarks on a difficult journey in a steampunk-inspired cyberspace. With a unique design of controlling two characters at the same time with one controller, can you solve these puzzles for Lilith and find the answers she’s looking for.


Armed with a splatter cannon, our young hero launches an attack in order to save the Splashers and stand up to the dictator. Splasher is a 2D platformer with unique arcade-style action gameplay. It offers gamers challenges that require agility, speed and fast reflexes, all set in a crazy cartoon universe.

Battle Garegga Rev.2016

The legendary arcade shoot ’em up from 1996 is back in this meticulously crafted release that’s sure to please both devoted fans and a new generation of shmup maniacs. In addition to a perfect recreation of the original, experience all new game modes and gadgets to help you conquer Battle Garegga‘s notorious difficulty!


  • Xbox Play Anywhere Title / Console Exclusive

Inspired by cartoons of the 1930s, Cuphead is a classic run-and-gun action game with painstakingly created handrawn visuals and an original jazz soundtrack to help set the scene. Play as Cuphead or Mugman (in single-player or local co-op) as you traverse strange worlds, acquire new weapons, learn powerful super moves, and discover hidden secrets while you try to pay your debt back to the devil!

Forza Motorsport 7 Ultimate Edition

  • Xbox Play Anywhere Title / Console Exclusive

Experience the thrill of motorsport with the most comprehensive, beautiful and authentic racing game ever made. In Forza Motorsport 7, players will experience racing at silky smooth 60 frames per second, HDR (Xbox One S and Windows 10 PC), and 4K (Windows 10 PCs) and collect over 700 cars, including the largest assortment of Ferraris, Porsches, and Lamborghinis in any racing game. With over 30 world-famous environments and tracks featuring dynamic weather and race conditions, no two races are the same. And with Xbox One X coming November 7, players will experience racing in native 4K, at 60fps and HDR. Pre-order the Forza Motorsport 7 Ultimate Edition today and receive early access starting on September 29.

Source: Xbox Wire

Cuphead delayed until 2017

One of the most interesting, and visually exciting, run and gun titles, Cuphead, has been delayed until mid 2017.

Studio MDHR announced, via blog post on their website, that their highly anticipated ID@Xbox title won’t be making an appearance in 2016. Their reason being that they “made the difficult decision to delay the launch in order to ship with our vision intact.”, but did confirm that it will be heading to Xbox One, Windows 10, and Steam next year.

2016 has been the year of the delay, with many high-profile titles deciding to push back their deadlines for various reasons. Here’s hoping that this delay won’t affect Cuphead’s performance when it does eventually come out.

Six exciting Xbox One exclusives in 2016

Xbox One Exclusives

I have just purchased a new lounge chair, some fleece trousers, sore cream and a hemorrhoids pillow. Why you may ask, “have you been struck ill?” “In a horrible accident?”  No, none of that. I just like being prepared and as this year’s line up of exclusives for the Xbox One is so frigging good, it’s unlikely that I will be leaving my seat, let alone my house.

None of that “a new year, a new me” bullcrap. I’m going to do what I did last year. just more of it. I’m going to become a withered pale man, with a ‘Degrasse Tyson esque’ knowledge of the inner workings to combat systems for games so deep most people only scratch the surface.

In short. This year I’m going full Tron. I am the game. I am the game.


Quantum Break

This has been on my radar since 2013 when it was shown off as a working project at E3. Since then Remedy entertainment and Microsoft have been hard at work on it and this year they opted to go for a big show at gamescom rather than E3, but it’s semantics really. What’s important is the fact this is a new title entirely and it looks brilliant. If you haven’t seen any footage of it then for all that is holy GO AND WATCH IT RIGHT NOW! Or not, maybe after you finish reading, or when your wasting time at work by flipping through YouTube on the toilet. Whenever. Just watch it. Get hyped for this game.

This is a third person shooter, with a twist. That twist is time. Because it gets twisted… get it? You haven’t watched the video yet have you. Well anyway, this game is about time getting all messed up, but you can control it. Sometimes. Sort of. It really looks impressive, the graphics are good (but we are really at the point now with games when AAA graphics should be good). Your protagonist is Jack Joyce, a person with time controlling abilities as a result of an ‘incident’ during a time travel experiment which also gives powers to another character, Paul Serene. You go through this time stuttering world fighting off an evil corporation. I mean, they might not be evil, I just presume evil because of the name ‘Monarch Solutions’ and them shooting at you. The gameplay trailers and demos have shown definite abilities that control the ebb and flow of time in the game, much like the bullet time in Max Payne but with more control and development to it.

The whole thing is hugely interesting and the trailers I have watched have left me feeling the same as an end of episode cliff hanger from Waking Dead or Game of Thrones. This is a good thing as Remedy games have also stated that this is part ‘hard-hitting video game, part live action show’ without anything else like this out on the market currently this really is exploring new territory in gaming. Could we be seeing the advent of new storytelling? Is it a gimmick that will prove to be fruitless? No idea, but I desperately want to find out – April can’t come quick enough for this one.

Quantum Break is penned for an April 5 release.



Another completely new game to tang a fang onto. I really like the look of it. ReCore is set on a world controlled by murderous robots out to kill you, you have to survive the mysterious world with your own robot companions at your side as you go on through the game.

The reveal trailer shows a female protagonist accompanied by a robotic dog. The dog has a glowing blue sphere at its centre. They are exploring a desert area with some ruins and broken robotics lying around. As they are exploring a group of enemy robots attack and the little dog jumps into the group and explodes leaving only ash and a glowing blue sphere. The female character takes the sphere an places it into the centre of a hulking robot lying in the ruins. The robot awakens and glows with energy. She says ‘I thought I lost you there’. “Ooooh!”, I internally squeal, “that’s why it’s called ReCore, because you move the… and then it… clever. I see what they did.”

I think it looks fun, I certainly had my curiosity peaked at the trailer and what I have now read. Lets see if it can grab some attention with what’s to come. With the makers of Metroid Prime behind it I’m sure it’ll be in the mix for this year’s GOTY but at the moment information is pretty scarce on this game, again the studio has stated that the game is ‘tried and true action adventure’ and they are combining it with ‘incredible visuals and a unique art style’ they have also made a point of saying it will be an emotionally engaging story. So maybe have a box of tissues on standby, I feel some strong feelings of loss coming for our future robot friends.

ReCore is penned for a Q2 2016 release.

Cuphead game


A hugely interesting looking title, a classic style of game but set in a very retro theme. This one is the first game from the Canadian duo, brothers; Chad and Jared Moldenhauer. What a game they have come up with. Rich got his hands on it recently at EGX and simply said ‘Super hard, Super smooth and looks stunning’ sounds great to me.

Cuphead hasn’t been without its issues, and was originally slated for a 2015 release, but an announcement from the studio apologised saying it was being pushed back to 2016. They also said that thanks to working with Microsoft they have been able to make it a lot better, through refining mechanics and pushing the art further.

Cuphead; don’t deal with the devil is about Cuphead and his brother Mugman ‘rolling the dice with the devil and losing’. They then have to go about doing his bidding. Single player or co-op, it’s a classic run and action game with big bosses that come with the style and challenges, wrapped up beautifully in 1930’s style animation. On the studio website they talk about how they actually used classic techniques when creating much of the animation, hand drawn and cell shaded. Its dedicated, and you can tell. It’s very well polished and it’s not even out yet.

A wonderful looking game that is sure to be one of this year’s gems. It’s artwork and style is seriously impressive, if you haven’t looked at any gameplay yet, the E3 video is very tasty. Certainly another candidate for time-wasting YouTube viewing.

Cuphead is due to be released sometime in 2016.


Crackdown 3

Another third person shooter, another hotly awaited title. The first game in the series on the new generation of consoles and one that was first announced in 2014 at E3.

It looks insane, a huge game that the studio has said is their ‘vision of an ultimate sandbox’. It’s been built with cloud software development, far beyond my casual end-user brain but the gist of it is this; The use of cloud computing software in the game means a 20x increase in power. This is used to model and render the entire city into a fully destructible environment. Fully. Destructible. Roof top snipers aren’t really a problem when you can just bring down the whole building they stand on. The gameplay footage looks fantastic with immense fun to be had in the multiplayer world, although they have stated that this will only be in the online world and that for single player the destruction will be limited.

Crackdown has always had that ‘Judge Dredd’ feel to it, the ‘do what ever it takes to stop the bad guys, regardless of collateral damage’, which is great because nobody wants to play the game where you get the bad guy on a technicality and he goes to prison for tax fraud. Actually maybe if it was a mobile game in a noir detective style, I might play that. Crackdown was always popular with the co-op crowd and this one will please them. It’s rumoured to be up to eight players. So, if you’re sizing up your next kingpin to take down and feel like a little help, you can call in seven buddies to back you up.

There is a hierarchical criminal empire in place, with you having to work up through the ranks by increasing your ‘hate meter’ which will bring out the higher-ups as you get their attention. Once you have their attention a boss style showdown is the next turn of events, hopefully leading to some epic battles across the destructible city, as yet it’s unconfirmed whether Pacific City will be the game’s location.

All in all it looks like Reagent and Microsoft have been working hard and it’s lining up to be one of the most exciting exclusives of the year

Crackdown 3 is penned for a Q2/Q3 2016 release.



 A large RPG game, third person, set in a fantasy world of dragons. But, not all is as you would think. Yes, there are dudes in shiny plate armour, yes you have a big bad ass sword and yes there are huge dragon style monsters which you fight with. This time however one of the Dragons is your buddy, let’s just get the title play out-of-the-way, you are Scalebound to him. You also rock a funky pair of headphones for your banging tunes yo!

Set in the realm of Draconis, you (Drew) and your bound dragon buddy (Thuban) have been thrown together by fate (ooh, that’s ominous) and must battle through the hostile world to defeat the enemies threatening the realm. Hideki kamiya (Direcor, Scalebound) has said he wants players to know they have a powerful ally by their side and that Thuban is there to help out when times get rough. The combat system is built to reflect this with your powers and technique developing over time as the game progresses. Thuban gets armour and customisation options that lean towards your style of play. Drew gets his own special ability to keep him useful in your massive monster fights, he gets ‘Dragon form’ which allows him a set of dragon scale armour and makes him incredibly powerful. He also has a dragon arm, which acts as a quick guide to your bond with Thurban (I’m presuming a pip boy style thing here) as well as all of this there is an array of weapons to choose from, bows, longswords etc. are all in play but despite having a futuristic set of headphones there is no sign of any machine guns to play with.

The gameplay trailers look slick with lush graphics and smooth looking movement during combat. The game isn’t a standard ‘build a hero save the empire RPG’, which is a good thing. The type of enemy, especially the bosses, makes it more God of War than Skyrim. Another big release for Xbox that differs from the large array of gunplay currently on Xbox one.

Scalebound is penned for a Q4 2016 release.


Gears of War 4

At E3 2015 the coalition announced through its Studio Head Rod Fergusson that it will be releasing Gears of War 4 later this year. This is a much awaited title for fans, a new story from a new studio. Epic wrapped up the Markus and crew storyline neatly with Gears 3; war over, personal issues concluded, peace returned and bad guys dead.

So, what do we know? The game is set as a direct sequel to the events of Gears of War 3. It has new characters, well at least two anyway. JD (male) and Kait (female) and it’s likely that there will be more to come. The Lambent and Locust have been chewed up and spat out by the Coalition so we have a new enemy, hinted at during the E3 demo, through showing a new monster not before encountered. It’s unclear if this is just a monster or part of a larger force, either way, it was clear that it will be a new fight.

The fifth game in the Gears series, fans are anxious to know what’s coming, The Coalition and Microsoft are keeping info tight on this one but a new story to work with and a new generation of consoles mean there is a lot of potential. We may see second screen play. Hopefully more than just a companion map there could be involved play as seen in battlefield (commander mode) and proposed by The Division (tablet control of an in-game drone). From a game that did very well on co-op play in the past, it’s not a stretch to see this as a possibility.

More guns! One of my favourite gaming weapons has come from the series (the Longbow) but after five games there is definitely room for a few extra little toys, after all who doesn’t want a new shooty stick? Throw the devs a quick 50 under the table and let’s have some new cannons.

Most of all though, I want this game to grab me in the same way the first Gears of War did, it was hard up action that kept the controller in my hand from beginning to end. I want Gears 4 to grab me by the face and scream “GEARS IS BACK” at ear rupturing volume as I jibber in awe at the immensity of the game laid before me… ok, but it better be the best damn Gears yet. So, no pressure Rod if your reading this. (he’s not reading this).

Gears of War 4 is penned for a Holiday Q4 2016 release.


Now that’s one heck of a line up, and a great year of gaming to come! There’s plenty of other fantastic looking titles coming up this year too, and I think it’s plain to see that under Phil Spencer, Microsoft have taken a good turn from the dismal launch and initial announcement of Xbox One. We now have some serious games coming and the changes to the UI of the console have been great.

So with the start of 2016 we see an improved Xbox One with a bright future in front of it. Or you know, some other warm fuzzy and inspiring stuff. Whatever. I’m going to play games.

EGX 2015: Cuphead impressions

What a fantastic title Cuphead is going to be. The stylish 1930s animation inspired platformer is hard as nails, but it’s cutesy animation and humor is irresistible. It’s Itchy and Scratchy meets the original Popeye cartoons. Funny and very heart warming, but don’t let this trick you or take away your attention, because the action will swiftly kick you hard should you not give the game the respect it deserves.


Cuphead has a super smooth frame rate allowing the gorgeous visuals and subtle 30s animation filter to wrap the whole experience in something I wanted to pick up and hug – it’s going to be a huge hit in 2016 and I will be shocked if it doesn’t feature highly on people’s GOTY lists.