Cuphead Review: 6 Ups & 4 Downs

1. There's An Argument To Be Made For Mis-Marketing

Cuphead game
Studio MDHR

As the industry continues to pick apart the ramifications of a game so controller-shatteringly hard it belongs in the 1980s, there are a number of think-pieces emerging as to what's 'right' and 'wrong' when it comes to evoking stress in the player.

Outside of the fact that difficulty was born in arcades or through the primitive restrictions of early game design (challenge = longevity), nowhere in Cuphead's marketing is it communicated that underneath the cuddly, gorgeous and loveable exterior is something that challenges the Mega Mans and Super Meat Boys of the world as one of the hardest titles in history.

Personally I'd love it if we had a difficulty warning alongside age ratings on storefronts, rather like how many films will have an "Includes explicit scenes" disclaimer. Because both the PS4 and Xbox One are yet to offer refunds if you're unhappy with your purchase, there is a harsh reality to realising the game you've just dropped money on isn't anything close to what you think.

Honestly, what do you do if you literally don't have the mental capacity to surmount the notably hard challenge ahead?

With Cuphead and difficulty in general, yes reviewers and articles online can comment on how bad or cheap it feels, but it's a sensation you won't fully grasp until you've explored your own limits for this style of game design.

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Gaming Editor
Gaming Editor

Gaming Editor at WhatCulture. From wielding shovels to resting at bonfires, fighting evil clones to brewing decoctions, this is one hell of a fun industry to pick apart.

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