Over the years, independent developers seem to have surpassed mainstream developers when it comes to video games. They also have a taste for being quite sadomasochistic to their fan base too. Case and point: Cuphead is the challenging indie video game masochistic players want as it combines 1930s cartoons with bullet hell.
According to the official website for Cuphead (full title being Cuphead in “Don’t Deal With the Devil”), the independent video game is a classic run-and-gun action game heavily focused on boss battles. Taking inspiration from the 1930s, the visuals and audios are created with the same techniques first introduced during that era. Ergo, everything is created with traditional animation on watercolor backgrounds and jazz music playing. In short, everything is hand drawn and hand inked.
Players take on the role of Cuphead. He, along with Mugman, are sent out to the world to take on bosses that the devil orders them to take out. These bosses are extremely tough and if Cuphead and Mugman want to survive, they’ll need to acquire new weapons, learn powerful super moves, and discover hidden secrets to complete the task the devil has assigned them.
Apparently, Studio MDHR, the independent video game developer working on Cuphead, did not lie when they said everything was “hand drawn and hand inked.” Early gaming footage and screenshots show just how authentic the game looks and sounds to the 1930s. First off, the quality of the visuals looks like 1930s cartoons. Top off the fact the games’ setting and character design is very similar to 1930s cartoons too, it is like a nostalgic flashback for those who were able to watch them in the 90s. To be frank, the pirate boss (image attached above) looks like a mix of Bluto from the Popeye cartoon and Pete from Disney cartoons.
As for the boss fights themselves, they are all unique and very difficult. Reports claim there will be more than 30 bosses in the game and they all have their own format and patterns one must learn to defeat them. However, they all seem to utilize the bullet hell concept of gaming. For those who do not know what bullet hell is, look up games like Gunvolt or Capcom classic top-down warplane shooters, 1941, 1942, and 1943.
Gamers cannot wait for Cuphead. As a matter of fact, it is considered one of the most interesting games to be revealed at Microsoft’s press conference, two years ago back in E3 2014. According to a written article by Polygon at the time, it reports that everyone in their press room reacted in some way when the brief moments of gameplay Cuphead had to offer. They also state that the idea of aping the look of classic animation for a modern game is inspired.
For the longest time, Cuphead was constantly pushed back pertaining to its release on both Xbox One and Steam. However, it seems that its current release date is fixed and ready to go as it will release sometime before this year is over (unless Studio MDHR says otherwise). Ultimately, though, gamers should understand why it is taking so long since everything is “hand drawn and hand inked.” Also, gamers are now understanding of delays. As long as said delays produce a quality game worth their time, it would have been worth the wait.
[Featured Image by Studio MDHR]