Cuphead (PlayStation 4) Review

By Luke Hemming 28.08.2021

Review for Cuphead on PlayStation 4

With the reinvigoration of the 2D platforming genre thanks in most part to the excellent indie titles doing the rounds on various platforms, gamers are clamouring for as much run 'n' gun action as they can get. Often with a retro aesthetic, these titles are a joyful re-introduction with simple to grasp controls and a progression that stimulates those gratification centres of the brain. Cuphead takes retro to a whole new level, as well as throwing the rulebook of difficulty against the wall, smashing it as harshly as a china cup itself.

For those not sampling a taste so far, brothers Cuphead and Mugman head out to put right a deal with the devil through running and gunning over twenty or so levels of gorgeous '30s art style and platforming. It's the art style that piqued interest at its first release, and even with no previous knowledge, most gamers are familiar with what Cuphead brings to the drawing table. Creatively, there isn't a design in the game that isn't a sight to behold, from Genies, Cupids, to killer Carrots, all so beautifully crafted its nigh on impossible to not be distracted by them.

Distraction is the true enemy however, with a game that requires complete concentration at all times. Its clear from the outset that platforming requires Jedi levels of concentration and patience. Drawing on classic titles such as Contra and Gunstar Heroes, all manner of beastie floods the screen from the outset, requiring pin point precision and a sellotaping (other tapes are available) of the thumb to the fire button. Attacks from all sides are a regular occurrence, and very quickly a clear strategy emerges of careful space clearance then a quick moving hop forward of a few inches. Once mastered it's immensely satisfying to nimbly move between encounters while seeing off as many atrocities as possible. This feat of miraculous momentum is greatly increased by an aerial parry allowing Cuphead and his sibling to bounce off any pink coloured object or projectile, granting a second of invincibility and a speedy dash.

Screenshot for Cuphead on PlayStation 4

In the case of not being blessed with an abundance of… midichlorians, abilities such as an improved charge shot, more powerful bullets and health boosts can be equipped before starting any level. These are the keys to completion, with each level or boss battle throwing a new challenge or attack pattern that is subsequently squashed by careful choice of ability - and then comes the sticky wicket that will be the sole decider on whether or not this gets added to your collection, the difficulty.

Cuphead is ridiculously difficult in terms of a run and gun, and even the slightest slip up will quickly result in a short and sharp death. To balance this reloads are practically instantaneous, so the sadomasochists amongst you can quickly sprint and jump back in hopefully with a new and improved knowledge of how to reach that exit unscathed. Although never unfair, there is going to be a lot of trial-and-error before getting to see those end credits, which could easily be off-putting for some.

No matter how hard this might be, however, the presentation here is so mind bogglingly cool that no matter the death count, replays keep occurring (oh!). Every pixel on the screen is brimming with hand drawn personality, backed with an equally excellent soundtrack, evoking the ragtime era of the cartoons they were paired with. With the choice of character and level design on a pre-modern era, graphically all aspects remain timeless.

Screenshot for Cuphead on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

With such a well-respected and well-known title such as Cuphead, there really isn't a lot that can be said for the PS4 port that hasn't already been stated since its original release in 2017. A fiendishly difficult platformer with a great soundtrack and beautiful level design and aesthetics awaits any gamer that loves a challenge, and is happy to put the hours in. Sit in a darkened room, avoid any and all of those pesky real-world interruptions, and take on a telepathic giant carrot. Ace.






Run and Gun



C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


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