A Brawl is Surely Brewing!

Cuphead brings back old styles in more ways than one


Photo by Sam Klemme

Cuphead and Mugman stand tall on the title screen

Sam Klemme, Entertainment Editor

Take a trip back to the 1930s when Disney was just making itself a name in mainstream entertainment with Steamboat Willie, the third appearance of Mickey Mouse along with the famous clip of him whistling at the wheel of a boat. Now you can take control of one of these characters in Studio MDHR’s game “Cuphead.”

This game takes place on the Isle of Inwell where are two adventurers, Cuphead and Mugman, have wandered a bit too far off the beaten path. They find themselves in trouble and call for help from their

The theme of the second world is “carnival”

caretaker, elder kettle. They are given magic powers and are sent off to make quick work of the various enemies of the land. Cuphead and mugman are both characters that have cups for heads with straws coming out the top. Then from the bottom down they look like any cartoon character with shorts, gloves and the shoes. When they are given their powers, they are able to shoot out of their fingers. What they are shooting, beats me. It’s just simply “magic.”

The style the creators, Chad and Jared Moldenhaur, chose to portray is that of a 1930s cartoon, and it looks really accurate. They based the art off of Disney’s early works; this style stands out from so many others because it was hand drawn. It is not a very common choice done by most video game studios because making graphics on a computer just comes so much easier than a paper. Along with this artistic choice they

Photo by Sam Klemme
Cagney Carnation dances along to the beat as he fights

also used a very surreal and subversive feel that commonly seen from Fleischback studios. This touch makes the experience strange and exciting.

The jazz music that accompanies cuphead in the game is amazing. Every fight has its own unique score; they really pump up the player for the fight. They all have a brass section and a fast beat making the repetition of the game fun. The music can also be nice at times as well. The overworld has a catchy tune that always fits the theme perfectly. It creates a stark contrast from the upbeat nature of the music in levels.

The overworld is the area the player chooses the levels. Each world has its own theme and levels follow that theme for the most part. For example, the first world is a forest and some of the bosses in those levels are plants and insects. They each have their own quirky characters there to give advise and provide help to cuphead on his journey.

The game is made of two types of levels: boss fights and run and guns. The majority of this game is made up of boss fights and the boss needs to be finished off to advance to the next area. These bosses all have different techniques and styles that need to be accounted for. Some fights will have the players taking a plane and fighting in the air while most will be fought on ground. Each boss has several phases with different attacks. The run and gun levels are optional, but highly recommended. They contain coins that the player can get to buy different attacks or various other aids for different levels.

Something to note while playing this game: it will be difficult. There were many times when I had to just give it a rest and turn the game off. It was made to fit the difficulty most retro games are notorious for; the game is made for you to fail. The losses will add up, but they help you learn what to do for the fight so you can make corrections and hopefully beat it after a bit of practice.

Photo by Sam Klemme
The Phantom Train taunts a loss

After a death eventually happens a card will come down from the top of the screen showing you how close (or far) you were from finishing and along with it is a little rhyme or pun from the boss taunting you on your failure.

In summary, This game is a great time. It has a focus on gameplay over plot that most companies fail to do nowadays. The care and design of each little aspect of the game shows that they tried to put effort into the game rather than making it for a quick cash grab. I will say though, in the words of the barbershop pole barbershop quartet “take a break.” In some situations repetition helps, but after too many times it just becomes frustrating. I would recommend it, and with an only 20 dollar price tag on it, Cuphead is a game to remember.

Sam Klemme

Sam joined the Flightline in January of 2017. He is a senior this year, involved in choir, theater and cross country. Outside of school, he sings to himself and sits in his basement. You can email him at [email protected]