Nobody can ignore this game, nobody can move past this game, and nobody can stop waiting for it!! We’ve got a tale for you guys. Once upon a time, a guy (we’ll call him K) asked another guy (J) t...

Nobody can ignore this game, nobody can move past this game, and nobody can stop waiting for it!!

We’ve got a tale for you guys. Once upon a time, a guy (we’ll call him K) asked another guy (J) to explain to him how a cute little cartoon-y character of a girl, who looked adorable beyond all means, could turn out to be this fiendishly dangerous death-dealing frightening person, in concept. K could never visualise it, nor did he understand how that would ever translate properly in any media unless it was absolutely forced out, which would just defeat the purpose greatly. K never took J seriously, thinking it was but a fantasy that required fulfilling, with no real merit to it, even after there was artwork involved, giving K something to help visualize there.

Years passed, the conversation was forgotten, until K saw a game called ‘Cuphead’, at E3 2015, and realized that two brothers had devoted their entire lives, their careers, to do just that. They created a game that you’ll fall in love with immediately, because they clearly loved making it to the point where it bordered on insanity, but the genius of it was lost on you until you played the game, and realized that you fell in love with a monster. The game is a monster; it is an assault on all of your senses, forged from the deep, clawing on all the cartoony goodness from the past in a way that could only be achieved far into the future. And you’ll love it. You’ll love it like nothing you’ve loved before. You’ve fallen in love with a monster, and there’s nothing you can do about it, except stay giddy, and keep playing the game. When it comes out…

Ah, yes, now you realize why nobody can stop waiting for this game, why nobody can ignore it, why nobody can get past it! Now we laugh, at you, with you – together really, because it is a hunger we know all too well.

Cuphead is a run and gun arcade shooter style indie game that pulls you back into the early 1930s world of grainy animation and smooth up-tempo jazz-radio music in such an authentic manner that it’ll take you a while to get past the beauty of how it was done. There are learn-able attack patterns, which you’ll have to unlearn and relearn because there’s always more happening. You see your vision obscured, you find yourself attacked by sharks, you need to manage several moves in quick succession before you get to your red bar to execute a special move that’s required to deal a blow of some significance to the one person that can make it stop – the boss.

Cuphead is boss battle after boss battle after boss battle – that is essentially the design of it. It is an arcade game, it is Contra, except it was made by people who loved those games, and know how to make them better, or worse, depending on how you view them. The bosses mesmerise you as a wave of nostalgia washes over, and then quickly start a flogging that never gives you enough time to do what you want, which is to just sit and stare for a while.

Plus, it’s a beating in more ways than you can know, each time involving something more that you hadn’t taken note of before. That bag that they’re pulling things out of goes deep, and all the while they keep distracting you with everything that clearly reminds you of when we still had Fleischer Studios, and Betty Boop, Bimbo, Popeye, Bluto, and Koko. Also, the game is never still, because at every point the character(s) on screen are engaging the viewers’ (we mean, players’) attention by doing something or the other, constantly. There are 30 levels of this to be had, and like other titles, more DLCs to come over time, giving you additional levels, 10 or 15 whenever next after release (which is in 2016).

The entire game is hand drawn. Chad and Jared Moldenhauer worked on the games from their respective homes, and wanted to begin the project in early 2000, but couldn’t because they lacked the tools at that point. Then came Super Meat Boy, which made them realize they can start again, and made us realize how much they like the same stuff we do, by aesthetic and design. All the animation is hand drawn, all the backgrounds painted the same way, the only liberty taken here being that they photoshopped some colour into their stills. Chad and Jared quit their full time jobs, mortgaged their homes out, and just went after what they truly wanted to do, which was to make this game. And looking at what they’ve done, what a labour of love it is, indeed.

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