Game review: Cuphead on Switch is the first ever Nintendo and Microsoft team-up

Mechanically the game works perfectly, with responsive and reliable controls, although we did keep imagining that a good arcade joystick would be the preferred control system. But that may just have been one of the many excuses we made to ourselves when we keep dying. This is a viscously difficult game and there’s no pretending that’s not going to greatly frustrate many players. There is an easier difficultly setting but even that is very difficult, and using it doesn’t unlock the final boss fight.

It’s not as if playing it with a friend helps much either, as on just a single screen the other player often becomes an unwanted distraction. All that said, playing the game did result in us uttering the fateful phrase ‘just one more go’ more times than almost any other game this decade, and that’s always a good sign.

But we can’t help wishing that Cuphead hadn’t been quite so ruthless in its difficulty, as it seems entirely unnecessary given how intrinsically fun the experience is and how reasonable its pricing is for the amount of content. Especially as our only other real complaint is the understated sound design for your bullets, which are much too quiet. It may seem a small point but it undermines an important part of the overall sensory experience, and makes it difficult to tell how much damage you’re doing.

There are no new features for the Switch version, although as usual any co-op game with simple controls is very well suited to the console. The port is extremely good, with a solid frame rate, and you also get the benefit of two years’ worth of patches, including a major one this week for all versions of the game that adds fully animated cut scenes, the chance to play as Mugman in single-player, and lots of new animations.

We have no idea what developer StudioMDHR is going to do after this, but Cuphead is a stunning artistic achievement. It also shows how much a creative team can achieve with minimal help and budget, even if those same people seem determined to make life difficult for themselves and everyone else.


In Short: A stunning work of imagination, with a collection of high quality boss battles to rival any other in gaming – and a difficultly level that’s equally hard to beat.

Pros: Incredible visual design and equally impressive, and varied, boss mechanics. Period perfect presentation and music, and a significant amount of content for the price.

Cons: Sky high difficulty will be overwhelming for many, and the two-player co-op doesn’t help much. Weak sound effects.

Score: 8/10

Formats: Nintendo Switch (reviewed), Xbox One, and PC
Price: £16.99
Publisher: StudioMDHR
Developer: StudioMDHR
Release Date: 18th April 2019
Age Rating: 7

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