Cuphead

A brutal game that's equal parts frustrating and exhilarating, delivered in the mesmerising style of a prohibition-era cartoon.

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Cuphead on Switch is a stunning conversion

Previously a console exclusive for Xbox One, Studio MDHR's Cuphead is now available on Switch and speaking as a big fan of the game, I highly recommend it! In fact, the port to Nintendo's hybrid is nigh-on flawless - indistinguishable from Xbox on a living room display and with the added bonus of portable play that holds up beautifully for gaming on the go. Put simply, it's a lovingly crafted, zero compromise port that exceeds expectations.

And it's worth remembering what makes Cuphead so special in the first place. It combines classic retro-style shooting gameplay with an absolutely unique 30s cartoon aesthetic. Traditionally drawn and animated characters mix it up with water-coloured painted backdrops that scroll independently for a cool parallax look. Studio MDHR adds an extra layer of authenticity to the visuals by using a distinct range of post-processing effects that help to sell the impression of the action taking place on aged film stock, displayed through the lens of an old projector. Taken as a whole, Cuphead is the closest we've seen to an interactive cartoon in this generation.

Back in the day, the developers started out by using the now-obsolete XNA framework, before taking the decision to move onto Unity as the engine of choice. It's a technology that's delivered uneven results - even in predominantly 2D-based games - but polish and performance on the original Xbox One and PC versions was second to none. We even managed to play the game smoothly on an old Dell XPS 13 with integrated graphics. With that in mind, it should come as no surprise that the Switch conversion is just as good.

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Cuphead is coming to Switch next month

UPDATE: Xbox Live features coming via post-launch update.

UPDATE 21/3/19: The Nintendo Switch version of Cuphead will receive its Xbox Live integration via a post-launch update, Microsoft has said.

Cuphead sells over 3m copies

Cuphead sells over 3m copies

It's a knockout!

It's been nearly a year since Cuphead's release, and in that time lots of people have found the game to be just their cup of tea. Three million people, in fact.

In a blog post, developer Studio MDHR announced it has shifted an incredible three million copies in the 10 months since Cuphead's launch. To celebrate this achievement, the game is on sale on Xbox and Steam - so if you haven't yet put yourself through the pain of a Cuphead boss battle, you can now do it at a discount.

The run and gun game, which was praised for its unique hand-painted 1930s style animations, originally sold over 1m units in its first two weeks - so this latest update is perhaps unsurprising. This also isn't the last we'll see of the game, as a new DLC for Cuphead called The Delicious Last Course is due to be released in 2019 - although the exact date is yet to be confirmed. The DLC will introduce a brand new playable character called Ms. Chalice, who looks like the sassiest cup I ever did see.

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Cuphead has sold over 1 million copies in the two weeks since it launched

In the two weeks since it launched on PC and Xbox One, gloriously fiendish run-and-gunner Cuphead has sold over one million copies, developer Studio MDHR has announced.

"Cuphead has only been out for two weeks and we never could have dreamed of the reception we've received from our amazing fans", the developer said in a post earlier today. "We wanted to take a moment to thank each and every one of you for your support and we're excited to share that Cuphead has gone platinum with over 1 million units sold!"

Cuphead's impressive sales milestone places it in the relatively exclusive ranks of other million-plus-selling indie hits, such as Rocket League, Stardew Valley, Undertale, Super Meat Boy, Prison Architect, Braid, Don't Starve, and Minecraft. Not bad company to keep at all.

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Retro gameplay meets vintage aesthetics in what is, for our money, a dream combination. With a sense of style and flair that we've never really seen before, Cuphead manages to combine unique audio-visuals with classic gaming action in an exceptionally cool, cohesive package. Controversy surrounds aspects of its gameplay, but after a week of play, we're converted: in an age of me-too software, Cuphead stands apart from the pack. We've played the game on Xbox One and PC, and while the UWP Windows Store code has frustrating issues, the console and Steam releases come highly recommended.

Not sure if you have heard, but Cuphead is apparently pretty difficult to play. So why not have a bit of fun with it instead? That's certainly what speedrunner PeekyBoo has done, beating every boss in the game using only a Dance Dance Revolution mat.

Cuphead fans are making a mockery of its difficulty

See all 28 bosses defeated, no damage taken.

When Studio MDHR's marvellously frantic toon shooter Cuphead finally released on Xbox One and PC last Friday, two things immediately became clear: it's a truly beautiful piece of work, exquisitely nailing its 1930s cartoon aesthetic, and it's hilariously difficult to boot.

Cuphead review

Cuphead review

Hanna-Barbaric.

In the 1930s, employees at Universal Studio Cartoons devised a game to interrupt the bow-backed routine of inking cels and preparing animation frames. The men would work rubber bands and clumps of spit-mulched paper into spongy balls, hide them on their laps and, at an opportune moment, hurl the missile at the back of an unsuspecting colleague's head. A direct hit would be marked with a "bullseye!" that victory cry familiar to boisterous classrooms and offices everywhere, before everyone returned to their busywork, newly invigorated by the emotions of exhilaration, anguish and playful resentment now settling in the room.

Cuphead

Developer: Studio MDHR

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Cuphead finally has a release date

Cuphead finally has a release date

Tea'd up for autumn.

Classic cartoon platformer Cuphead has, at long last, got a release date.

It's due 29th September on Xbox One and Windows 10. Microsoft just showed a spanking new trailer during its Xbox E3 2017 press briefing - watch it below.

It's about time!

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The ID@Xbox self-publishing program might be Xbox One's crowning glory at the time of writing, boasting 450 titles that have notched up well over a billion hours of play, but it could do with a crown jewel. The service has seen its share of critical darlings, from Superhot to Inside, but many of its best games are multiplatform, and many of its "exclusives" appear on PCs as well - part of a much-vaunted push towards device agnosticism that often feels like it's more in the service of Windows 10 than Xbox.

Watch: 11 minutes of Cuphead demo gameplay

VideoWatch: 11 minutes of Cuphead demo gameplay

Featuring platforming sections and boss battles.

Yesterday was the hottest day of the year in the UK and I chose that day to travel to London. It was sweaty, crowded and my train's air conditioning was bust, making the whole trip pretty tough. Still, on the plus side I did manage to capture a Snorlax in Euston Station.

But - to get back on track - do you know what else is tough? Cuphead. Cuphead is tough as old boots and it took me a fair few tries before I managed to best the first level of the demo I played.

In the video below you'll be able to watch gameplay taken directly from the demo build, but I've cleverly edited out all the retries and loading screens to give you MAXIMUM GAMEPLAY (which also helps to make me look less rubbish).

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FeatureThe E3 Bulletin: Friday

Yosp! Metroid! Cuphead! And that's a wrap!

This week we've posted daily updates rounding up the news from E3. Previously: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday.