Cuphead, Studio MDHR's debut game, began development in 2010 but wasn't released until this year (to no small success). It features an art style similar to Ub Iwerks and Grim Natwick complemented by the run-and-gun style gameplay one would see in the likes of 'Megaman.' This is a charming combination, but is it worth a seven-year wait?

'The Dark Souls of 2D Platformers?'

The game was hailed as taking the brutal, but fair, difficulty of 'Dark Souls' to the 2D platformer genre. The primary issue with this claim is that, despite there being a small amount of platforming within the boss battles, the platforming is remarkably scarce.

The game consists of overworlds where the player can select bosses or platforming levels to play, but the platforming levels are few and far between, only consisting of two per isle (the in-game equivalent of the more traditional "worlds"). The bosses consist of surreal and often anthropomorphized characters with very specific patterns. When one learns the patters, the game becomes much easier but still very engaging. The difficulty of the bosses does support the claim of the game being like 'Dark Souls," but that is where the comparison ends.

Emulating early animation

The game boasts impressive detail to a style reminiscent of early Disney Studios or, even more strongly, Fleischer Studios. The art is a gorgeous combination of hand-drawn characters (colorized in Photoshop) and watercolor backgrounds.

The animation is surreal, but remarkably smooth, the bosses of transitioning from form to very different form. The final touch is an overlaying screen effect that emulates a film reel. The only infidelity from the source is the game running at a smooth 60 frames per second instead of the traditional 24.

How is it?

The game couples a gorgeous art-style with very engaging gameplay.

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With the addition of a minor upgrade system, 'Cuphead' comes together as a remarkably solid game. The brief loading times allow the player to get back in the game to beat at the brick wall, chipping it little by little. No boss feels unfair and the progression from cluelessness to victory is more satisfying than most games are able to offer.

'Cuphead offers a pleasant combination of the run-and-gun, bullet hell, and platformer genres. Fans of 'Bendy and the Ink Machine,' 'Betty Boop,' and 'Megaman' alike will enjoy this game, given they don't mind a rather steep learning curve.