Cuphead impressions: This game is really hard – and I suck at it

Cuphead (Xbox One, PC)

Playing Cuphead, a game with a Steamboat Willie-esque art style that is just delightful to look at, has caused me to come to two conclusions: The game is really, really, really hard  and I suck at games like this.

Cuphead is hard, devastatingly so and I’ve come to the conclusion quite quickly that as a 40-something ageing gamer with failing eyesight and fingers that aren’t quite as responsive as they were in my 20s, this isn’t a game for me. I mean, I died several times while trying to beat one of the game’s very first bosses: A giant potato that pops out of the ground (I’m in awe of players who have completed the game without a single death. What type of sorcery are they using to do that?)

Another one of the early bosses is a bouncing blue ball.  I don’t know what the other 26 bosses are: I haven’t got past the giant potato or bouncing blue ball yet. Mark my words: Cuphead could well be a game that is responsible for an increase in Xbox One controller sales.

Inspired by cartoons of the 1930s, Cuphead is all about the boss battles and tells the tale of titular Cuphead and his brother Mugman after they make a pact with the devil to spare their souls (after their luck fails them in the devil’s casino) if they collect all the debtors on Inkwell Isle that owe their souls to the devil.

I handled the tutorial for Cuphead easily and it’s clear that the parry move is a crucial armament in Cuphead’s arsenal, as well as dashing and firing a variety of weapons at enemies. No matter how I tried during the game, though, I just couldn’t parry enemy projectiles, causing me to die again and again and again and again. I contemplated actually doing a livestream of some of the gameplay but then decided you wouldn’t want to see “You Died” constantly on the screen (You wouldn’t, right?).

I’ve put Cuphead to one side for the time being as every time I’ve picked it up I’ve got frustrated after dying numerous times fighting the giant potato then switched it off and returned to Yakuza Kiwami.

Maybe the developers will eventually release a patch that makes the game easier for old gamers like me with fingers that aren’t quite as responsive as they used to be. Surely, I’m not alone.


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