Recently, we published our review of the stellar Cuphead, the challenging yet rewarding 2-D platforming shooter from StudioMDHR. We gave it an 8.5, because we’re rather fond of it. It might be tough, but success never felt quite so satisfying. But success doesn’t always come naturally in the world of Cuphead. Sometimes you need some help to guide you through. With that in mind, here are 6 essential tips that’ll guide you through the game’s many trials and tribulations.
Perfect Those Parries
One of the more unique aspects of Cuphead’s combat is the ability to parry. Pressing jump whilst in the air will perform a parry, which will neutralise any pink projectile pursuing our porcelain protagonist. Yes, there was more “P” in that sentence than an old folk’s home.
Anyway, learning how to parry is important for three reasons. Firstly, the Mausoleum missions require you to parry ghosts in order to protect an urn, and completing those grants you super attacks. Secondly, parrying grants you one of the five bars required to perform said super attack, allowing you to do massive damage to the boss, or become invulnerable for a few seconds. Lastly, many late game levels and bosses require parrying as part of the structure of the level. Without mastering it, you won’t be able to finish the game. It’s that simple.
Coins Rule Everything Around Me
The main purpose of the game is to obtain soul contracts for the Devil, which you do by defeating over a dozen bosses. The run and gun levels are optional, in the sense that you’d be making the game much harder for yourself if you don’t do them.
These levels give coins which can be spent in the shop on new charms, which offer various buffs, and new weapons. All 6 run and gun level have 5 coins, so make sure you don’t move on without completing them fully, as it will help you out immeasurably in the long run. Also, be sure to search the hub worlds fully. The last 10 coins needed to buy everything in Porkrind’s shop can be found in these areas.
Experiment With Your Loadout
Now that you’re flush with coins and have cleared out Porkrind’s shop, this next piece of advice comes naturally: don’t be afraid to experiment with your loadout. Whilst the Spread Gun is one of the most damaging weapons in the game, you won’t always find yourself in close range engagements. If you struggle with platforming, take the extra hit point buff or the Chaser Weapon. Your standard Peashooter is reliable enough in all situations, but a good second weapon doesn’t go amiss. Different players will swear by different strategies, so just find the one that works best for you.
The Lock Is Your Friend
One of Cuphead’s key abilities is the lock. Essentially, Cuphead plants his feet on the ground and you use the left stick to aim his shots. This ability is a lifesaver in certain battles, where the enemy doesn’t necessarily move horizontally. When used in close range with the Spread weapon, the damage capability is ridiculous. Its usage does come with a warning, however. All too often when using the lock feature, I’d press jump whilst aiming down and fall through the platform. If you need to move from your current position whilst using Lock, make sure you stop aiming beforehand.
Change Those Bloody Controls
A lot of people have already given this tip or mentioned it in their reviews, including ours, so we won’t dwell too much on it, but the tip speaks for itself. The default controls, which has all the key controls on the face buttons, are crap, and need changing. Just like experimenting with loadouts, different players will have different control schemes that work for them. Mapping shoot to the right trigger and dash to the left trigger helped me immensely.
Tips from an independent source are great and all, but they’ll only take you so far in the world of Cuphead. It’s ultimately down to you to practice each boss, memorise the patterns and, at the end of it all, kick the Devil’s ass. It won’t be easy, and you will probably die a lot. Those YouTube videos where some guy beats all the bosses flawlessly with a DDR mat make the game look easy, but it takes practice. Don’t be discouraged by failure, keep going. I believe in you.