A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
There are messages about the value of redemption. Also, young characters face consequences for disobedience.
Positive Role Models
The game's heroes are disobedient kids who redeem themselves and others through violence.
Ease of Play
Thumb-numbingly hard platforming levels and boss battles. While the game's simple to learn, the two difficulty levels are extremely challenging, even on the "easier" option. Multiple replays are required to successfully pass each stage, with more needed to get the best score on these levels.
Violence & Scariness
The game features frequent comic cartoon violence. No blood or gore's shown, but some bosses are scary-looking.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
There are some references to gambling, alcohol, and smoking scattered throughout the game.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Cuphead is an action platformer available for download on the Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and Windows PCs. The game is based on the surreal cartoons of the 1930s, and casts players as two young kids with cups for heads that have to collect souls for the Devil after losing their own in a Casino. While the focus of the game is violence against other figures in this animated world, it's all shown to be the silly cartoon variety with no blood or gore shown. There are some scenes of gambling and mild references to alcohol and smoking. Players should also know that the game is incredibly difficult, which could frustrate players. Even in the "easiest" setting, players will find their skills highly challenged by the split second timing required to survive some stages.
Is It Any Good?
This is, visually speaking, the most unique game made in years. Done in a graphic style that emulates the hand-drawn animation of the Max Fleischer studio of the 1930s, Cuphead is far and away one of the most beautiful games you'll ever lay eyes on. It's also one of the most maddening. Developer StudioMDHR Entertainment said they meant for it to be a challenge, and boy, did they succeed. Hearkening back to classic arcade run-and-gun action games, Cuphead is a string of merciless boss battles. Don't expect boring bosses here; you'll be fighting things like frogs, zeppelins, mermaids, boats, and candy houses, all to a swinging Jazz Age soundtrack. The fights, like everything else in the game, are packed with creativity and personality. It's a good thing, too, because without its stratospheric level of visual and audio appeal, Cuphead would alienate all but the most determined players. Impressively, the Switch version has been optimized to run just as well as the Xbox One and Windows PC versions, which is an amazing technical feat. In fact, some levels load as fast or slightly faster on the Switch than the more powerful systems.
Winning fights takes near endless patience, not to mention savant-level reflexes. And if you're thinking two-player co-op makes things easier, you're wrong. Two players on screen only doubles the chaos. Still, the most skilled and patient gamers get the glory, the unlockable color modes (two-tone and black-&-white) and the right to say they beat the game. The rest of us, well ... we get a taste of cool retro fun.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.