Cuphead: The Indie title that stole E3 (and my heart)
With what was- for me- a lacklustre showing at E3 this year, MDHR Studio’s indie title Cuphead (announced during Microsoft’s E3 press conference) transported me back to my childhood and instantly captured my imagination.
Described as a run ‘n’ gun and fighting game hybrid, Cuphead has been in development since 2010 by the small five-man development team at Canadian MDHR Studio. Not to be released till 2015; this Xbox One and Steam exclusive combines the animation style of 1930’s cartoons-complete with Jazz accompaniment- with 2D shooters from the 16-bit era of gaming, with the developers themselves citing Kenji inafune’s Mega Man and the Contra series as influences.
The beautifully detailed hand drawn aesthetic- with slightly washed out Backgrounds and lo-fi monitor scan lines to recreate the appearance of a cathode ray tube television-instantly brings to mind cartoons like Popeye and Bettie Boop. While the games playable over-world is a nod to classic Nintendo games like Super Mario World and The legend of Zelda, the sidescrolling gameplay is more of a boss-rush than in the traditional run ‘n’ gun style. Foregoing the classic grunts to focus on 1 on 1 fights.
You can watch the E3 trailer for the game here and while I still have questions about the validity of the gameplay and whether the focus on boss fights could lead to fatigue (even with the addition of platforming and Shmup levels), this title is already one of my most anticipated of 2015.