So yeah, I do enjoy platformers a lot. And it is a very interesting genre, catering to nostalgic feeling of games style and games difficulty. If you know the feeling of finally making that one jump, that you tried for 20 times before, perfectly... No matter what game it is, you know that feeling of satisfaction. But here is the game that went one step further. It not only gives us fast-paced but nostalgic gameplay and old-school difficulty, but it also presents art-style tapping into old animation nostalgia.
So, what's the premise? Not that it matters, but 2 boys with cups instead of heads - Cuphead and Mugman - went to a casino, rolled the dice and totally accidentally lost their souls to the Devil. You know, usual stuff. Now they have to go and beat other people who god devil contract on them, to escape their own punishment. So, with some tips from an old grandpa Kettle, buys set off to their adventure.
And that's pretty much it. Gameplay is very straightforward - you get 3 islands (plus 4th, final area), each full of stages with boss fights on them. Also, all 3 islands have 2 run and gun areas where you perform a sort of an obstacle course while killing smaller enemies. You can get money in the run and gun zones, that you may spend in the shop to buy new passives and more types of shots. Plus there are 3 bonus stages, rewarding you with supers - powers you can unleash when fully charged.
Of course, boss fights are the main treat here, and they are separated in the normal bosses and the ones you beat while flying a plane, in a side-scrolling shooter sequence. Each boss has at least 3 stages, with tactics changing drastically, so you go through this doing the old art of trying the bosses. You die quickly at first, you do boss till you are so familiar with first few stages, you can pass them easily, and then you eventually luck out and beat the final stage.
I have to hand it to the game - controls, which are super important in game like that, are working well and do exactly what you want. Sure, in the heat of battle I would press wrong buttons, but it's on me. All the jumps are smooth, and you never feel you are being punished by bad controls - only by the game's difficulty itself.
Among the passives the most useful one is the one making you invincible during dodge - that is a real life-saver. Weapon types are pretty good in variety. You can beat the game using just the basic weapon - it's simple and deals good damage, but on some bosses you can appreciate specifics of other weapon types.
So okay... let's talk art. I mean, you probably noticed it on the screens. Art is FUCKING INSANE here. It's like you really are experiencing a seamless cartoon sequences animated by one of the olde cartoon creators. Shit, some of the throwbacks are so obvious, I just hope game creators won't get sued by anyone. And with this art style comes the world that lives by cartoon laws, with total lack of boundaries. Let me explain using 1 fight as an example. Your enemy is a giant birdhouse with a vulture in it - it is so bit, it can't get out, just its head and wings are sticking out. After beating that, birdhouse breaks, vulture falls down, and your next enemy is suddenly a small baby vulture, with oversized head, sitting on a bird nest like an alien on some UFO, and when you beat that, suddenly you get 2 sparrows hauling a stretcher with previous giant vulture - who lost all feathers but still itching for a fight - and when you finally beat that, fight ends, sparrows put on chef hats and start salting the vulture. It is fucking insane, and that's just 1 fight, with me leaving out a lot of weird details.
Music pretty much matches that same olde style, and provides jazzy feeling to the whole fighting, getting you in that fast-paced mood. I'd say it stands out on its own too, but here it serves just as support to the art style which is the king of this game.
So, if you like challenging platformers, boss fights and craziness of 30-ties animation - this is the game for you.