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For the titular character, see Cuphead (character).


Cuphead
Cuphead cover sept
A poster featuring Cuphead, Mugman, The Devil and King Dice.
Platform(s): Microsoft Windows
Xbox One
macOS
Engine Unity
Developer: StudioMDHR Entertainment
Genre: 2-D run-and-gun shooter
Theme: Action / Adventure
Mode: Single-player & Multiplayer
Project: Indie
Release Date(s): Microsoft Windows, Xbox One
September 29, 2017
macOS
October 19, 2018
Download(s): Steam
Microsoft
Cuphead website
GOG

"Well, Cuphead and his pal Mugman
They like to roll the dice...
By chance they came 'pon Devil's game
And gosh, they paid the price!
Paid the price...
And now they're fighting for their lives
On a mission fraught with dread...
And if they proceed but don't succeed...
Well...
The Devil will take their heads!"

Introduction song

Cuphead (also and fully known as Cuphead: Don't Deal With The Devil) is a 2-D run-and-gun shooter video game developed by brothers Chad and Jared Moldenhauer as Studio MDHR, drawn in the style of 1930s cartoons. The game follows the exploits of Cuphead and Mugman after they lose to the Devil in gambling. To repay their debt, they must take down several bosses (and beat stages) to earn back their freedom. The game is followed by an upcoming DLC that will be released in 2019.

Plot

On the fictional Inkwell Isles, Cuphead and his brother Mugman are two fun-loving kids who live under the watchful eye of Elder Kettle. Against the elder's warnings, the brothers enter the Devil's Casino and begin playing craps. When they go on a winning streak, the Devil himself offers to raise the stakes. If Cuphead and Mugman can win one more roll, they will receive all the money in the casino; if not, the Devil will take their souls. Cuphead loses by rolling snake eyes, and he and Mugman beg for mercy. The Devil makes a deal with them: collect the "soul contracts" that signify his ownership of the souls of his runaway debtors by midnight the next day, and he might let them keep theirs. They visit Elder Kettle, who gives them a potion that allows them to fire blasts from their fingers to aid in their quest, but also warns them the debtors may change themselves to different things in attempt to stop them.

The brothers travel around the Inkwell Isles, fighting the residents who have lost their souls to the Devil in order to obtain their contracts. On entering the second island, the Elder Kettle informs them about "doing the right thing" when they come up against the Devil again. Once they have the contracts, they return to the Devil's Casino, but its manager King Dice blocks their way. He has lost a bet with the Devil, presumably over whether Cuphead and Mugman would be able to complete their task, and forces them to fight his own henchmen before confronting them directly. After the brothers defeat King Dice, the Devil demands that they hand over the contracts in exchange for "joining his team". What happens next depends on the choice of the player. If the player decides to do so, the Devil turns Cuphead and Mugman into his demonic lackeys and the game ends. If the player declines, the Devil becomes furious at the brothers' refusal to honor their deal and fights them himself. Cuphead and Mugman triumph over him, burn the contracts, and race home. Learning that they no longer have anything to fear from the Devil, the former debtors honor the brothers for their heroic actions.

Development

Cuphead is the first game by Studio MDHR, an indie game development studio consisting of brothers Chad and Jared Moldenhauer. Its development began in 2010, and they worked on the game from their respective homes in Toronto and Saskatchewan. The game was inspired by 1930s cartoons such as that of Fleischer Studios, Disney, Warner Brothers, and cartoonists Ub Iwerks, Grim Natwick, and Willard Bowsky, particularly their most "subversive and surrealist" elements. Chad Moldenhauer called Fleischer Studios "the magnetic north of his art style."

The animation techniques behind Cuphead are similar to that of the 1930s cartoons. Chad Moldenhauer, who had previously worked in graphic design, would hand-draw the animations and paint the backgrounds. He colorized the characters in Photoshop—their sole change from the 1930s process. He also saw his process with its human imperfections as a reaction to the perfectionism of pixel art and, hence, a reimagining of retro games. His brother, Jared Moldenhauer, worked on other aspects of the game, though they would discuss gameplay design together. Their studio hired a Romanian developer, Brooklyn animator, and Ontario jazz musician for the project. They sought to keep the recording processes of the 1930s as if the team were developing in that era.

Though the game was shown during the Xbox press event of Electronic Entertainment Expo 2014 to audience approval, Cuphead was not available to play. The game's art was estimated to be 40 percent complete as of July 2014. Cuphead is expected to be extended via expansion packs with 10 to 15 bosses each, similar to how Sonic & Knuckles added atop the Sonic series formula.

Gameplay

The game features a branching level sequence and is based around continuous boss fights. Cuphead has infinite lives and keeps weapons between deaths. The levels are accessible through an action RPG-style world map with its own secret areas. The game has a two-player cooperative mode that adds another human player to the single-player boss battles playing as Mugman.

Main Menu music

Description Audio
The original intro music accompanied by lyrics.
MUS Intro DontDealWithDevil Vocal
The instrumental played on a piano.
MUS Intro DontDealWithDevil
A version of the intro that plays if Cuphead and Mugman make a bad choice.
MUS Intro DontDealWithDevil Vocal REVERSE
An alternate variation of the intro, played in the pirated copy.
MUS Intro DontDealWithDevil Vocal 666
The introduction used for the E3 2015 demo and E3 2016 demo of the game, but unused in the final version of the game.
Bgm title screen

Reception

Reception
Aggregate score
Aggregator Score
Metacritic (PC) 89/100[13]

(XONE) 87/100[14]

Review scores
Publication Score
Destructoid 9.5/10[15]
EGM 9.5/10[16]
GameSpot 8/10[17]
GamesRadar [18]
Giant Bomb [19]
IGN 8.8/10[20]
PC Gamer (US) 86/100[21]
Polygon 8.5/10[22]
VideoGamer.com 8/10[23]
Steam 96/100 [24]

Awards

The Game Awards

  • Best Art Direction
  • Best Debut Indie Game

Soundtrack

Main Article: Cuphead Original Soundtrack

Achievements

Main Article: Achievements

Music

Main Article: Music

Unused and Reworked Content

Main Article: Unused and Reworked Content

DLC

Main Article: Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course

Gallery

Images

Characters

Videos