"Cuphead" turns out to be a deal with the devil that parallels its own plot.
A gorgeous game, with every frame hand-drawn in 1930s Fleischer Bros. style, it lures you into its maddening platforming, only to inflict you with ceaseless torture and torment.
That the game - about anthropomorphic cup brothers who lose their souls to the devil at the craps table and try to win them back by acting as his soul repo men -- is so difficult is a plus for old-school gaming fanatics, who will appreciate its "Mega Man" and "Contra"-style platforming and run-and-gun inspirations. But anyone looking for modern hand-holding amenities will run screaming.
Don't expect niceties such as checkpoints or the ability to add lives. "Cuphead" makes you work for every inch, and demands you learn the intricacies of its levels via a brutal regime of trial and error until you can skate through unscathed.
A dazzling showpiece and undeniable artistic achievement, "Cuphead" will likely prove popular on the speed-run circuit and streaming. Its style overshadows its maddeningly difficult content. If you see its ending, it will be either by sheer force of will with finely honed skill or because you gave up and watched it on YouTube.
Publisher provided review code.