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Cuphead is a love letter to both 1930s animation and side-scrolling shooters. Designed largely as a boss rush game, players have to battle their way through some truly colorful characters. Don’t let their adorable designs fool you as many of these bosses will absolutely obliterate anything in their way. This title is notorious for its difficult gameplay and many of the battles demand perfect timing. Of course, this gave us one burning question – which boss is the hardest?
When ranking these fearsome foes we decided to only focus on the whole fights and not individual sections. So King Dice includes all 9 possible mini-bosses and The Root Pack will be ranked as a group. Additionally, we are not taking into consideration glitches or exploits that can make fights far easier. We are solely ranking the difficulty and design of the boss fight. Finally, it’s important to note that difficulty is not an absolute, so what we view as tricky may not be the same for another.
Here is our ranking for all of Cuphead’s bosses from easiest to worst.
19. The Root Pack
The first boss that most will encounter, these angry vegetables act as a way to teach players the fundamental mechanics like parrying. Many of their attacks are easily dodge and each one has a huge hitbox that makes them hard to miss. The fight only gets a bit tricky when Psycarrot arrives, but even then this giant lug doesn’t offer much of a challenge.
18. Goopy Le Grande
Another early boss, Goopy’s first two phases consist of him jumping around the stage trying to squash Cuphead. He also has a punch, but the move is easily telegraphed and can even be ducked entirely. His final phase is even easier than the first two, as the tombstone version of Goopy just tries to flatten our hero. He’s fairly easy to handle, but his slightly odd jumping patterns can make him tricky the first few times.
17. Cagney Carnation
This sunflower may look scary, but in reality, poor old Cagney is a complete pushover. While she has some annoying attacks, chiefly the spores that can turn into various smaller enemies, it’s nothing a knowledgeable player cannot handle. Things get even easier in the third phase where Cagney just sits there and launches easily dodgeable projectiles. There isn’t much to this fight and even the least observant player can see her telegraphed attacks coming from a mile away. Despite some tricky early moments, it’s rare that the player will be pushing daisies during this fight.
16. Werner Werman
Werner Werman has no right being a late-game boss. This rat in a makeshift siege machine is one of the last bosses you can fight in Cuphead and he offers barely any challenge. His first stage consists of easily dodgeable projectiles and one move where he rolls across the screen. The second part is even easier where all players have to do is not stand on the same platform of him. Things to get a bit tougher when the cat enters, but even then this feline doesn’t put up much of a fight. What really makes Werner easy is just how big his hitbox is. People actually have to try if you want to miss him in any of these three phases.
15. Ribby and Croak
Perhaps one of our most controversial choices, Ribby and Croak are viewed by some as one of the Cuphead’s most difficult bosses. A lot of this is because Ribby and Croak’s final phase is more based on luck then raw skill. The first two phases are extremely easy to fight through, but once they turn into slot machines things get tricky. When in this mode, players can get one of three different attacks two of which can be really annoying to dodge. However, if you manage to get the “Frog” platform move then you should easily be able to kill this boss.
14. Sally Stageplay
Another suspiciously easy late-game boss, Sally Stageplay is a four-phase fight that only really challenges the player during two of them. Most of her attacks are extremely predictable and she has a bad habit of just standing around so you can damage her. The second stage offers a bit more variation and requires some quick thinking to go unscathed. However, all of that challenge vanishes when she literally just sits around in a corner of the screen during her third phase.
All of her future moves are told to the player in advance, sapping all of the challenge from this fight entirely. Sally’s final section is only tricky if users are running a close range build she hovers over you for the duration of the battle. Ultimately this is a mediocre boss that fails to deliver any real issues.
13. Hilda Berg
The only reason Hilda Berg is above Sally is simply that the player is regulated to just their machine guns. Hilda Berg acts as an introductory boss for the plane sections. Her attacks are easy enough to deal with in the first phase, but once she transformers things can get tricky. Hilda can take the form of three different astrological symbols – each with their own attack patterns. Some of these moves can be hard to dodge, especially if users are still getting used to flying the plane. She will then turn into a giant moon, but this section is fairly simple as long as players remember the flying saucers above.
12. Baroness Von Bon Bon
A player’s frustration with Baroness will completely depend on which of the 5 different dessert monsters she sends out to fight. Some, like the Jawbreaker, are laughably easy to put down while the Cupcake can be seriously annoying. Once three of these foes have been dispatched, the Baroness herself will begin to chase after the player in her candy castle. This section can be challenging if someone doesn’t have any range to deal with her. Bon Bon will spend the rest of the fight tossing her head and launching giant mints that take up half the screen. Can we go back to the angry vegetables, please?
11. Djimmy The Great
Now we are starting to get into Cuphead’s trickier bosses. This genie is one of the few flying sections in Cuphead and he proves to certainly be a tricky foe. Most of his attacks across the four different phases revolve around smart placement of your aircraft. There’s a bit of luck when it comes to this fight, as Djimmy likes to throw quite a few different projectiles on screen at once. His final phase is by far the hardest thanks to him taking up literally half of the screen. It also doesn’t help that his three projectiles leave a very narrow margin for error.
10. Wally Warbles
Where Djimmy relied on his size to overpower players, Wally prefers to just shoot dozens upon dozens of projectiles. Through three of his four phases, Wally will flood the screen with everything from a barrage of feathers, giant eggs, and even pills. The only easy phase involves his kid who has a rather predictable attack pattern. Where things get difficult is the last section that has Wally take up the bottom third of the screen. Since players don’t have a ton of room to aim with their machine guns, the encounter demands the use of bombs. Given these explosives can be a bit difficult to aim, the final section can be a complete nuisance to deal with.
9. Cala Maria
Another plane boss, Cala Maria is a tough foe but only during her first two phases. This temptress will launch a salvo of projectiles pretty much during the entire first half of this fight. Players will also have to deal with her aquatic friends who launch a bunch of movement disrupting attacks. All of this culminates into Cala basically becoming a gorgon and turning Cuphead to stone periodically. Oh, did we mention her eels will fire electric bolts at you too? Once her head splits off the fight becomes more manageable, but the ability to literally freeze Cuphead in place can easily lead to the ‘Game Over’ screen.
8. Captain Brineybeard
There is a lot going on when it comes to your fight with Captain Brineybeard. Not only will users have to avoid a barrel trying to crush you, but small orb projectiles, various sea creatures, and eventually a giant laser beam. Adding to the difficulty is Brineybeard’s hitbox being located in the top right corner, meaning you have to actually stop and aim.
This not only makes players very vulnerable but limits a lot of the weapon types for this battle. This boss is largely about endurance as each phase can last a substantial amount of time. Players will also have to contend with the ship itself which launches fireballs that move in a circular motion making them hard to jump over. It’s a lot to try and manage without even trying to shooting him.
7. Beppi The Clown
Beppi is in a weird spot right now because the battle can be completely glitched out making it a walk in the park. However, if users try to fight him normally be prepared to pray to RNGesus because a lot of this fight is reliant on pure luck. All of his attacks by themselves aren’t bad, but where things get frustrating is the roller coaster that rolls across the bottom of the screen.
Sometimes the game leaves the player with virtually no other option than to be hit. It’s a battle that feels poorly designed and a lot of the difficulty comes off as simply arbitrary. This also makes him one of the most frustrating bosses to try and get a high score on since you’ll be completely reliant on which grouping of moves Beppi uses.
6. Phantom Express
The Phantom Express is a weird fight because individually all four of the different bosses are fairly easy to deal with. Yet, it’s the inclusion of a railcar that users have to manually move via parrying that makes this fight tricky. What’s worse is you won’t be the only one trying to move the platform as flying pumpkins will attempt to move your railcar closer to the boss. There’s a lot of micromanaging that needs to happen in the Phantom Express fight. This can make the battle extremely taxing, as a single missed parry can cost you an entire run.
5. Rumor Honeybottoms
Speaking of having to micromanage, the queen bee herself is no slouch herself when it comes to tricky fights. Comprised of three phases, players need to not only dodge her minion’s advances but also fight off various projectile based attacks. Individually these sections are rather fair, as all of them have noticeable patterns and weaknesses players can exploit.
What really makes Honeybottoms a frustrating fight is that the stage continuously scrolls up. This means if the player touches the molten honey below they will take damage, regardless of what they’redoing. The platforms are also randomized (because of course they are), so users need to pray that there is one to land on.
4. The Devil
The last boss in Cuphead is about as difficult as one would expect him to be. The Devil is another three stage fight that has one of the trickiest final phases in all of Cuphead. He has a multitude of different attacks, all of which require precise timing if you want to dodge them. During his first phase, this demonic being likes to hurl multiple projectiles at the player while having his purple minors run across the bottom of the screen. It’s a lot to dodge and players will rarely get a moment to catch their breath.
His second stage is not that difficult thanks to the parry mechanic, however, his third phase is by far the trickiest. Not only will players have to contend with multiple attacks from The Devil, but also two fat demons that hang out in the corners of the stage. There are a lot of spinning plates in the air and dropping one can spell disaster for anyone trying to finish this final boss off.
3. Grim Matchstick
Cracking the top three is Grim Matchstick who is way tougher than his cute design lets on. Most of his attacks are fairly tricky to dodge, as the dragon doesn’t offer a ton of parry opportunities for the player. Instead, Grim tests users’ raw ability to dodge projectiles that span from giant meteors to angry fireballs that hurl themselves at Cuphead. Once you make it to the second part of the fight, Grim decides to occupy the bottom left of the screen meaning you have to get on his level to actually damage him. The problem is during this phase he constantly attacks and the player is reliant on the moving stage to offer enough platforms to stand on.
His third phase is even harder as he launches fireballs at users that, when destroyed, break up into even smaller and faster fireballs. This move alone is a counter to everything players have been taught in Cuphead and forces a slower pacing. Matchstick also has a very powerful flamethrower that takes up a quarter of the screen when used. Good luck!
2. King Dice
Welcome to a boss rush inside of a boss rush game. King Dice is the definition of an endurance test as the player needs to fight a minimum of three mini-bosses before they can even square off with cube head. However, if the player is unlucky they will need to battle a maximum of nine mini-bosses.All of this is determined by a revolving dice that will stop when it’s parried. Whatever number it stops on the player will advance to that space and either reach a safe zone or another battle.
The mini-bosses have a wide range of difficulty with some being absolute push overs and others effectively requiring the player to run the Smoke Bomb item. While you can earn extra hearts along the way, they really don’t matter in the long run if users can get the dice timing exactly right. Also, it’s possible to literally hit a space that sends the player back to the beginning which is just as depressing as it sounds. King Dice himself isn’t that bad, but getting to him is a challenge all by itself.
1. Dr. Kahl’s Robot
F@#k this Dr. Wily wannabe and his stupid robot.
Winning our award for the hardest boss in Cuphead, Dr. Kahl’s Robot is a brutal fight from start to finish. His first phase has him launching three attacks at once simultaneously that requires users to attack three different weak points. However, once you destroy one of his weak points the robot just learns a new attack. There’s never a real sense of progression with him, as the more damage a player does the harder this fight becomes.
His second section involves him launching his head at players that travels in and out of the screen at random intervals. This can make it hard to predict and hit when flying as this chrome dome moves pretty fast. Additionally, users will need to contend with tracking bombs that have an alarmingly large blast radius when destroyed.
However, Dr. Kahl earns his top spot thanks to his final phase which changes Cuphead from a charming, difficulty side-scroller to a bullet hell simulator. Kahl’s attack consists of him constantly barraging the player with dozens upon dozens of little lightning bolts. None of them can be parried and he has maybe a second of downtime between attacks. To make matters worse, the doctor calls in electric, vertical platforms that force users to specific areas in the stage. This means you not only have to dodge the endless energy bolts, but the moving platforms as well. There is quite literally no room for error in this fight. Kahl is punishing in a way no other Cuphead boss reaches and that’s why he took our number one spot.
Agree or disagree? Let us know int he comments who you thought was the toughest boss in Cuphead! Make sure to check out our gaming section for more guides, news, reviews, and features.