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Cuphead is the newest Xbox One exclusive to hit the market and it’s already shaping up to be one of the most difficult games of the year. Stylized like a 1930s cartoon, users take control of Cuphead as he tries to pay back the devil after losing a bet to him. This side-scrolling shooter is largely made up of boss fights, as each fearsome foe will act as a soul you need to collect for Satan. There are also several run and gun levels that require players to only make it to the end of the map alive.
While this game can seem tame at first glance, make no mistake this title can get extremely brutal in the later portions. Here are 10 tips and tricks for Cuphead to make your journey a little bit easier:
1. Don’t Skip Gold Coins
In Cuphead, players are able to collect gold coins that can be used to purchase new weapons and charms. However, this currency is extremely rare so do not pass up obtaining them unless you absolutely have to. There are 5 gold coins scattered about in each of the run and gun stages, so try to obtain them all when you play through. Keep in mind these coins will only unlock if you beat the stage, so if you have one heart don’t risk it. Coins can be used to purchase new weapons and charms, which give you a distinct advantage in boss fights. You can also find coins hidden in the hub world, so make sure to check every nook and cranny when you are exploring.
2. Learn to Parry
Parrying is one of the few mechanics in Cuphead that you really will need to master if you want to beat the game. This ability allows players to counter a specific attack, enemy, or projectile to take no damage and gain a bit of extra height. To actually parry, press jump and then hit A right before a pink colored foe or attack hits you. Doing so will cause Cuphead to “Parry Slap” and get away without taking any damage or losing a heart. You will need to master this move as the World 3 bosses all make strong use of the Parry mechanic, so make sure to work on this technique early on.
3. Purchase the Spread Shot First
There are six additional variants on Cuphead’s weapon that you can unlock, each of which will drastically change how you play or approach fights. While all of them are good we highly recommend picking up the Spread potion first. Acting as Cuphead’s version of a shotgun, this projectile fires in a fan shape and has a rather short range. However, it more than makes up for this thanks to the incredible damage output it has. There are a lot of bosses that you can get close to and use Spread on, so pick this up as soon as you can.
4. Learn to Exploit the Stage
Cuphead’s bosses are rather challenging, however, you can easily overcome some sections by exploiting their inability to hit certain areas. Bosses like the Wally Warbles cannot actually land a hit on you if you chill in the corners after they fire their eggs. The geography of a stage is just as important as the boss itself, so always analyze your terrain during a fight. Sometimes I like to spend a round or two just seeing the limitations of a bosses projectiles so I know how to dodge them in an actual fight. You have unlimited lives in Cuphead, so there’s no reason not to make use of them.
5. Don’t Purchase an Extra Heart
In Cuphead, players will only be able to take three hits before succumbing to the great beyond. Since you can burn through these hearts quickly it might be tempting to purchase an additional one at the shop. However, the catch is your damage will be reduced, which means your boss fights will drag out even more. There’s really no reason to purchase an additional heart unless you are really struggling with a specific fight. Remember, adding a fourth and even fifth heart to your pool takes away from any other special abilities you can have like an invisible dash or special parry attack.
6. Talk to NPCs
While you’re out exploring the world of Cuphead make sure to stop and speak with every NPC you come across. Some will simply offer you tips, while others will give you a gold coin for performing specific actions. There are a fair amount of citizens scattered about Cuphead, so try to speak with them all at one point or another. Keep in mind, some NPCs will have their dialogue change after you either complete a certain stage, boss, or isle. Make sure to always come back and speak with them to ensure that you don’t lose out on extra rewards.
7. Learn to Switch Weapons
It’s more than possible to beat every boss in Cuphead with just your basic weapon, but one shouldn’t ignore the six types of shots available. Despite Spread being the best out of the additional five offered, players should still consider purchasing the other variants. Some sections are far easier with specific weapons like the tracking bullets, which allow you to focus on your footwork. If you are finding yourself struggling with a particular area, consider changing weapons and see how you do.
8. Play on Regular
Despite being a rather difficult game, we recommend not playing any of the bosses on Simple. While the fight will be far easier, you actually won’t earn any souls and thus cannot progress to the final area. Plus, playing on Simple changes the bosses attack patterns and moves, so you cannot even learn them for when you switch to the Regular difficulty. Plus. playing on the normal setting will allow you to improve and understand the timing and mechanics better.
9. The Invisible Dash Is Fantastic
There are six different charms in Cuphead, but our personal favorite is one that makes you immune when you dash. The only negative is you cannot see where exactly you’re going, however, after some time you can actually predict your trajectory. Since you can negate all damage and pass through enemies, it’s possible to run circles around your foes. This allows players to easily navigate across the stage with virtually no repercussions. However, if you want a different Charm the “Coffee” ability is actually quite useful and is a worthy replacement.
10. Know When to Walk Away
Cuphead is a brutal game at times, so consider stepping away to take clear your mind can do wonders. Much of your time will be spent constantly dying or reloading an encounter which can be incredibly frustrating. Walking away and returning with a clear head will allow you to evaluate and tackle whatever boss has you beaten. If you are really having trouble consider trying a different boss or level to sharpen your skills. Sometimes not having the right weapon or charm can make an encounter far more difficult than it’s supposed to be.