This review doesn’t contain any spoilers past the first episode of The Cuphead Show
Cuphead blew the minds of gamers as a pure concept before release with its classic cartoon style and addicting but challenging gameplay. So, when the creators announced that Netflix was raring to set up an animated series based on the game's concept, the hype continued.
Cuphead is a co-op-based arcade shooter that features progressive side-scrolling levels and challenging platforming, smashing reviews upon release. Although the plot was never developed further than ‘you’re collecting souls for the devil’, the gameplay and visuals alone were compelling enough to attract new players. The popularity of this game spurred the creation of the animated series, however, the true question outstanding is; does this show hit us as the game did?
Truth be told The Cuphead show for the most part bangs the nail on the head again by crafting some short but entertaining adventures. The show doesn’t contain much of a follow-on plot apart from the underlying turn of events that takes place in the first episode. As we join Cuphead and Mugman in their daily chore filled life, we see them attracted to a ‘CarnEvil’ to break the mould of boredom and have some fun.
The events that take place in not so similar a fashion to the game, see Cuphead lose his soul in one of the rigged fair games, making him a target for non-other than the Devil. Due to Mugman’s quick thinking, the brothers can escape the devil and go back to their normal lives, however, the devil has other plans.
This introduction to our protagonists gives us a solid and quick dive into their personalities that before now were nonexistent. Truly showing that they are 2 very different personalities, but that they can also work together to escape the many scenarios they find themselves in.
The following episodes all consisting of about 12 minutes, take us through the adventures of Mugman and Cuphead, hosting a medley of different characters first seen in the game. No previous knowledge of the game is needed, so these are all very fresh introductions to the other elements within this wacky world. Without spoiling anything the episodes tend to all feature different plots and different characters, with a returning visit from the devil every so often. It goes without saying that the humor here is very well crafted, keeping a tone fit for children whilst slipping in jokes that an adult can enjoy.
The true standout which also steals from the game’s concepts are the visuals and the audio of the show. Crafting classic great depression-esq visuals that allow the show to stand out amongst other cartoons, whilst also fitting in the classic tunes well acquainted with the style’s era.
This show has a lot to give in both being a unique experience and a fun time, regardless of the humour you would usually go for. This isn’t to say you’ll be grabbing your sides at all the jokes within the series, but more than this is a varied form of entertainment that any viewer could enjoy.
Although this is a series that will only take up a good 2-hour slot of your watch time, there is a lot here to see surprisingly. Where shows based on games can either sink or swim, Cuphead has shown itself to be able to firmly float and may even bring in new fans to the game. If you have the time over the weekend to sit down and watch a series, you couldn’t do much better than The Cuphead show. Netflix has continued their record of doing a concept justice over recent years and this is no exception.
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