Here’s how to get the most out of Cuphead.
Cuphead is a really difficult game- in fact, as you will soon realize, the tired meme ‘Dark Souls of 2D action platformers’ might actually apply to it for real. The game’s bosses are brutal, levels are difficult, and myriad of systems make it easy for you to progress too far only for you to realize you might have made some wrong choices along the way. Cuphead does not pull its punches.
But we’re here to soften the blows for you. Here are some essential tips and tricks that we believe will make your Cuphead experience that much better.
Don’t play the game on Easy. This might sound counter-intuitive, but there is an actual reason here- playing on Easy means you don’t get any souls, which means you can never access the final area. Not just that, you can’t even use it to practice and get used to the game’s bosses’ strategies- playing on Easy changes their patterns, so it’s useless for that, too. Best to just suck it up and deal with the difficulty.
Exploit the stage. Much like in Dark Souls, there are ways for you to exploit the geometry of the level to be able to land hits safely and cheese enemies- if you scope each arena out, you should be able to figure out where you can stand invulnerable from boss attacks, and use that to your advantage.
Upgrade wisely. You need to be very careful of what upgrades you buy- don’t spend money blindly. Consider buying utilitarian upgrades that will give you a leg up, such as the Spread Shot and the Invisible Dash.’
Don’t upgrade your health. At this point you probably think I’m just trolling you, but bear with me here- every time you upgrade your health, you degrade your damage output. Effectively, you aren’t helping yourself. You’re tankier, but because your damage output is reduced, battles last longer, which means you’re now likelier to open yourself up to enemies that much more…
Learn to parry. Plain and simple, you’re not finishing this game if you can’t parry. Learn to parry, parrying will help you in combat, and it will also help you to reach some of the harder places in every level via Parry Jump.
Get those Gold Coins. Explore each stage thoroughly, as well as the Hub Word, because you can find Gold Coins- and these are what are used to purchase new weapons and charms. Don’t be (too) afraid to explore!
Embrace failure. Look, you’re going to die. A lot. But it doesn’t have to be frustrating, and death does not have to be a fail state. Much like in Dark Souls, treat death as a game mechanic to learn the nuances of an area’s layout or boss’s pattern, and get back to it. The thrill of Cuphead is in prevailing against the challenge- don’t let the challenge prevail over you!
If you are playing the Steam or GoG version on PC, there are also these cheats (such as unlimited health), shown off in the video below, that you can try and utilize to have things go your way (a little bit). However please use this at your own discretion.