If you've been paying attention to the indie-gaming scene for the past three years or so, odds are you've heard of Cuphead. It's been in development hell for years past its expected release -- and for good reason.
The whole game was hand-drawn using traditional animation techniques similar to the cartoons of the 1930's, particularly those of Fleischer Studios and Disney. Because of the amount of work necessary to make this style look and play smoothly, brothers Chad and Jared Moldenhauer have been working on the game for a total of nearly seven years.
The final package exemplifies their efforts, as Cuphead is one of the most visually detailed and fluidly animated 2D games ever released. From the film-grain filter to the exaggerated facial expressions, from the bright colors to the rubber hose arms and legs, Cuphead looks and plays authentically like Contra adapted into a Merrie Melodies cartoon.
It's a highly difficult, fast-paced run-and-gun shooter where Cuphead and his friend Mugman must take on a series of elaborate boss fights in order to appease the devil and keep their lives after losing to him in a game of chance. There are various weapons, a two-player co-op mode with Mugman, an overworld map to navigate with its own secret areas, and special moves for that extra bit of razzle-dazzle.
Cuphead is a visually flooring, skill-testing, action-packed love letter to a golden era of animation -- and it's finally planned for release on PC and Xbox One on September 29.