How do you feel about Cuphead's difficulty?

  • 76 results
  • 1
  • 2
Avatar image for beachthunder
Edited 11 months, 21 days ago

Poll: How do you feel about Cuphead's difficulty? (637 votes)

I'd prefer it to be easier / more forgiving 18%
It's fine how it is 55%
I'd prefer it to be even harder / less forgiving 2%
No opinion 25%

I knew it was going to be hard, but I didn't realise it was going to be this hard...

Avatar image for ivdamke
#1 Posted by IVDAMKE (1799 posts) -

It's fine, if you pay attention to the patterns you'll gradually learn as time goes on. It depends on whether you enjoy trial and error.

Avatar image for skullpanda1
#2 Posted by SkullPanda1 (1617 posts) -

I love the art and music in this game but the streams have kept me from diving in. I think this will be one of my fave games to watch other people play

Avatar image for shagge
#3 Posted by ShaggE (9056 posts) -

I do wish there were easier difficulty options (Simple mode skips forms and doesn't actually let you progress) just so people can see all the art and animation at their leisure, but it's pretty much fine how it is. Nothing wrong with an unforgiving game as long as it's fair.

I've heard that the end fights are kind of ridiculous, though, so I'm not looking forward to that. And the Run & Guns aren't great, honestly. The game mechanics clearly weren't made with those in mind.

Online
Avatar image for sparky_buzzsaw
#4 Posted by sparky_buzzsaw (8569 posts) -

They've been up front about the difficulty all along, so I don't think it should've come as any surprise. That said, I like games I can finish, even if I'm playing them on the "damn, you're terrible at games" setting.

Avatar image for jeremyf
#5 Posted by JeremyF (241 posts) -

While the game is brutal, I wouldn't say much of it is "unfair." It's a lot of juggling attack patterns at once. When you get bodied it can be annoying, but performing well is really satisfying. The difficulty also makes every fight memorable because you spend so much time learning them.

Online
Avatar image for yoshisaur
#6 Posted by Yoshisaur (80 posts) -

I only played a bit, so take this with a grain of salt. The difficulty on the bosses felt well tuned and enjoyable. The run and gun levels? Not so much. I’m finding them to be a bit random and crossing the line of frustration.

Gonna give the game some more time though.

I can’t shake the feeling that they made a mistake by giving in to people complaining about the original pitch for a game focused entirely on boss fights.

Avatar image for bradbrains
#7 Posted by BradBrains (2218 posts) -

@jeremyf said:

While the game is brutal, I wouldn't say much of it is "unfair." It's a lot of juggling attack patterns at once. When you get bodied it can be annoying, but performing well is really satisfying. The difficulty also makes every fight memorable because you spend so much time learning them.

yea ive had a few times where I felt it was kinda unfair but for the most part its mostly pattern recognition. I rarely felt like my deaths where the games fault. that and the progression meter really made me keep at it.

Nothing feels better than seeing that knockout screen

I do worry about what I heard regarding the endgame

Avatar image for ravelle
#8 Posted by Ravelle (3200 posts) -

It's mostly fine but I'm having more trouble with the controls, it could have controlled more tighter in my opinion.

Avatar image for ares42
#9 Posted by Ares42 (4056 posts) -

I'd say it's more bullshit than people are giving it credit for. Sure, you always learn more about where to (not) stand and what to (not) do, but most of the time it's not because you didn't know what was going on or couldn't react to something you didn't know about, it's because this one thing happened at the same time as this other thing or the boss is suddenly doing something completely different or this thing you were expecting didn't happen etc etc. The difficulty (at least once you get into it) originates mostly from the fact that there are multiple things going on and usually at least one or more of them has a random element to it.

It might not seem super obvious when you play it, but most likely that 13th attempt when you finally beat the boss it wasn't necessarily because you did anything different, it was because you got lucky and got an easier version of the boss due to randomness. And on that point I've actually found the Run and Gun levels to be the ones you can actually "figure out". Like you could probably make a step by step guide on how to perfectly run through those levels.

Online
Avatar image for gazoinks
#10 Posted by Gazoinks (36 posts) -

@ravelle said:

It's mostly fine but I'm having more trouble with the controls, it could have controlled more tighter in my opinion.

Yeah, the movement feels a little imprecise even when I'm using the d-pad. I felt like I didn't have quite enough control to comfortably jump around on the platforms during the last phase of the Beppi fight, for instance.

Avatar image for iamterics
#11 Posted by IamTerics (785 posts) -

The difficulty seems fine to me. Its actually strange to me that so people are saying how hard this is. The bosses are super pattern based and the running levels(which are all kinda awkward?) are also pretty straightforward. The most unfair thing I've seen is the gravity switching, which can pop you back into an enemy if you're not careful. That and overall the art makes it not obvious what is and isn't lethal. Even then, levels are like 2 or 3 minutes and you get all of these tools to help. I don't mean to sound like I'm the best at this or anything. But the difficulty in this(so far) feels smoother than most other run and guns. And its not even close to something like Super Meat Boy.

Avatar image for deactivated-5b847dda3e8d2
#12 Posted by deactivated-5b847dda3e8d2 (45 posts) -

Too hard for me, I would love to play it if it had an easy mode. Looks amazing though.

Avatar image for raven10
#13 Posted by Raven10 (2249 posts) -

As someone who is not great at games I would prefer it to be easier. Even after memorizing the patterns it still takes me a couple dozen tries before I can beat each stage. That said, I don't think the difficulty is a flaw nor is it unfair. Every time I've finally pulled off a victory it was because I performed exactly as I intended to without fault. I wouldn't knock it for its difficulty, but just due to wanting to see more of it I would have liked an easy mode that checkpointed you after each form of a boss or each room/area of the run and gun levels. Again, not bad and not flawed. It does what it sets out to do, I just happen to not be very good at it. Took me multiple days of playing to get to where Ben was in the quick look.

Avatar image for doctordonkey
#14 Posted by doctordonkey (1676 posts) -

The game is much more difficult if you are not using Charge Shot and Smoke Bomb. To any one struggling, practice using that loadout and you will find the bosses to go down much, much faster than any other weapon. The smoke bomb allows you to dash through otherwise impossible attacks. Using Charged Shot kinda turns it into Megaman X.

Avatar image for ares42
#15 Posted by Ares42 (4056 posts) -

Too hard for me, I would love to play it if it had an easy mode. Looks amazing though.

While I haven't tried doing any of the bosses on simple rather than standard I believe that's easy mode.

Online
Avatar image for glots
#16 Posted by glots (3929 posts) -

I still haven't bought it, because of how hard it seems. Not unfairly so, at least according to most people, but difficult enough for me to likely eventually pull all my hair off. I might still dip in when there's a 50% discount or so.

I would definitely love a very, very easy setting, just to admire all the art without frustration. Guess watching a LP would do the trick...

Avatar image for mellotronrules
#17 Edited by mellotronrules (2417 posts) -

i went into it expecting a meatboy vibe- and although i'm sure many purists would shudder at the comparison, that's generally the experience i'm having. difficult, but fair.

also- very quick restarts (at least on PC) go a LONG way towards making it fun.

Avatar image for ravelle
#18 Edited by Ravelle (3200 posts) -

@ares42 said:
@soloskywalker said:

Too hard for me, I would love to play it if it had an easy mode. Looks amazing though.

While I haven't tried doing any of the bosses on simple rather than standard I believe that's easy mode.

You won't get any contracts on simple sadly.

The game is much more difficult if you are not using Charge Shot and Smoke Bomb. To any one struggling, practice using that loadout and you will find the bosses to go down much, much faster than any other weapon. The smoke bomb allows you to dash through otherwise impossible attacks. Using Charged Shot kinda turns it into Megaman X.

I have spreadshot and invincibility dash, I'm at the frogs and flying lady at the moment with no way of earning coins anymore.

Avatar image for tennmuerti
#19 Posted by Tennmuerti (9379 posts) -

While I have no desire to play it myself (not a fan of platforming in general)

I have really enjoyed watching a streamer go back and beat the levels on the Expert difficulty that unlocks after you beat the game.

Avatar image for ares42
#20 Posted by Ares42 (4056 posts) -
Online
Avatar image for esrever
#21 Posted by ESREVER (2922 posts) -

I just finished beating the game on normal entirely Coop with one controller (I use ds4windows and it made the game read my inputs twice) and it was a pretty fun challenge.

Bosses are definitely where this game shines. The platforming levels felt too much like an afterthought and I found most of them to be pretty bland and bad. Luckily theres only like 6 of them. I think people are overhyping how "difficult" this game is, and I didn't even use the invincible dashes item. My endgame kit was the spreadshot/lobber (I'm pretty sure this game uses contra3 speedtech where you can increase your rate of fire by alternating weapons backs and forth, so I did that a lot to melt bosses) Super 2, and 1 extra heart charm.

I recorded my playthough of the coop with one controller run if anyone wants to see what that was like. I do die a lot cause its a little mind bending controlling both players at once.

Avatar image for afabs515
#22 Posted by afabs515 (2002 posts) -

The difficulty of the bosses is fine. But when you apply that same difficulty to the platforming levels, it's 100% not fun for me. Especially because the entire upgrade path is tied to the platforming levels (can't get coins without playing those levels). I wish this game was just the boss battle stages.

Avatar image for nickhead
#23 Posted by nickhead (1235 posts) -

I'm enjoying the challenge. I think it feels great and while the standard platforming levels aren't incredible, I don't hate them.

There's been a couple instances where it happens to be the perfect storm of bullshit and I have no chance of surviving. But for how many bosses have a ton of stuff happening at once - that doesn't surprise me.

Avatar image for earlessshrimp
#24 Posted by EarlessShrimp (1851 posts) -

it feels quite rewarding to complete boss battles. I haven't really felt quite so engaged in combat in a while, so it's a refreshing feeling. Also, it's good to flex my pattern recognition muscles now and again!

Avatar image for raven10
#25 Edited by Raven10 (2249 posts) -

@raven10 said:

As someone who is not great at games I would prefer it to be easier. Even after memorizing the patterns it still takes me a couple dozen tries before I can beat each stage. That said, I don't think the difficulty is a flaw nor is it unfair. Every time I've finally pulled off a victory it was because I performed exactly as I intended to without fault. I wouldn't knock it for its difficulty, but just due to wanting to see more of it I would have liked an easy mode that checkpointed you after each form of a boss or each room/area of the run and gun levels. Again, not bad and not flawed. It does what it sets out to do, I just happen to not be very good at it. Took me multiple days of playing to get to where Ben was in the quick look.

I will also add with another day under my belt that choosing the right weapon for the job is essential to succeeding. Some weapons are just much better in certain scenarios compared to others. For example, the frog boss in the first world was damn near impossible using the standard pea shooter or the homing shot but I managed to get through it using the shotgun-esque weapon due to the very small arena.


Also, anyone having issues very early on, you can get to a second run and gun level by going under the overpass at the top of the map. It's a secret and even gets you an achievement, and it is a life saver as it lets you earn enough coins for both the smoke dash and two weapons. You can also get to the first super using this strategy, which again can make all the difference.

Avatar image for buarpo
#26 Posted by Buarpo (31 posts) -

@ravelle: There are secret coins in the overworld if you need one or two for a power up.

Also depending on your location finishing a boss on simple should open pathways within each overworld, which allows you to reach run and gun levels for more coins.

Avatar image for qrowdyy
#27 Posted by Qrowdyy (360 posts) -

Not every game has to cater to everyone. Indie games especially. The only games that try(and fail) to do this are triple A games that are focus tested into oblivion.

Avatar image for ravelle
#28 Posted by Ravelle (3200 posts) -

@buarpo said:

@ravelle: There are secret coins in the overworld if you need one or two for a power up.

Also depending on your location finishing a boss on simple should open pathways within each overworld, which allows you to reach run and gun levels for more coins.

Oooh, did not know that. Thanks!

Avatar image for jesus_phish
#29 Posted by Jesus_Phish (3653 posts) -

Seeing this blow up on Twitter.

I've no problem with developers putting in difficultly modes for all people. It's cool when they do.

I've also no problem with developers releasing a game with a single difficultly and saying "this is how we want our game to be played".

If people get upset that the game is too difficult after buying it, then in this case they didn't do enough research to find out that the game is aimed at being difficult. We've more resources than ever for finding this stuff out and the team behind Cuphead have been banging the "this game will be hard" drum since day one.

Avatar image for linkster7
#30 Posted by linkster7 (1371 posts) -

I think it's fine. I wish I could skip the flying levels though, I just don't enjoy them at all.

Avatar image for chrispaul92
#31 Posted by chrispaul92 (139 posts) -

Finished the first world last night. It's tough and all, but it hadn't felt unfair. I can usually notice myself getting better through most of the failures.

Avatar image for bradbrains
#32 Posted by BradBrains (2218 posts) -

The dragon boss seems to be the only real point of contention I see from most due to the randomness of the platforms.

I cant help but agree with that

Avatar image for elmorales94
#33 Posted by elmorales94 (353 posts) -

I've only played about a half hour so far, but it's fine. I haven't spent more than ten minutes on any given level, so it's not too much of a hassle. If I find myself spending over half an hour on a single level later on, then I'm sure my tune may change.

Avatar image for bradbrains
#34 Posted by BradBrains (2218 posts) -

I've only played about a half hour so far, but it's fine. I haven't spent more than ten minutes on any given level, so it's not too much of a hassle. If I find myself spending over half an hour on a single level later on, then I'm sure my tune may change.

The difficulty ramps up quite a bit in the second island.

If you beat everything in ten minutes or so than I think you get a pat on the back for being really, really good on this type of game.

Avatar image for fatalbanana
#35 Posted by fatalbanana (1032 posts) -

I don't know how much I actually want this or not but I sometimes want there to be checkpoints or at least one moment in a level to get health back. I know this would change the game too much and might not make it as satisfying but on the hardest levels, it's something I want in the moment.

Avatar image for edmundus
#36 Posted by Edmundus (656 posts) -

@ravelle: While you don't get contracts for beating bosses on simple, that only cuts off the very end of the game. You can still access worlds 2 and 3 by playing the easier difficulty.

Avatar image for ravelle
#37 Edited by Ravelle (3200 posts) -

@edmundus said:

@ravelle: While you don't get contracts for beating bosses on simple, that only cuts off the very end of the game. You can still access worlds 2 and 3 by playing the easier difficulty.

King Dice wouldn't let me get to the second Island without all the contracts from the first Island though, so I had to beat flying lady and flower dude to get over the bridge.

Airplane lady was very easy compared to flower guy, only took me about 10 times or something and didn't have a lot of cheap bullshit.

Avatar image for marokai
#38 Posted by Marokai (3697 posts) -

I have been thinking so much about the topic of video game difficulty this last week seeing the reaction to Cuphead and my playing through Breath of the Wild that I feel like writing a blog about it, but the gist of how I feel about Cuphead, and games like it, is this: There should be games for everyone, but not every game should be for everyone. Practically all games released these days are mechanically simple and relatively easy to complete without much frustration. Games like Cuphead - that is, games that are intentionally designed from the ground-up to be mechanically tight and challenging - are an incredibly small amount of yearly game releases, and an even tinier fraction of the major game releases most people care about year to year. So, reading so much elsewhere about how gaming difficulty these days is an awful blight for average Joe Gamer has gotten a little ridiculous.

I feel like not many people for some reason defend difficulty as an artistic decision. People will trip over each other to defend any other aspect of a game (narrative, art style, character quirks, etc) as an artistic choice that not everyone will be able to appreciate, but when it comes to gaming's most unique aspect, its mechanical interactivity, there's crickets. As if aesthetics are superior to all else - which I guess has become a problem for Cuphead specifically. Which just kind of depresses me as a person that really values gameplay.

Avatar image for fear_the_booboo
#39 Edited by Fear_the_Booboo (981 posts) -

I didn’t vote as my answer wouldn’t really fit.

I just finished the game, so it’s not a problem with it being too hard for me.

I have no problem with very difficult game, but I don’t think Cuphead owns it perfectly. Games with simpler graphics are easier to read, Cuphead is incredibly busy and is often harder because of it. The foreground often adds to the visual noise in pretty annoying ways.

I don’t think Cuphead is finely tuned enough for its level of difficulty compared to similar 2D platformers. I wish it was easier because of it, then it wouldn’t be a problem if you lost an health point because of hard to see attacks. Then again I don’t think the patterns of attack themselves would be too hard if it weren’t for the visual noise. There’s also multiple bosses where two or more patterns intersect, making it a bit random how hard it’ll be to dodge them.

As for an easy mode, I’m for it. Not everyone is good at platformers and while the game is not obligated to cater to them, I think it’s a nice plus to have. I don’t think the way Cuphead implements it is great cause it just ends up making you feel bad for using it. Just limiting achievements would’ve been a better option I think.

Avatar image for shindig
#40 Posted by Shindig (4714 posts) -

I definitely agree with it looking too busy. That's the one thing that stands out to me. Too stylish for it's own good, at some points. Still looking to grab it during a steam sale but I'll not be fussed if I miss out.

Avatar image for edmundus
#41 Posted by Edmundus (656 posts) -

@ravelle: Are you sure you had to beat them all on regular? In my game, I beat the first four W1 bosses on regular but had trouble with the flower, so I beat that on simple and he let me through. Then I beat all the W2 bosses on simple and King Dice let me into W3.

I'm currently working back through them all on regular so I can access the final boss.

Avatar image for g0ld3sun
#42 Posted by g0ld3sun (15 posts) -

These types of Mega Man-esque games are always impossible for me so I voted "fine as is". Having no experience with this kind of gameplay makes it impossible for me to enjoy titles like Cuphead; I simply don't have the mindset to know what I'm doing wrong nor the fine motor control to dodge and parry with precise timing. I'm way too used to a more forgiving philosophy so getting better in that context feels like a chore. But that's fine! I'm happy there's so much more to the game than its style, and so if people who this game was made for love it, then I love that. I will watch someone else play it to soak in the art, maybe even buy a copy just to support the studio.

Avatar image for el_tajij
#43 Posted by el_tajij (865 posts) -

I think the main thing for me isn't the game's difficulty. It's the APPEALING visual style with the ESOTERIC difficulty level. It's a game that looks like it's for everyone, but is actually a fairly niche genre. It ends up being this jarring clash of ideologies and I haven't quite figured out whether it works or whether it falls flat for my personal taste.

Avatar image for ravelle
#44 Edited by Ravelle (3200 posts) -

@edmundus said:

@ravelle: Are you sure you had to beat them all on regular? In my game, I beat the first four W1 bosses on regular but had trouble with the flower, so I beat that on simple and he let me through. Then I beat all the W2 bosses on simple and King Dice let me into W3.

I'm currently working back through them all on regular so I can access the final boss.

Maybe you don't need them all but most of them.

Avatar image for esrever
#45 Posted by ESREVER (2922 posts) -

@fear_the_booboo: Thats a good point. There were lots of cases of foreground obstruction and some supers just leaving you at a disadvantage due to visual noise and/or being left in a poor situation (no i-frames after activation).

I chose not to use a lot of supers due to this, plus I don't think the damage output from them was worth the risk. And obscuring the player's vision is never an acceptable means to make something difficult.

Avatar image for genericbrotagonist
#46 Posted by GenericBrotagonist (380 posts) -

I'm playing it for the challenge. If you just want to see the art watch a let's play.

Avatar image for theht
#47 Edited by TheHT (15639 posts) -

@marokai said:

I have been thinking so much about the topic of video game difficulty this last week seeing the reaction to Cuphead and my playing through Breath of the Wild that I feel like writing a blog about it, but the gist of how I feel about Cuphead, and games like it, is this: There should be games for everyone, but not every game should be for everyone. Practically all games released these days are mechanically simple and relatively easy to complete without much frustration. Games like Cuphead - that is, games that are intentionally designed from the ground-up to be mechanically tight and challenging - are an incredibly small amount of yearly game releases, and an even tinier fraction of the major game releases most people care about year to year. So, reading so much elsewhere about how gaming difficulty these days is an awful blight for average Joe Gamer has gotten a little ridiculous.

I feel like not many people for some reason defend difficulty as an artistic decision. People will trip over each other to defend any other aspect of a game (narrative, art style, character quirks, etc) as an artistic choice that not everyone will be able to appreciate, but when it comes to gaming's most unique aspect, its mechanical interactivity, there's crickets. As if aesthetics are superior to all else - which I guess has become a problem for Cuphead specifically. Which just kind of depresses me as a person that really values gameplay.

I never made the direct link between difficulty and "artistic choice" before, but yeah, that seems pretty spot on. How much a game dev is willing to curtail that in accomodation to a wider skill range, while still hoping to preserve whatever feeling they were trying to evoke from the gameplay, is ultimately a choice between accessibility and gameplay ambitions.

I'm sympathetic to a game's difficulty being a significant barrier to entry when there are other elements of the game you'd really like to experience first-hand, but I'm okay with games that opt to lessen accessibility in that regard and make the game more just the game. Not shirking the part of the game that's designed to be a bonafide challenge.

Only just started Cuphead so I can't comment much on the overall difficulty. Only beat the first two bosses and the first run 'n gun, and they all seemed fair. It's your standard type deal where you note the patterns and act accordingly.

Oh, and it's fucking gorgeous. Ruiner was a shoe-in for best style, but I'd forgotten this was coming out this year. :x

Avatar image for atwa
#48 Posted by Atwa (1667 posts) -

Don't even think the game is that hard. Yes its hard, and you will die but its definitely not insurmountable. Most NES games are still harder.

Avatar image for teddie
#49 Posted by Teddie (2075 posts) -

Man, reading the articles and reception surrounding this game's difficulty are maddening and depressing. Comparing this game's difficulty to not catering to disabilities and exclusion makes me want to vomit.

Avatar image for none_braver
#50 Posted by None_Braver (312 posts) -

For me, I don't have the time or patience to be frustrated with games. Would I like it to be easier or let the easier level versions count? Sure. But so far I haven't really gotten mad at the game.

This edit will also create new pages on Giant Bomb for:

Beware, you are proposing to add brand new pages to the wiki along with your edits. Make sure this is what you intended. This will likely increase the time it takes for your changes to go live.

Comment and Save

Until you earn 1000 points all your submissions need to be vetted by other Giant Bomb users. This process takes no more than a few hours and we'll send you an email once approved.