Cuphead is an Absolutely Perfect Fit for Nintendo Switch
Though it originally released on Xbox One and PC, the Nintendo Switch version of Cuphead makes the 1920s-style platformer feel right at home.
No recent indie game has left me in awe like Cuphead. From the inspiring way that the game was created over several years by gamers who originally had other day jobs to the excellent style, animation, and difficult but rewarding gameplay, Cuphead stood out as one of my favorite titles of 2017. In fact, it has only grown on me over time.
Unfortunately, the game seemed like it would be stuck on PC and Xbox One for about a year and a half. This was understandable, as Microsoft’s ID@Xbox program helped bring Studio MDHR’s Cuphead into the limelight, but it was a great game I wanted everyone to have a chance to play. Like many others, I was shocked when Studio MDHR announced that the game would be coming to Nintendo Switch in March’s Nindies Presentation, and was happy to get my hands on the full port soon thereafter.
As I mentioned, I wanted to see Cuphead on as many platforms as possible; still, I had my trepidations about a Switch port. Would the game’s distinct art style still look good on a less powerful system? Would the Nintendo Switch be able to handle properly displaying and running the game in handheld mode? The answers to those questions are yes. Consequently, Nintendo Switch is the quintessential platform to play Cuphead on.
Right from the start, you can tell Cuphead for Nintendo Switch wasn’t a negligible port by Studio MDHR. In fact, it’s one of the best performing Nintendo Switch ports of a game made for more technically-capable platforms that I have ever seen. Granted, it is an indie-scale platformer, but the intricacies of its aesthetics never faltered during my playtime in docked or handheld mode. In fact, the game looks just as good running at 1080p/60fps when docked on Nintendo Switch as it did on PC or Xbox One.
That said, the Nintendo Switch does display Cuphead at a lower 720p resolution in handheld mode. Initially, I was worried that this would be a problem and take away from the game’s overall aesthetic when playing in the Switch mode that fits Cuphead best. After extended playtime in handheld mode though, this proved to not be as big of an issue as I thought it would be. While those obsessed with resolution may still complain, Cuphead‘s early 1920s cartoon aesthetic still looks just as lovingly accurate and methodically put together at 60fps in handheld mode as it did on Xbox One and PC.
Overall, Cuphead‘s structure is also a perfect fit for Switch in its concept and progression. The Joy-Con controllers allow for seamless co-op, though I do wish the game took advantage of HD Rumble more. The difficult, level-based structure also transitions very well into a handheld game. If I didn’t know any better, I would think Cuphead was crafted with Switch always in mind. The Nintendo Switch port is bolstered further by the added animations, which are also included in an update for other platforms today.
The intro animations to every boss fight have become more varied, regular animations have been subtlety improved, and cinematics are now fully animated. In particular, that last addition is super charming and brings Cuphead ever-closer to its animated short roots. I had an even bigger grin going across my face than I did the first time I played Cuphead when trying the game with these updates, and that was something I didn’t think was possible.
This update also finally allows players to choose Mugman from the start in single-player. For Mugman fans like DualShockers‘ Editor-in-Chief Lou Contaldi, this should be a welcome treat. It will also give a slightly different visual experience to those playing Cuphead alone once again on Nintendo Switch. This Cuphead update also includes smaller changes like bug fixes and 11 new language localizations, which will only broaden the game’s appeal and make it a more enjoyable experience for everyone.
While I had already adored Cuphead after playing it on PC in fall 2017, I have fallen in love with this unique gem all over again on Nintendo Switch. If, for some reason, you weren’t a fan of Cuphead upon its initial release due to its difficultly or something else, this port doesn’t do anything when it comes to gameplay to change that. For everyone else, Cuphead is a must-buy on Nintendo Switch.
Even with a slightly lower resolution in handheld mode, Cuphead really feels at home on Nintendo’s hybrid console. The porting job is nearly flawless and its structure transitions gracefully into being a handheld experience. Meanwhile, from the new animations, bug fixes, and being able to play as Mugman right away, the most recent update helps to make Cuphead better than ever. If you are a fan of animation or retro-style platformers and somehow haven’t picked this game up yet, I beg of you to get Cuphead for Nintendo Switch.