The impossibly charming, eye-wateringly difficult run-and-gun shooter Cuphead is finally available on Nintendo Switch, and I can’t recommend it enough.
If you’ve never played the former Xbox exclusive before, I can confidently state that Nintendo’s handheld/home console hybrid is easily the best place to play it, having now spent endless hours with both versions of the game.
But I’m not here to do a review of Cuphead for Nintendo Switch, because that would basically just consist of me telling you to get the game if you haven’t experienced it before. Instead, I thought I’d talk about the five bosses that made me so angry that I very nearly set my controller on fire.
Make no mistake; every boss in Cuphead is hard – that’s kind of the point of the game. But these five are the ones that are so face-meltingly infuriating that I actively dreaded revisiting them on Switch. Revisit them I did, however, because I hate myself almost as much as I love this beautiful demon of a game.
While most bosses in Cuphead involve your adorable little boots being on the ground, the occasional fight puts you in a fighter jet for some side-scrolling shooter action. Generally speaking, these levels are among the hardest the game has to offer.
Cala Maria is a deceptively adorable Merlady (Merwoman? Merperson?) that wastes no time in unleashing the full fury of the deep on our porcelain-headed hero. You’ll have to deal with all manner of fishing friends that are a pain to avoid, as well as incredibly irritating attack that summons three ghosts who fly towards you at alarming speed.
Her most devastating attack of all however, is one that leaves you completely paralyzed and open to attack. It’s nearly impossible to dodge, and almost always results in you getting hit seconds later.
Oh, and when you think it’s finally over, you have to pursue her severed head through a narrow tunnel full of obstacles, knowing that you’ll have to start the whole sorry fight again if you mess it up.
The King Dice boss battle is best described as the kind of endurance test that slaps you in the face and kicks you out of a window if you fail, laughing the entire time.
The second to last fight in the game sees you having to go toe to toe with at least three minibosses before you can face down King Dice himself. Because Cuphead hates you, dying will mean you have to repeat the whole thing, including the minibosses leading up to the main fight.
All of this culminates in a tense showdown with King Dice and if you haven’t been practicing your parries throughout the game, you will not be going any further.
I love bees, but Rumor Honeybottoms is the kind of boss battle that made me want to go outside and fight as many real bees as I could get my hands on in an act of pointless revenge.
Honeybottoms is a fight that will 100 percent push your patience to the limit. You’re expected to continually make your way upwards, while constantly firing on your opponent and dodging her various attacks.
If you miss a platform or attempt to dodge an attack and fall into the honey below, you take damage. Given you only have three lives (four if you equip a certain item) this is not something you want to have happen to you. It will happen a lot, though.
Of the final two bosses on this list, there are those that would argue Grim Matchstick should take the top spot. This scaly SOB is responsible for a number of people giving up on finishing Cuphead altogether, and it’s not hard to see why.
Grim is a wildly difficult fight that offers that timeless combination of high speed platforming and incredibly narrow platforms. If all you had to do was jump from cloud to cloud, Grim would be a pushover, but his incredibly hard to avoid attacks are compounded by the fact that you have precious little room to maneuver.
If you’re stood on the wrong platform when certain attacks come towards you, you’ll probably find there’s nothing you can do but take a hit, or take the fall, which will also do damage anyway.
The final phase of the fight is what really takes the biscuit, as you’re suddenly expected to continue platforming towards the right of the screen, but also constantly turn and shoot to the left. It’s an infuriating balance to wrap your head around, and even the most skilled players will find themselves considering throwing in the towel with Grim Matchstick.
Dr Kahl’s Robot
While some people gave up when they got to Grim Matchstick, Dr Kahl’s Robot is where I originally rage quit for about a year. I rage quit hard, guys. After nearly ten hours spent trying to best this absolute monster, I decided I was never going to finish the game, cursed everyone at Studio MDHR (and their families) and moved on with life.
I eventually returned to the game and beat the mechanical beast, but he’d already done the damage. When I returned to face him on Switch, I did so with a glum sense of duty rather than any actual joy or excitement.
While the first two phases aren’t too bad once you’ve gotten them down (though it takes a while to get the hang of them), it’s the third phase that really urinated on my chips, curried my goat, and made me want to push my own face through a cheese grater.
Phase 3 of Dr Kahl’s Robot involves having to dodge an ungodly amount of projectiles in your jet while still finding ways to do damage, because there are virtually no windows where you’ll able to stop and get a good attack in.
Just to make things harder, there are electric barriers that come from the top and bottom of the screen, limiting your mobility and leaving you open to attacks.
Honestly, Dr Kahl can just do one.