The Cuphead Show! Review



A screengrab from the intro to The Cuphead Show!

Video game adaptations have been given a bad rep thanks to movies such as the 1993 Super Mario Bros and the 1994 Double Dragon. Such movies weren’t very faithful to their source material; however, The Cuphead Show! manages to do it right.

The 12 episode series is based on the 2017 game Cuphead, in which brothers Cuphead and Mugman make a deal with the Devil and ultimately end up losing their souls in a bet Cuphead lost. From there, the brothers make their way through a series of challenging boss battles, collecting soul contracts in an attempt to repay their debt to the Devil.

The Cuphead Show! follows the misadventures of Cuphead (Tru Valentino) and his brother Mugman (Frank Todaro) and their adventures on Inkwell Isle. However, there are many aspects of the game missing in the show, such as the plethora of boss battles, various weapons, and the run-and-gun shooter aspect of the game. Rather, the show focuses on its short stories and dazzling animation that was heavily influenced by the cartoons of the 1930s. The series feels more like an expansion on an already astounding game, with characters now being more driven by their own short stories rather than weapons or boss fights.

Unfortunately, fans wanting nonstop violence and fights galore will probably be disappointed. However, due to the show having moved away from its video game roots, we’ve been given a slapstick comedy that sits right at home with the rest of Netflix’s successful video game adaptations such as Castlevania and Arcane, which are among some of Netflix’s biggest hits. As for The Cuphead Show!, everything from the visuals to the voice acting really gives it an authentic 1930s cartoon feel—even from the way Valentino and Todaro speak with their exaggerated New York accents (and it’s thanks to these voices that many jokes land).

The show currently only has one season consisting of 12 episodes, each lasting around 14 to 17 minutes each. Bosses such as King Dice (Wayne Brady) and The Devil (Luke Millington) appear in the show along with many others. Chad and Jared Moldenhaur, the lead developers of Cuphead, played a huge role in the creation of the show, keeping the authenticity of the world they intended to portray as well as delving into a sort of “Slice of Life” combined with Warner Bros. inspired cartoon slapstick, leaving the result to be something with a broadly appealing audience—entertaining for kids but even adults too can enjoy the charming visuals and goofy jokes.

The Cuphead Show! has something for everyone at the end of the day, whether you’re a fan of the game or saw it while scrolling through Netflix, this series will have you smiling the entire time you’re watching.