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Cuphead is due out in just a couple of days, and we have a preview build for Xbox One and PC. StudioMDHR is rolling its platformer out September 29, and we’ll have a review around that time. For now, however, we can share some video footage of the first handful of stages, and you can see why GamesBeat lead writer Dean Takahashi found it so challenging and inspired rage in the process.

In the video above, I spend nearly 40 minutes in the first world of Cuphead. This gave me a chance to explore the tutorial, the first Contra-like run-‘n’-gun stage, and multiple boss fights. The basic setup is that our heroes, Cuphead and Mughead, end up owing their souls to the devil and must pay off that debt by collecting souls for the horned villain. This is the fiction that explains why most stages are extended boss-fight sequences without much running or gunning.

Most people won’t come to Cuphead because of its story or concept, though. StudioMDHR has made a name for this game through its stunning visual style that mimics the look and feel of early Hollywood animation. The developer maintains that motif throughout Cuphead. Enemies explode in flashes of cartoon smoke and stars. In a boss fight, one of the giant toad enemies winds up his arm with a whirl before hurling fireballs at you. The effects even add faux scratch streaks to give you the sense that you’re playing on aged celluloid.

We’ll have more on Cuphead soon.

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