Cuphead: Review of the Fast Rolling Dice Game

When Studio MDHR first revealed Cuphead to the world in 2014, it took the world by storm with its striking classical animation style and rousing big band-style jazz music. Three years later, when it was finally released, it became an instant classic, delivering a mix of retro gameplay and a memorable presentation. Now, as Cuphead’s universe expands further with a dice-based tabletop game, he has huge, cartoon-sized shoes to fill. Cuphead: Fast Rolling Dice Game once again offers a fun adventure through the Inkwell Islands, but fails to capture much of the charm that makes Cuphead so iconic.

What’s in the box

Under the cover you’ll find four large character boards that include Cuphead and Mugman, of course, but also upcoming DLC ​​star Ms. Chalice, as well as Elder Kettle to round out the group. Each has a large character portrait, description, and empty spaces for placing dice and other components throughout the game. Additionally, each character has a matching color set of five action dice and dice. ‘one EX action dice. Each die contains one of six icons on each side: shoot, parry, jump, dodge, duck and a diamond.

A large cardboard cutting board has various tokens made in a style that matches the theme, with a few icons pulled straight from the Cuphead game, such as the timer and HP icons. Underneath you’ll find Boss Deck storage boxes that contain the unique decks needed to take on each of the eight bosses. To complement the boss zone supplies, you’ll find a collapsible boss tray, rotating boss health dial, plastic boss holder, and 30 Wallop cards.

In addition, there are four sealed Super Art envelopes that can only be opened by meeting the specific conditions shown on the outside. Once unlocked, the content can be equipped and used by anyone in the party. Finally, there is a large block of saving sheets that allows you to “save” your game by noting your character, the items equipped and the progress of each of the eight bosses. This system makes it easy to tidy up and pick up where you left off without too much delay.

While not technically in the box, there is also an optional free add-on app available at ios Where Android which can be used to track your time during each round, as well as to calculate your score after completing the final phase of a boss deck. I couldn’t imagine playing without it as it removes a lot of the tedious manual work and even plays a jazz-inspired song on every turn.

Rules and how to play

After reading the rather short instruction manual to familiarize yourself with the flow of the game, you’re good to go. Setup is quick and can be done in minutes. Each player selects his character, collects the corresponding dice and starts with three health tokens. Cuphead: Fast Rolling Dice Game is playable solo or with up to four people, however, each character begins the game with the same amount of health and the starting Peashooter weapon.

Cuphead: Fast Rolling Dice Game features a streamlined campaign that requires players to progress through eight bosses in chronological order. You can only advance to the next boss once you have successfully defeated the previous one. As such, players will begin the fight against The Root Pack using the first boss deck. After successfully completing a boss, players are rated on their performance, from the health of each character to the number of Wallop cards they still have in hand. This scoring system, just like in standard Cuphead, allows for a ton of replayability when trying to score an A + on each boss.

Setup is quick and can be done in minutes.

The general flow of the game takes place in several phases and is relatively easy to understand for new players. Each boss has a number of different phases that players will need to overcome, just like in Cuphead itself. Boss phases use a small section of the larger boss deck, creating smaller decks that are only used during that specific phase and contain unique mechanics to add some flavor to the otherwise standard attack sequence. Once players are ready to begin, three boss cards are turned over and added to the boss table in the order they were revealed. These telegraph the “attacks” the boss will perform during this turn, and players will need to react accordingly once the turn timer begins by rolling their attack dice.

Each boss card revealed during a given turn has one or two icons that correspond to the icons found on the action dice. The goal for players is to roll their dice in quick succession and match the dice images to those icons within the time limit. Each corresponding icon means that they successfully dodge the attack and any resulting damage. If the players are feeling very brave, they can award an extra die to attack the boss, with the aim of reducing his health to zero as quickly as possible.

Although it sounds easy, it depends strongly luckily, and RNG plays a huge role in the overall gameplay. This is really where it deviates from the source material, like in the original Cuphead, you can practice and learn the boss patterns to possibly improve yourself. In this dice game variation, you’re at the mercy of one in six dice rolls every time you roll, with almost no way to actually improve your overall performance unless you roll faster, identify dice icons faster and assign them to your board more efficiently – which isn’t really doable after a certain point.

While Cuphead: Fast Rolling Dice Game is playable solo, it gets slightly easier with each successive player added. Of course, bosses have more health to make up for the extra manpower, but the fact that each character uses the same set of dice means the odds are the same for everyone. This spreads out the variance of the dice rolls and allows for more consistent damage to the boss every turn, which means turns don’t drag on as long and usually end in a win for players. Additionally, characters can be revived quite easily after being knocked out, allowing combat to continue. Some of the bosses sometimes require near-perfect throws, which makes it a much more difficult experience if you plan to play the campaign on your own.

Each round of the boss phase continues until each player or boss loses all of their health. If the boss deck runs out of cards, the party must shuffle the current boss deck to create a new set of random attacks while also collecting a time token, which negatively affects the final grade at the end. After each knockout boss, players move on to the next phase, until they eventually reach the final Knockout! map, where they can collect their loot, receive their final score, and unlock new purchasable items for the store before opening the next boss deck.

Cuphead’s main strategy: Fast Rolling Dice Game uses a risk-reward mechanism similar to Yahtzee’s, but on steroids. As you roll, you have the option of spending as many additional dice as you can afford to attack the boss, limiting the number of future dice you have for the remainder of the turn, reducing your overall chance to roll. block future attacks. It’s those quick moment-to-moment decisions that really make him shine and where we have the most fun.

One of my biggest complaints with this dice game variation, however, is the real bosses themselves. In Cuphead, the boss fights are great shows with magnificent animation, unique mechanics, and always accompanied by a stellar soundtrack. Most of what makes Cuphead so special is missing here, as the boss mechanics are largely the same and boil down to minor variations of the standard rules, or gimmicks like requiring your assigned dice to be stacked on top of each other. others in order to be counted. Obviously, it’s hard to translate an audiovisual experience like Cuphead 1: 1, but much of the charm of the original game is lost here.

What Cuphead: Fast Rolling Dice Game Is it that getting right, however, is the chaos and panic feeling you expect from a bullet-hell style game. Much of it is a fun single player experience that is enhanced with friends, as most games are. If you are a Cuphead fan this is definitely worth a visit. Otherwise, you might find this to be a pretty average dice game with some cool retro artwork on the cards.

Or buy

Cuphead Fast Rolling Dice Game is available now for an MSRP of $ 49.99, although it can be more or less expensive at any retailer.