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5 Challenging Video Games Like Cuphead



You know, it's worryingly easy to get tricked by the pleasantries that Cuphead employs. Thanks to its candy-popping visuals and bundle of charming characters, one can quite easily mistake it for being a family-friendly platformer. But then, you play it, and you realize how sorely mistaken you were about, well—everything. That's Cuphead, and we're unsurprisingly ambivalent about the whole thing.

Of course, if you look past the unfair disadvantages that the game summons, then there's actually a pretty great experience to be had. And if you, like us, find yourself returning in spite of your burning rage, then you'll probably find these five games equally as addictive. So, clear some space in your diary, because you'll definitely want to test your mettle with these unforgiving adventures.

5. Super Meat Boy

Super Meat Boy Teaser Trailer

Bullets, brawn, and a whole lot of trail-blazing. No, it isn't Cuphead. It's Super Meat Boy, a game that will have you firing up the restart button a thousand times over as you claw your way to the apex of aggression. But try not to let that put you off, as a lot of practice can make you learn to love the meaty maniac protagonist. Just don't expect it to be an overnight fling. When you commit—you commit.

Super Meat Boy sounds relatively harmless, but its roots run a lot deeper than most modern platformers. As the little cube of meat, you must fight to save your girlfriend, a bundle of bandages that sits captive on the far end of town. Between you and salvation, however, lies a labyrinth of high-octane bullet storms and death-defying feats. Your only option, really, is to blitz it from beginning to end, trying not to meet a gruesome demise somewhere along the way.


4. Hollow Knight

Hollow Knight - Trailer

Hollow Knight steers clear of confusing you with a false sense of security. Instead of hiding its front, it sports a wide-open chest that bleeds unfair disadvantages and amplified boss encounters. But with that, of course, it does mean you can dive in headfirst without being victimized by trickery. And that works wonders for those who just want a challenge, plain and simple.

Set in Hallownest, Hollow Knight sees you filling the role of a sword-wielding hero as he sets out to forge a legacy of his own. Buried in a vast open world full of decaying utopias and bug-infested caverns, the little legacy-hogger looks to unlock the world's mysteries and become a force to be reckoned with. Spoiler: it's a lot easier said than done.


3. Enter the Gungeon

Enter the Gungeon - Launch Trailer | PS4

Enter the Gungeon is coined as a bullet-hell rogue-lite experience, one which sees you traversing a series of layers in a procedurally generated nexus. As you progress, you stumble upon new and elite types of enemies, most of which can murder you outright just for stepping in the wrong direction at the wrong time.

True to its genre, Enter the Gungeon brings plenty of mindless bullet storms and hellish battlefields to the table. Like Cuphead, it ramps up the difficulty for each passing level, which means your only method of survival is through high-powered weaponry and a courageous, albeit extremely lucky heart.


2. Bleed 2

Bleed 2 - Launch Trailer | PS4

Fans of Cuphead will immediately recognize a thread of features that Bleed 2 employs. Features including but not limited to the bullet-riddled hellhole for a setting. A setting that, like Cuphead, teases you into believing the gameplay is but fun and games, and that no job is too big to swindle.

The shoot 'em up hit boasts its admirable share of daily challenges, randomly-generated areas, and all-powerful bosses. Meshed together, the 2017 arcade powerhouse packs a serious punch that strives for a knockout. A real contender, especially when stacked against some of the other kingmakers of the bullet-hell domain.


1. Hotline Miami (Series)

Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number - Dial Tone Trailer

Say goodbye to bullet sponges, people. You yourself will finally assume the role of the paper-thin protagonist, where a single knock will send you into oblivion. Hotline Miami: it will never forgive you for being bad at video games. It will, however, laugh in your face, ramp up the difficulty, and force you to do it all over again. Sound fun? Meh, I mean it is, to some extent.

If you love bat-wielding thugs in chicken masks, bassy house anthems, and mindless slaughter zones—then Hotline Miami is for you. Although a far cry from Cuphead's art style, it is still as action-packed, and possesses all the same ingredients to induce an all-encompassing rage-heavy headache. But with a little practice, it becomes less of a cyclone and more of a breeze. It's just the case of whether or not you can hold out for the change of season.


So, what's your take? Do you agree with our top five? Let us know over on our socials here or down in the comments below.

Looking for more content? You could always take a look at one of these lists:

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Jord is acting Team Leader at If he isn't blabbering on in his daily listicles, then he's probably out writing fantasy novels or scraping Game Pass of all its slept on indies.