Cuphead's gameplay is centered around continual boss fights, with interspersed run and gun levels. Each of these boss fights and run and gun levels are housed in three different worlds, with the final one being against the Devil himself. The game also includes role-playing elements, and a branching level sequence. Cuphead has infinite lives, maintaining all equipment between deaths. The player can purchase weapons and "Charms" (special abilities) from the shop using coins collected from the run-and-gun levels. Player characters feature a parry attack that can be used on certain objects marked in pink, to various effects, the most important of them being increasing a "super meter" that enables more powerful attacks.
After completing a level, the player will be ranked with a grade based on their performance, through factors such as the time taken to defeat a boss, damage avoided, and number of parried attacks. The levels are accessible through a top-down perspective overworld with its own secret areas. The game also has a two-player local cooperative mode.
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