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This Cuphead clone is causing an uproar

Cuphead is the kind game that is instantly recognizable. When you see it in action, even if you've never played it yourself, you know what you're looking at. You've at least heard about the game's hand-drawn animation, or its jazzy big band soundtrack. And you may even know the team at Studio MDHR spent years getting the art of Cuphead just right; years ensuring the game played as beautifully as it looked.

Which is why the game we're about to show you may confuse you. It looks an awful lot like something that could be a follow-up to Cuphead made by the same team. But it's not. It's an entirely separate project made by an entirely different development studio. And it looks enough like Studio MDHR's bullet hell platformer that folks on YouTube are starting to give the game the wrong kind of attention.

Let us introduce you to Enchanted Portals, the newest game from the team at Xixo Games Studio.

Enchanted Portals appears to have an original enough story. Two children decide to experiment with magic and get a little more than they bargained for, as they're sucked through an "enchanted portal" into a strange new world filled with frog-kissing princesses and mecha-cows. From there, though, things become decidedly more Cuphead, as the game's trailer illustrates. Enchanted Portals appears to be a part of the same bullet hell platforming genre as Studio MDHR's 2017 hit, requiring the same quick reflexes in order to survive its levels and bosses. The game's art style is also clearly inspired by Cuphead, borrowing that title's 1930s cartoon aesthetic and its whimsical animations.

And just listen to the music in the trailer! The big band sound doesn't quite fit the fantasy atmosphere found in Enchanted Portals, but it does sound like something lifted right out of Cuphead.

For what it's worth, the developers at Xixo Games Studio aren't totally blind to the comparisons, with an artist on the game named Gemma telling Polygon, "Yes, of course Cuphead was a huge inspiration for Enchanted Portals." The question is, where do you draw the line between inspiration and straight-up copying the work of others? If you ask many of those commenting on the game's trailer on YouTube, Enchanted Portals is far more on the "ripoff" side of things.

"I Can't Believe its Not Cuphead!" joked one commenter. "This is exactly like [C]uphead. Straight up the same game," wrote another.

Even those with praise to share about the game's art and animation couldn't help but admit that, yeah, this game looks a little too much like Cuphead.

"This is a pretty competent looking bootleg," wrote one person on YouTube. "Well, you get no points for originality, but I'd say it still has as much charm as Cuphead and I appreciate the effort," wrote another user.

So where is Enchanted Portals at currently? As far as we're able to tell, the whole of the experience has not yet finished development. And in fact, the team at Xixo Games Studio actually plans to launch a Kickstarter to help fund and ultimately finish work on Enchanted Portals. That Kickstarter goes live on Oct. 24, so if you're able to see the project as something more than a plagiarized version of Cuphead, you should be able to lend your support to Enchanted Portals on that date.

This whole episode does raise an interesting question, though: why did it take so long for someone to draw inspiration from Cuphead? The game is downright gorgeous, and the way Studio MDHR managed to weave its animation into that bullet hell gameplay... it's extremely impressive. You might recall we asked the same question about The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild when Genshin Impact arrived on the scene. And sure, Genshin Impact goes a little too far with its "inspiration," just as Enchanted Portals does with its Cuphead influence. But why don't we have more games attempting to do what Breath of the Wild and Cuphead did for their respective genres?

We don't want them to look like full-on copies, mind you. But how about releasing games with unique spins that try to push those formulas forward a little bit? We'll always be down to play a Zelda-like or a Cuphead-like. Those are great games! We just don't want to feel like we're playing the store brand knock-offs of the originals when we load them up. Is that too much to ask?

We'll be sure to share more with you on Enchanted Portals as the game's Kickstarter campaign progresses. In the meantime, we'll cross our fingers and hope that the game changes something, anything in order to look a little less like Cuphead.