Cuphead vs Mario: Who Would Win? – An Expert Analysis

In the gaming world, classic characters like Mario from the Super Mario series have captivated audiences for decades, while newer games like Cuphead have swept players off their feet with unique and challenging game mechanics. Comparing these two iconic characters has been a popular topic among gaming fans, with hypothetical battles pitting their respective abilities against each other. In this article, we explore these matchups and consider which character would reign supreme in a contest of Cuphead vs. Mario.

We’ll examine the fundamental elements that define each character’s abilities and gameplay style, diving into their power-ups, traits, strengths, and weaknesses. By delving into game mechanics and comparing them within a theoretical context, we aim to provide a comprehensive analysis of the two characters’ capabilities and potential outcomes of their confrontations. Additionally, we’ll consider the roles of supporting characters and explore the implications of involving them in these matchups to further explore the dynamics between Cuphead and Mario.

Key Takeaways

  • The article compares the iconic game characters Cuphead and Mario, considering various factors and abilities.
  • An in-depth analysis of game mechanics, power-ups, strengths, and weaknesses is conducted for a thorough understanding of the characters.
  • Theoretical scenarios and the involvement of supporting characters are explored to provide a comprehensive evaluation of potential battles.

Cuphead vs Mario: The Fundamentals

Game Origins

Cuphead is the protagonist of a run-and-gun indie game released in 2017, created by StudioMDHR. The game, inspired by 1930s cartoons, features unique hand-drawn animations and a challenging gameplay that requires precision and strategy.

Mario, on the other hand, is a beloved character in the world of video games who made his debut in the 1981 arcade game Donkey Kong. He has since starred in numerous games, most famously in the Super Mario Bros series created by Nintendo.

Character Design

Cuphead is a humanoid character with a teacup for a head. He is designed with a retro aesthetic, resembling the animations of the 1930s. Cuphead has a distinctively cartoonish look with signature white gloves and a straw poking out of his head.

Mario is a short, mustachioed Italian plumber with a red hat and overalls. His design, created by Shigeru Miyamoto, has become iconic in the gaming world. Mario’s appearance has evolved over the years but remains easily recognizable.

Powers and Abilities

Cuphead and Mario both possess unique powers and abilities that set them apart:


  • Can shoot various projectiles from his finger gun (earned through game progression) such as the Peashooter, Spread, etc.
  • Uses parrying to deflect enemy attacks and gain energy for various abilities in the form of “Supers”
  • Equips Charms to modify abilities or grant passive effects
  • Dash ability allows rapid horizontal movement to avoid obstacles and enemies


  • Can jump high and stomp on enemies to defeat them
  • Access to power-ups such as the Super Mushroom, Fire Flower, and Super Star grant temporary abilities like increased size, shooting fireballs, and invincibility
  • In some games, Mario can gain abilities from suits or items like the Raccoon Suit (allowing him to fly) or the Hammer Suit (allowing him to throw hammers)

Cuphead and Mario’s respective abilities often depend on the games they appear in. Though both characters excel in their abilities, the outcome of a battle between them is subjective and left to the imagination of fans.

Key Power-Ups and Traits

In this section, we will discuss the key power-ups and traits that Cuphead and Mario possess, which would play a crucial role in determining the winner in a hypothetical battle between the two characters.

Cuphead’s Power-up Arsenal

Cuphead is known for his diverse range of shots, charms, and supers that he can switch instantly whenever necessary. His power consists of:

  • Peashooter: Cuphead’s basic weapon with a standard range and damage.
  • Spread: A short-range weapon with high damage output.
  • Chaser: Homing projectiles that target enemies automatically but deal less damage.
  • Lobber: A weapon that fires powerful, bouncing projectiles.
  • Charge: A powerful shot that charges up over time for more damage.
  • Charms: Cuphead has access to various charms that grant him special abilities such as extra health, invincibility, or faster move speed.
  • Supers: Powerful abilities like the Energy Beam, which fires a strong laser, or the Invincibility Super, providing temporary invulnerability.

Mario’s Iconic Power-ups

Mario’s arsenal of power-ups is centered around his iconic abilities from the first three Super Mario Bros. games. These include:

  • Super Mushroom: Transforms Mario into Super Mario, increasing his size and allowing him to break blocks and take more hits.
  • Fire Flower: Gives Mario the ability to throw fireballs.
  • Starman: Grants Mario temporary invincibility and increased speed.
  • Raccoon Leaf: Transforms Mario into Raccoon Mario, giving him the ability to fly and attack enemies with his tail.
  • Frog Suit: Allows Mario to swim faster and more efficiently underwater.
  • Hammer Suit: Equips Mario with a hammer attack capable of defeating powerful enemies.
  • Tanooki Suit: Similar to the Raccoon Leaf but also allows Mario to turn into a statue, providing temporary invulnerability.

Both Cuphead and Mario have unique power-ups and traits that can greatly impact their battle performance. Cuphead has a more versatile arsenal with various shots, charms, and supers, whereas Mario’s power-ups provide distinctive advantages in specific situations. The abilities of these characters make for an interesting, intense, and unpredictable match-up.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Cuphead’s Strengths and Weaknesses

Cuphead boasts a range of impressive abilities and combat skills as a result of his many battles against various powerful bosses. Some of his strengths include:

  • Projectile attacks: Cuphead can shoot bullets from his hands, giving him a useful long-range advantage.
  • Parry moves: He has the ability to parry certain enemy projectiles or objects, which can help him during combat.
  • Transformation: His supers allow him to transform and enhance his abilities momentarily, providing additional power.
  • Familiarity with bosses: Cuphead’s experience against many bosses grants him an advantage in understanding their patterns and weaknesses.

However, Cuphead also has some weaknesses, such as:

  • Limited health: He has fewer hit points compared to other fighters, making him more vulnerable to damage.
  • Relying on upgrades: Cuphead may need to rely on upgrades to increase his power, potentially causing him to struggle against stronger opponents.

Mario’s Strengths and Weaknesses

Mario’s long and storied gaming history has provided him with many different power-ups and abilities. His strengths include:

  • Versatility: Mario has an extensive range of abilities, such as jumping high, spitting fireballs, and flying, which can be beneficial in combat.
  • Experience: Mario has fought against various opponents, from standard enemies to powerful bosses, thus gaining valuable experience.
  • Power-ups: His many power-ups provide Mario with a significant advantage against his foes.
  • Durability (DUR): With a greater number of hit points, Mario can take more damage before being defeated.

However, like Cuphead, Mario has a few weaknesses to consider:

  • Losing power-ups: Mario loses his power-ups when hit, which can leave him significantly weaker during battle.
  • Dependency on power-ups: Mario often depends on power-ups to succeed, and without them, he may struggle against more powerful characters.

Both Cuphead and Mario exhibit notable strengths and weaknesses in battle, thus providing an interesting comparison for their potential matchups.

Game Mechanics Comparison

Cuphead’s Gameplay Style

Cuphead is a run-and-gun style game, featuring hand-drawn animations with a vintage-cartoon art style. The gameplay primarily consists of shooting at various enemies and overcoming obstacles through precise jumps, slides, and other movements, including a dash ability. The game heavily emphasizes battles with numerous bosses, each with unique patterns, attacks, and phases.

Players take control of Cuphead or his sidekick Mugman and can utilize a variety of weapons and abilities, including:

  • Various shots (e.g. Peashooter, Spread, Chaser, etc.)
  • Charms that grant passive abilities (e.g. extra health, auto-parry, etc.)
  • Super Arts that provide powerful attacks or abilities

Players can also acquire coins throughout the game to purchase new weapons and abilities, adding to the strategic aspect of gameplay.

Mario’s Gameplay Style

The Mario franchise, specifically the Super Mario Bros. series, presents a platforming gameplay style, where players control Mario or his brother Luigi as they traverse various levels filled with obstacles, enemies, and power-ups. The primary goal in each level is to get to the flagpole at the end, while collecting coins, power-ups, and defeating enemies along the way.

Mario’s iconic abilities include jumping on enemies to defeat them, as well as using a variety of power-ups that grant him new abilities, such as:

  • Super Mushroom: Allows Mario to grow larger and take an extra hit without losing a life.
  • Fire Flower: Grants the ability to shoot fireballs at enemies.
  • Super Leaf: Provides Mario with a raccoon suit, allowing him to fly and spin attack.
  • Super Star: Provides temporary invincibility.

While not as focused on boss battles as Cuphead, Mario games do occasionally feature boss encounters, often involving the franchise’s main antagonist, Bowser. These battles usually require players to use their platforming and power-up skills to defeat the boss and progress through the game.

Both Cuphead and Mario offer unique gameplay experiences that test players’ skills in different ways. The primary differences lie in the focus on shooting and boss encounters in Cuphead, compared to the platforming level-based structure in the Super Mario Bros. games.

Theoretical Battles and Fan Input

Reddit Whowouldwin Archived Post

In an archived Reddit post on the “whowouldwin” subreddit, users discussed a theoretical battle between Mario and Cuphead. The thread attracted various opinions, with some supporting Mario and others for Cuphead. Some users cited their respective abilities, power-ups, and transformations as decisive factors in the fight. To maintain neutrality and avoid making exaggerated claims, it’s essential not to rely solely on this source as the definitive answer.

Superhero Database: SHDB Stats and Tier System

The Superhero Database (SHDB) offers a comprehensive comparison of characters based on different statistics and tier systems. The SHDB uStats, an additional feature, provides users with a tool to create their own character profiles and calculate their power levels.

  • Tier Calculation:
    • Super Power Score (SPS): The total score of a character’s powers.
    • Super Power Level (SPL): This score is determined by comparing a character’s SPS with the database.
    • SHDB Class: An assigned tier based on the SPL ranging from 10-100.
    • Traits: various characteristics of the character

Based on the SHDB, Mario and Cuphead can be compared by examining their SPS, SPL, and SHDB Class. The SHDB also includes user-contributed information, with users such as raerae22, dcm, and unusof2029 adding valuable input. This data can provide a better understanding of each character’s strengths, weaknesses, and abilities during a fight.

Keep in mind, this fictional battle between Mario and Cuphead is subject to change depending on the chosen characters’ iterations and fan interpretation. Furthermore, utilizing sources like the archived Reddit post or the SHDB can help make an informed, balanced judgement, but there is no definitive answer to who would win between Mario and Cuphead in a hypothetical fight.

Involving Supporting Characters

Cuphead’s Allies

Mugman, Cuphead’s brother, is a crucial character in the game. He shares many abilities with Cuphead, such as shooting, parrying, and using supers. The main difference between the two characters is their appearance, with Mugman having a blue color scheme. When playing in co-op mode, Mugman can assist Cuphead in taking on difficult bosses by:

  • Dealing additional damage to enemies
  • Reviving Cuphead when he goes down, provided Mugman can parry his ghost in time
  • Utilizing power-ups and supers to help overcome challenges

In a hypothetical battle between Cuphead and Mario, Mugman’s presence would primarily serve to amplify Cuphead’s offense and provide extra support during tough encounters.

Mario’s Allies

Luigi, Mario’s brother, is his most prominent ally. Luigi is similar to Mario in several respects; both are platforming experts and possess various power-ups to aid them. Luigi typically has higher jumps and a slightly different running style, but the core moves are shared between the siblings. In a fight, Luigi would contribute by:

  • Attacking foes with fireballs, hammers, and other power-ups
  • Assisting Mario with platforming challenges using his superior jumping abilities
  • Providing extra damage output and helping Mario handle enemies more efficiently

When considering a showdown between Cuphead and Mario, the involvement of supporting characters like Mugman and Luigi would bring additional complexity to the battle. Although the main focus may be on Cuphead and Mario, their respective allies can make significant contributions to their team’s success. While it’s difficult to predict the exact outcome, it’s clear that teamwork and coordination would be essential factors in determining the victor.

Conclusion and Evaluation

In the battle between Cuphead and Mario, both characters possess unique abilities that could significantly affect the outcome of the fight. Cuphead starts with a standard shooter and dash from the beginning of the game, allowing him to maintain distance and avoid direct combat with Mario. On the other hand, Mario has numerous power-ups at his disposal that could level the playing field, such as Fire Flowers and Super Mushrooms.

When both characters are bloodlusted, the battle becomes even more intense. Mario’s powerful abilities, coupled with his vast experience in battles and platforming, suggest that he might have the upper hand in close-range combat. However, Cuphead’s agility and ranged attacks could keep Mario on his toes.

Analyzing comments and votes from various forums and discussions, it seems that the majority of people believe Mario would be the likely winner in this fight. Nevertheless, some argue that Cuphead has a fair chance when considering their unique abilities and fighting styles.

To summarize, while Mario appears to have an advantage due to his vast array of power-ups and experience, Cuphead’s skill set should not be underestimated. The outcome of the fight could be determined by the specific power-ups used and the strategies employed by each character. In the end, the battle between Cuphead and Mario is a thrilling matchup with many factors to consider – making it a popular subject of debate among gaming enthusiasts.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do Cuphead and Mario’s abilities compare?

Cuphead has a range of shooting abilities and the ability to parry on pink objects. Mario, on the other hand, is known for his jumping skills, as well as a variety of power-ups that provide different abilities, such as flight and fireball throwing.

What are the main differences between Cuphead and Mario’s games?

Cuphead is primarily a run-and-gun game, featuring intense boss fights and challenging platforming levels. Mario’s games are known for their expansive worlds and platforming adventures, filled with secrets and a wide variety of enemies.

What are the strengths and weaknesses of Cuphead and Mario?

Cuphead’s strengths lie in his ranged shooting abilities, which allow him to take on enemies from a distance. However, his lack of movement versatility may put him at a disadvantage in certain situations. Mario has a diverse set of power-ups, granting him enhanced movement and a variety of abilities. However, without these power-ups, his abilities are rather limited.

How do the skill sets of Cuphead and Mario differ?

Cuphead’s skill set is focused on shooting and parrying, while Mario’s skill set revolves around jumping, platforming, and utilizing power-ups. These different skill sets could lead to a variety of outcomes in a hypothetical battle.

What elements of their respective worlds would impact the outcome?

Elements like the presence of enemies, power-ups, and environmental hazards could significantly impact the outcome of a Cuphead vs. Mario battle. Factors such as terrain and the specific abilities available to each character at the time would also play a crucial role.

Has there been any crossover content between Cuphead and Mario?

As of now, there hasn’t been any official crossover content between Cuphead and Mario. However, fan-based content and discussions, such as Reddit’s r/whowouldwin, often explore the possible outcomes of such a fight.

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