There are a lot of various techniques in Cuphead, but one that seems to have the masses perplexed is the parry. This article covers the Cuphead parry to give you an idea of how it works, when you should be using it and the best way to use it. In addition to the parry, we’ll also take a look at the Cuphead controls and provide a quick rundown so you can jump straight into the game this weekend. So let’s get right to it and dive into the Cuphead parry, followed by the controls.

How to Parry

The parry in Cuphead is performed by jumping into the air, then pressing the jump button (A by default) while airborne. You’ll see Cuphead swipe down with a slight pink glow on his hand. While this technique is officially called a parry, it acts more like an attack than anything else. A parry will destroy the target when successfully performed.

If you have multiple parry targets very close to one another, you can continually parry one after the other without having to jump again or hit the ground. This works because Cuphead bounces up slightly after a successful parry, allowing you to perform another parry.

It's generally easier to parry enemies that are below or to the right of your character. While you can parry from almost any angle, the timing to parry an enemy above your character or to the left of your character is a bit more strict than a parry to the right or while you're coming down from a jump. Try to angle your jump so that you're moving right or downward when you reach your parry target and you are likely to have a higher success rate.

What to Parry

Cuphead Parry

Almost any pink object can be parried. That means you can parry enemies that are pink, bullets that are pink, or even parts of bosses that are pink. If something in the game has a pink glow or is colored pink, chances are you can parry it. Keep in mind, because Cuphead bounces back into the air after a successful parry, if you’re too close to an enemy you can’t parry, you may bounce into it inadvertently. Be very aware of anything around your parry target before you initiate a parry.

Why Parry?

In addition to clearing an enemy or projectile out of your way, you gain super meter when you perform a parry. If you look in the lower left corner of the screen you’ll see cards building up. That’s your super meter. When you have at least one card you can perform an EX attack. If you have five cards they will start to spin and you can perform a Super Art if you’ve picked one up from a Mausoleum or you’re in an plane stage. A successful parry gives you one full card for your super meter.

In a multiplayer game, you also need to parry your partner's ghost in order to revive them. This is easier than parrying an enemy or projectile, but it's almost more important since it brings your partner back to life.

Since you gain super meter when you perform a successful parry, you can use EX attacks and Super Arts more frequently. This means you can inflict considerably more damage and complete stages and boss battles faster. If you’re trying to earn an A+ or S perfect score, speed will be a significant factor. The faster you can clear stages the closer you are to earning a better score.

There are also boss encounters in which some attacks can only be removed from the screen with a parry. Take the Floral Fury boss for example, when it shoots seedlings into the air, you can only parry the pink seedling, but if you don’t parry it the seedling becomes a pumpkin flower that can cause you trouble later in the fight. Performing a parry on the seedling is the only way to prevent it from becoming a pumpkin flower.

Cuphead Default Controls

Action Button Notes
Dash Y Can be done in the air.
EX Attack B -
Jump A -
Movement Left Analog Stick or D-Pad -
Parry A Must be performed in the air.
Shoot X Hold X for auto-fire. Can be done in the air.
Stationary Fire Hold Right Bumper Prevents movement while you shoot.
Switch Weapon Left Bumper Once a secondary weapon is equipped.

For more on strategies and advice, including more in-depth tips, check out our Cuphead game hub!