In 2017, Cuphead, by Studio MDHR, has delivered something truly special: a game made with hand-drawn animations to recapture the animation style of the 1930s-40s. Unfortunately, with a very long development time, a DLC seemed like the last thing to come. But that’s what we have. Finally, with the announcement of “The Delicious Last Course”, we were going to have more Cuphead. Turns out the wait for the DLC was definitely worth it.
In “The Delicious Last Course”, you help Mrs. Chalice return to the land of the living. If you recall, Ms. Chalice was the spirit that granted you super skills in the mausoleum challenges. So how are you? By collecting five ingredients for Chef Saltbaker, who can bake a pastry to do just that! So Cuphead, Mugman and Mrs. Chalice embark on a new adventure to kick the bad guys’ ass and save a friend.
The first thing I did in this new DLC was play as Ms. Chalice. She’s not only a new playable character, but actually brings new mechanics to the table. In fact, more of a mechanism than you would normally get from a piece of jewelry. She comes with a shorter jump, a double jump, a dash that is also a parry, a new Super move, four hit points, and an invincible dodge roll. That’s a lot for a piece of jewelry! I haven’t used it much after playing this game as much as Cuphead. Why fix what isn’t broken? But it’s pretty clear that this character is for new players; it’s almost like an “easy mode”.
As for the bosses, there are six new main bosses, a secret boss, and five challenge levels. For comparison, that’s bigger than Island 3 in the main game by a significant margin. The biggest part is that there are no run-and-gun levels. At least from what I’ve experienced (there might be one hidden… waiting). For me, the run-and-gun levels were the worst part of the base Cuphead Game. They were tedious and in some cases felt like an afterthought, even though they had the same TLC as the bosses. This DLC only focuses on bosses. And they are all excellent.
Before explaining why I liked bosses, I want to use a quote to describe my general feelings. Gordon Ramsay of Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares said, “[You] need to let the food speak for itself. This quote refers to a chef who always puts too much on a plate, confusing the flavor profile. Its goal is to keep it simple, and your work will speak for itself. Regarding this DLC, I felt this quote applied to several boss fights where there is only one additional mechanic that prevents these bosses from being perfect. For example, during the final boss, there is a lot of busy screen work. Lots to dodge and lots more telegraphed attacks. But there is only one mechanic who felt very out of place. A flame that bounces around the arena and tilts towards you. All the other well-themed elements speak for themselves without it! But it felt like there was a level of difficulty, the developers needed that extra element to increase it. This was also a fairly common issue I had with multiple bosses throughout the DLC. Not just the final fight.
With that, why did I like bosses so much? Because they all showed that Studio MDHR took everything they learned from the first game and put it into these bosses. All the best and new mechanics are here. On top of all that, they’re even more beautifully animated with that same hand-drawn style that made the original game shine. Particular standouts include The Howling Aces, a literal aerial dogfight, and Esther Winchester, a Wild West-themed bullet hell boss and final boss I don’t want to spoil. Also, instead of mausoleum challenges, there are King’s Leap fights. I loved what they did to create a new parry mechanic test. Like real well thought out bosses that can only be beaten by parry mechanics. These five challenges are major steps up from the tedious Mausoleum challenges.
Finally, new weapons were introduced which I thought were perfect additions. My favorite new weapons and trinkets were Twist-Up, a bubble attack that fires upwards (perfect for air bosses) and the Heart Ring, which gives you a heart for your first, third, and sixth parries. All three new weapons are high skill weapons and are perfect for experienced players who want to challenge themselves with greater rewards. In addition, there is a jewel related to the secret boss that gives us a hard mode beyond the Expert mode. Linking hidden collectibles to secrets like a secret boss for me really shows how well thought out this DLC has been. Beyond the screen color variations, these are real, tangible gameplay changes that reward skill.
Another shining beacon of Cuphead is his music. And they brought it back at eleven o’clock. The sound design is impeccable. Particularly in one fight, The Moonshine Mob, a boss fight about battling bugs, the music is swing style but with all the high pitched vocals as if the bugs are talking to you! It’s little details like this that make Cuphead great, but “The Delicious Last Course” much sweeter. In The Howling Aces, the little dogs that say “bow” while shooting bows are cute (but deadly).
Studio MDHR once again shows that great things happen to those who wait because “The Delicious Last Course” was absolutely worth the wait. Island 4 and everything that comes with it makes an amazing game even better. This DLC is perfect for those who want to see Cuphead to his favorite. There is no fat; there are no fluff. There are only the best parts of Cuphead but much, much more refined. Whatever Studio MDHR does next, I’ll be on the front line if it’s the quality of the content they produce.
Cuphead: the delicious last dish is available now on Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch and PC.
Cuphead: the delicious last dish
Island 4 and everything that comes with it makes an amazing game even better. This DLC is perfect for those who want to see Cuphead to his favorite. There is no fat; there are no fluff. There are only the best parts of Cuphead but much, much more refined.
Mick is a scientist and an avid gamer. When he’s not playing, he loves the latest Disney stuff or playing with his Corgis.