Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course certainly lives up to its name. If the base game can be viewed as a hearty meal, its DLC is the sweet dessert at the end that makes the entire experience feel whole and complete. It’s been five years since the original Cuphead humbled even the most skilled of players with its brutal boss battles. The Delicious Last Course is certainly short and sweet, but developer Studio MDHR has clearly prepared this tasty morsel with love and care.
The Delicious Last Course expands the base game with a new island, but it won’t be fair to call it “Cuphead, but more.” MDHR has streamlined the experience overall, offering up tougher but even more memorable boss fights. A bug mafia, an abominable snowman, a cowgirl, who’s quite literally a cow, are all new foes you have to defeat in order to reach your goal. All the while, new musical tracks keep your arms waving.
And each fight is superb. Cuphead was quite famous for its enthralling boss encounters, and The Delicious Last Course will easily be remembered for the same. I was fighting for my life, but it felt so damn fun. A standout for me is Glumstone the Giant, who brings ball-tossing hand puppets and an army of small gnomes to the brawl.
It’s going to be a Knockout
Naturally, every battle is tough as nails. If you’ve played the original game, know that the DLC bosses will be some of the most difficult scraps yet. They meet or surpass many of the hardest fights in the base game. If you haven’t yet beaten The Devil in Cuphead, you should do that before making your way to the new island. It’d be good practice.
Each boss fight feels more desperate than many of those in the original three islands. One of the top reasons being projectiles. My god, the projectiles. Your ability to dodge will be put to the test. The cowgirl boss battle is especially a standout in this regard, with flying dynamite sticks, tiny flying horses, snake oil, and gold coins all vying to knock your tiny plane from the sky. More than once while playing the DLC, I exclaimed, “What the in the hell even hit me?” To be clear, I never once felt that any one fight was unfair. Like with the original, each defeat is a learning moment, and soon enough I was ducking and weaving like a champ. That is, until the next fight.
It helps that you have the power of the Legendary Chalice to get you through. Yes, a primary draw of The Delicious Last Course is the ability to play as Cuphead and Mugman’s spectral ally from the original. Equipping a magical cookie in the Charm slot, Ms. Chalice gets tagged into battles. Playing as Ms. Chalice means giving up one of your Charms, but she makes up for it with her new skills.
She has more moves than her kitchenware counterparts. Ms. Chalice has a double jump and a dodge roll with invincibility frames. Her parry is an air dash that gives her another chance to jump after parrying. With her new moves, Ms. Chalice is far acrobatic than her allies. I can’t necessarily say that she makes the fights any easier, but her abilities do open up more options.
The one-eyed shop owner Porkrind also has more wares for sale. There are three more weapons and two Charms for sale. The Heart Ring gives a single health point for every one, third, and sixth successful parry, and Converge is a three-way shot of yellow electricity that narrows when you fire while your movement is locked down. My favorite of the new weapons has to be the Crackshot, a red diamond that breaks into a smaller projectile that tracks enemies. It’s perfect when you want to take aiming out of the guesswork.
You call that a challenge?
I mentioned before that the developer streamlined the experience in the DLC, and that’s because there aren’t any 2D platforming sections. I’ll admit, theses levels were my least favorite sections in the original Cuphead. And I know I’m not alone in that belief. They’ve been replaced with The King’s Leap, a floating castle in the sky with five challenging boss fights.
What makes The King’s Leap challenges so interesting is that they don’t allow you to use your weapons. Instead, you battle only with the parry. Each encounter has you facing enemies with a glowing, pink weak point you have to smack until they’re defeated. With no weapons, the fights are more tactical. You must patiently watch for certain moves or carefully dodge while waiting for the chance to strike. One such fight pits you against a horse knight with a pink mohawk, who broadcasts his moves and taunts you. Slowing down and waiting for the chance to strike is the only way to win. Beating each challenge rewards you with coins, which you can, of course, spend at Porkrind’s shop.
The challenges are a lot of fun. I certainly enjoyed grinding through each boss battle over the platforming levels from before. In fact, I didn’t expect to like them nearly as much as I did.
With six new bosses and a handful of challenges, The Delicious Last Course is a satisfying conclusion for the excellent Cuphead. The new bosses are some of the most imaginative yet; all of them were a joy to wallop. For most players, it’ll take roughly 3-5 hours to complete. Finishing up allows you to replay the boss battles at the hardest difficulty, just in case you didn’t get enough abuse.
There is some bitter with this sweet, however. The DLC may be the last we see of Cuphead and friends. But even if Studio MDHR decides to pull the curtains on Cuphead, it does so with aplomb. The Delicious Last Course may be the final bite, but it’ll be savored for years to come.
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