It's been five years since I took on the deceptively adorable, yet soul crushing bullet hell platforming of Cuphead. I still see many of these boss fights in my nightmares, especially the King Dice gauntlet that nearly had me throwing my controller at the wall. Now we're in 2022 and Cuphead is back for more pain, this time in the form of the Delicious Last Course DLC. Of course, a lot has happened in five years. The world's been through a pandemic, my nephew went from high school to starting college, Call of Duty went back to World War 2 (twice, even!), and I've actually gotten better at Cuphead. In fact, to sum up what I thought of the Delicious Last Course, it honestly feels like a throwback to an older era gaming as much as an expansion of the original adventure. Yes, I realize how ironic the use of the word "throwback" is given that we're talking about Cuphead.
The story to the Delicious Last Course is very simple. Cuphead and Mugman have embarked on a trip to DLC island, summoned by their ethereal friend, Ms. Chalice. A kindly baker named Chef Saltbaker believes he has the secret to bringing Chalice to life permanently, so he sends the game's heroes out on a journey to collect the ingredients to the Wondertart.
The story is a mere backdrop for Cuphead to take on a new batch of bosses. Like in the base game, these bosses all have multiple phases and distinct attack patterns. There is little about these battles that is unpredictable, so while certain sequences will seem brutally tough, it's never unfair. It's always possible to adjust your timing, adapt your strategy, and come out on top, just as was the case in the main game.
While most of the fights are straightforward affairs, I did enjoy a few of the battles that got downright creative. There's one specific battle against the Howling Aces (literal dog fighters) that takes place aboard a biplane. The final phase of the battle turns the screen upside-down and sideways, challenging players to not only avoid incoming projectiles, but also navigate the sudden perspective shift.
However, the biggest difference in the Delicious Last Course is the addition of Ms. Chalice as a playable character. In exchange for a Charm slot, Chalice gives players a much better chance of survival. She doesn't make the game easier, because the onus is still on players to recognize enemy attack patterns and do the majority of the legwork. However, Chalice will give players an extra HP (which in Cuphead goes a long, long way), a double jump, a parry dash that's much easier to grasp than the standard Cuphead parry, and an invincibility dodge roll.
For novices, Chalice is fabulous. For veteran Cuphead players who were struggling with the base game, she's going to help get you over the hump... mostly. Plane battles, such as the new battle against Esther Winchester, still feel like a totally different animal that requires a complete change in approach.
Those who enjoyed and have missed the controller-throwing fury of Cuphead will be happy with the Delicious Last Course. It's a wholesome story, features more of the vintage art style that made the original so memorable, and the addition of Ms. Chalice even makes the base game retroactively more accessible. It's an all-too-short affair, but one that serves as a reminder of what a feat Studio MDHR's original effort was.
These impressions are based on a review code provided by the publisher. Cuphead: Delicious Last Course is available now on PC, PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo for $7.99.
Ozzie Mejia posted a new article, Cuphead: Delicious Last Course is a recipe for fun
ha, DLC! I get it!