DLC REVIEW: ‘Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course’ Is a Lean Cuisine (PC)

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Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course

In 2017, Cuphead, by Studio MDHR, delivered something truly special—a game made with hand-drawn animations to recapture the 1930-40s animation style. Unfortunately, with a very long development time, a DLC felt like it’d be the last thing to come. But that’s what we got. Finally, with the announcement of “The Delicious Last Course,” we were going to get more Cuphead. It turns out that the wait for the DLC was absolutely worth it.

In “The Delicious Last Course,” you’re helping Ms. Chalice return to the land of the living. If you remember, Ms. Chalice was the spirit who awarded you super skills in mausoleum challenges. So how do you go about this? By collecting five ingredients for Chef Saltbaker, who can make a pastry to do just that! So, Cuphead, Mugman, and Ms. Chalice go on a new adventure to kick baddie butts and save a friend.

The first thing that I did in this new DLC was play as Ms. Chalice. She’s not just a new playable character but actually brings new mechanics to the table. Actually, more than just one mechanic that you’d normally get from a trinket. She comes with a shorter jump, a double jump, a dash that’s also a parry, a new Super move, four health, and an invincible dodge roll. That’s a lot for one trinket! I didn’t use her much after playing so much of this game as Cuphead. Why fix what isn’t broken? But it’s pretty clear that this character is for newer 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, this is bigger than Island 3 in the main game by a hefty margin. The greatest part though is there are no run-and-gun levels. At least from what I’ve experienced (there could be a hidden one… waiting). To 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 focuses just on the bosses. And they’re all excellent.

Before I get into why I loved the bosses, I want to use a quote to describe my overall feelings. Gordon Ramsay from Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares said, “[You] need to let the food speak for itself.” This quote references a chef who always puts too much on a plate, confusing the flavor profile. His point 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 just one extra mechanic that keeps those bosses from being perfect. For instance, during the final boss, there is a lot of busy work on the screen. Lots to dodge and a lot more attacks being telegraphed. But there is just one mechanic that felt very out of place. A flame that bounces around the arena and angles itself towards you. All the other well-themed elements speak for themselves without it! But it felt like to meet a standard of difficulty, the developers needed that extra element thrown in to ratchet it up. This was a fairly common issue I had with several bosses throughout the DLC too. Not just the final fight.

With that, why did I like the 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 mechanics and new ones are here. On top of all that, they are even more beautifully animated with that same hand-drawn style that made the original game shine. Particular standouts include The Howling Aces, a literal dogfight with dogs, and Esther Winchester, a bullet hell boss that’s Old West-themed, and the final boss that I don’t want to spoil. Plus, instead of the mausoleum challenges, there are King’s Leap fights. I loved what they did to create a new test for parry mechanics. Like, actual well-thought-out bosses that can only be beaten by parry mechanics. All five of these challenges are major step-ups from the tedious mausoleum challenges.

Finally, new weapons were introduced that I felt were perfect additions. My favorite of the new weapons and trinkets were Twist-Up, a bubble attack that shoots upwards (perfect for aerial bosses), and the Heart Ring, which gives you one 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. Plus there is a trinket tied to the secret boss that gives us a hard mode beyond Expert mode. Tying hidden collectibles to secrets like a secret boss to me really shows how much thought went into this DLC. Beyond screen color variations, these are actual tangible gameplay changes that rewards skill.

One other shining beacon of Cuphead is its music. And they took it to eleven again. The sound design is impeccable. Particularly in one fight, The Moonshine Mob, a boss fight about fighting bugs, the music is swing style but with all the voices high pitched like the bugs are talking to you! Little details like this are what make Cuphead great, but “The Delicious Last Course” that much sweeter. In The Howling Aces, the smaller dogs saying “bow”  while shooting out bows is cute (yet deadly).

Studio MDHR shows once again that great things come to those who wait because “The Delicious Last Course” was absolutely worth the wait. Island 4 and all that comes with it make an amazing game even better. This DLC is perfect for those who want to see Cuphead at its best. There is no fat; there is no fluff. There are only the best parts of Cuphead but much, much more refined. Whatever comes next from Studio MDHR, I’ll be first in line if this is the quality of content they produce.

Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course is available now on Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch, and PC.

Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course
  • 9.5/10
    Rating - 9.5/10


Island 4 and all that comes with it make an amazing game even better. This DLC is perfect for those who want to see Cuphead at its best. There is no fat; there is no fluff. There are only the best parts of Cuphead but much, much more refined.

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