Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course DLC on Nintendo Switch
It’s been almost five years since Studio MDHR debuted its eye-catching unique 1930s’-inspired Walt Disney and Fleischer Studios-era action-platformer. Snapping up numerous awards, accolades, and critical acclaim back in 2017, Cuphead went on to become an uber-popular indie hit. Now, with the team’s latest, much-anticipated expansion The Delicious Last Course finally here, is it the closing swansong that the titular hero deserves? Or is it a stodgy dessert that will give you the squits? Well, we can 100% confirm right now that it’s definitely not the latter. Phew!
Much like its title suggests, The Delicious Last Course serves as a welcome palate cleanser following the anarchic, balls-to-the-wall action of the original, and whisks players away to a brand new island brimming with nefarious bosses that are hellbent on seeing you pushing up the virtual daisies.
The story is a simple one: our brotherly duo, Cuphead and Mugman, are determined to help out an ol’ pal of theirs, Ms. Chalice, by bringing her back from the dead. Thing is, they need to cook a magical recipe in order for her to cross back over to the other side. This involves setting sail to an unexplored island and — yep, you guessed it — wreaking havoc on the local flora and fauna.
Instead of the 28 bosses found in the base game, your goal this time around is to defeat six bosses in your bid to collect the key ingredients for the magical Wondertart. On paper, that doesn’t sound like much bang for your buck, but I implore you that that’s not the case. In fact, I’d wager that these may be six of the best bosses that the entirety of Cuphead has to offer.
So, let’s get down to brass tacks: what makes these six bosses so appealing and memorable? Well, for starters, this time around, boss encounters have way more diverse and distinct phases. Unlike its 2017 predecessor, where boss levels were largely static, each boss changes dramatically between phases in The Delicious Last Course. Not only does the boss itself switch from, say, a gangster spider to a lounge-singing caterpillar to a giant ant-eater with a snail under its trilby, for example, but the actual environments themselves morph and evolve as you make progress, too.
Floors give way to rising platforms, or perhaps the monstrosity you’re facing will swallow you whole only for you to face the goopy insides of its acid-spewing belly in a final nail-biting phase. Long story short, Studio MDHR employs a number of clever and creative methods to help keep things feeling fresh and to keep players consistently on their toes.
From a gameplay perspective, it’s fair to say that The Delicious Last Course doesn’t reinvent the wheel. After all, this is an expansion of Cuphead and is not intended to be a reinvention of the run and gun, bullet hell-like sub-genre. As a result, what you get is more of the same punishing gameplay that harkens back to the old-school design philosophies of yore.
Indeed, you’ll need every last ounce of your action-platforming muscle memory to be firing on all cylinders because The Delicious Last Course is hard. Like, real hard. Like, trying to eat a diamond gobstopper with a set of dodgy dentures hard. And this is coming from a Cuphead stalwart who’s beaten the base game.
Sure, while the developer has gone on record to say that this DLC will take experienced players “3-4 hours” to beat, I’d say that that’s a very conservative estimate. Frankly, I’ll be straight with you and come clean: it took me more in the realm of three or four times that to reach the final credits of The Delicious Last Course, but maybe I’m just a bit pants, who knows?
Outside of the new Inkwell Isle IV and the new bosses, you’ll also be granted access to a slew of new weapons, charms, and even a new playable character. Yes, Ms. Chalice is available from the start, and thanks to her special abilities, she’s pretty unique. Not only does she have access to a double jump, but she also boasts an invincible roll, a parry dash, and comes replete with four HP instead of the usual three.
Weapons-wise, Crackshot is brand new and is an absolute must, acting in a similar way to the Chaser gun from the base game. Essentially, it hones in on enemies which helps free up your brain to focus on dodging projectiles and manoeuvering the hectic chaos that each level throws at you. Additionally, there are three new Charms, with one tied to a unique mystery for players to discover, as well as a cool Heart Ring that restores HP for every first, third and sixth parry.
Lastly, rounding out the package is a set of challenge gauntlets that ostensibly replace the run and gun levels from the original. In these challenges, you’ll take on various adversaries, but you’ll have to do so without your Charm and weapons. That’s right, these short and sweet mini boss-style levels offer some additional content that rewards you with a few valuable coins for your efforts. Rather than gunning ’em down, though, you’ll be parrying your way to victory instead.
Of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t give a special shoutout to the phenomenal presentation that Studio MDHR has managed to achieve with its latest expansion. The fluid hand-drawn animation is an absolute joy to behold, and the a-cappella barbershop tunes and vintage rhythm and blues-jazz score are simply incredible. While you’re busy flinging your controller in frustration, at least you’ll be tapping your feet to the catchy rhythm of a fabulous symphonic jazz soundtrack!
Ultimately, the new DLC is a great example of quality over quantity and is an easy blanket recommendation for any fans of the original game. Newcomers, however, may want to do their homework before pulling the trigger. Because like the devil at the heart of Cuphead, The Delicious Last Course demands your blood, sweat, and soul… where do we sign up?
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