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Review

Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course DLC Review

My cup runneth over

2017’s Cuphead made me question a lot of things about myself. I’d been playing games for decades, but be damned if that relentless menace of a game wrapped in an adorable 1930s cartoon aesthetic didn’t have me beat on several occasions. Occasionally I still wake up in a cold sweat as yet another nightmare of the King Dice battle torments me while I sleep. But unlike the games journalist who struggled with the tutorial for 26 minutes, I beat that game fair and square. It’s odd that it’s a lengthy five years later that we’re getting DLC for this infamous boss rush game, but more of a good thing is usually good. But while The Delicious Last Course is indeed as delicious as it is diabolical, it’s also a bite-sized morsel likely to only whet your appetite for punishment rather than fully sate it.

Last cups of sorrow

Our heroic vessels Cuphead and Mugface are called to a new island to aid Ms Chalice, who we discover has been doomed to the ghostly astral plane of the unliving. She is able to rejoin the mortal realm if one of the boys takes a bite of a magical cookie, but at the expense of them swapping places with her. A local baker claims he can cook a Wondertart capable of bringing Ms Chalice back to life permanently, but needs a series of exotic ingredients. It’ll take more than a trip to Aldi though, as the ingredients are held by a series of powerful bosses, because…reasons. If you were expecting Shakespeare from sentient crockery then you will be disappointed, with the narrative being even looser than the original, but at least that one had some good messages about the perils of gambling. Even though the narrative is close to non-existent, it is still a great pretence to introduce us to the wondrous new playable character of Ms Chalice.

Bringing a bit of gender diversity to the team, Ms Chalice can only be used if you equip the Astral Cookie as a charm. This means you are unable to use other charms that you may have become accustomed to (such as ones which increase your hit points or give you a dash with an invincibility window), but this is balanced in a few clever ways. Not only does she start with an extra hit point, Ms Chalice can also double jump or perform a ground-based dodge roll which gives her a window of invincibility. Unlike Cuphead and Mugface, her parry is linked to her dash rather than her jump, meaning she plays completely differently. She is easily my favourite of the three, and the fact you can go back and complete the original game with her is very cool indeed.

Beyond good and evil

…the design and creativity of the boss fights are in a league of their own; the way the utterly unique visuals pairs with the soundtrack to telegraph and highlight danger while upping the tension is nothing short of sublime, consistent with the high bar set in the original.

A less successful addition is the introduction of three new weapons, which are fun enough in terms of novelty but nowhere near useful enough to replace my trusty favourites. Shooting cyclones and multi-directional electric bolts is a good time, but when it comes to the tough business of boss dispatching, the enemy tracking Chaser and hard-hitting Spread are hard to go past. To buy these weapons you’ll need coins, and the game has done away with the side-scrolling platformer sections that normally yield these. Instead, you can take part in chess-flavoured games of skill, which are essentially mini boss fights that strip you of your weapons and make you rely purely on your parry. These battles are a little on the easy side (especially with Ms Chalice), and the Knight fight is a bit of a downer in how predictable and drawn out it is. It’s a cool concept that introduces a puzzle-based element to your classic donnybrook, but I knocked over these five optional fights with little opposition.

In fact, Cuphead’s DLC definitely feels easier than the original. This is very likely to be subjective, and despite its beguilingly cute visuals the game is certainly not a walk in the park, but I defeated the 12 DLC bosses in basically an afternoon. There is of course Expert mode to go after once you’ve cleared the Regular difficulty, but all things said and done The Delicious Last Course left my stomach rumbling when the credits rolled. Still, this is very much more of a good thing, and in general the design and creativity of the boss fights are in a league of their own; the way the utterly unique visuals pairs with the soundtrack to telegraph and highlight danger while upping the tension is nothing short of sublime, consistent with the high bar set in the original.

Castle on a cloud

Final Thoughts

The new things Cuphead’s DLC bring to the table are welcome, though some are more impactful than others. The introduction of a new playable character in the form of Ms Chalice is a raging success, but the new weapons simply weren’t my cup of tea, leaning more on novelty than effectiveness. On the balance of things, perhaps the DLC doesn’t feel like essential playing, but it is nevertheless an example of a stunningly talented studio expanding successfully on a thing of malevolent beauty. If you enjoyed getting your arse kicked by adorable cartoon characters five years ago, then the experience has lost none of its lustre. It’s a light meal, but a tasty one.

Reviewed on Xbox Series X (Xbox One version played) // Review code supplied by publisher

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Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course DLC Review
The Last Supper
A brilliant new playable character makes re-experiencing the beautiful brutality of Cuphead a worthwhile prospect. The expertly designed bosses are a delight, even if the experience ends up being a bit of snack rather than a full meal.
The Good
It's more Cuphead dammit
Ms Chalice is a brilliant addition to the roster
Clever boss design continues the high standards set by the base game – it's tough but fair
The Bad
A little on the lean side
New weapons are moderately fun but completely inessential
Challenge not quite as piquant as the base game
8
Get Around It
  • StudioMDHR
  • StudioMDHR
  • PS4 / Xbox One / Nintendo Switch / PC
  • June 30, 2022

Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course DLC Review
The Last Supper
A brilliant new playable character makes re-experiencing the beautiful brutality of Cuphead a worthwhile prospect. The expertly designed bosses are a delight, even if the experience ends up being a bit of snack rather than a full meal.
The Good
It's more Cuphead dammit
Ms Chalice is a brilliant addition to the roster
Clever boss design continues the high standards set by the base game – it's tough but fair
The Bad
A little on the lean side
New weapons are moderately fun but completely inessential
Challenge not quite as piquant as the base game
8
Get Around It
Written By

Kieran is a consummate troll and outspoken detractor of the Uncharted series. He once fought a bear in the Alaskan wilderness while on a spirit quest and has a PhD in organic synthetic chemistry XBL: Shadow0fTheDog PSN: H8_Kill_Destroy

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