Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course DLC Review

Contributed by DJMMT

Though I loved Cuphead, I have never had any interest in replaying it. That’s true for most of the games I play, as I’m always backlogged anyway. But I especially have no interest in replaying games that I thought were unbearably difficult. There are plenty of games I have replayed over the course of my life. None of them have been games that I felt were notably hard for me to beat; and Cuphead certainly falls into that category. But I was super happy to hear that Studio MDHR had decided to release DLC for the game with additional boss fights.

The Delicious Last Course consists of six story bosses, an additional five bonus bosses, and a secret hidden boss. I was able to complete all these bosses in about nine hours’ time. The hardest boss for me took almost two hours, most of them took me around an hour, and the bonus bosses, for the most part, went pretty fast. Considering that I paid $8 for the DLC, as I bought it on sale, I think the price was fair enough. $5 would probably be the perfect spot, but I don’t feel like I was cheated at $8. While I won’t replay the DLC, or the main game, I will acknowledge that this content does have a lot of replay value, if you want it to. Weapon types and the addition of Miss Chalice as a playable character are the main reasons for this potential for replay, but again that sort of thing doesn’t interest me personally.

In my opinion, the bosses in this DLC felt easier than those of the main game. I don’t know if that’s actually true or if I just felt more confident going into the DLC than I did with the base game. What I can say is that it took me way less time to beat all the bosses in the DLC even when scaling for the number of them. Even if they really are easier, I don’t consider them inferior boss fights. I enjoyed all of them a lot and feel that they delivered the same, or even a superior, level of care in terms of the presentation, art style, and music quality. Studio MDHR are true masters of tying the whole theme of each level together. For instance, one of the new bosses is based on the theme of executions. This was probably my favorite boss in the DLC as far as the art of the level.

It's a tower that has taken on the form of a humanoid being carrying an executioner’s axe. At the start of the fight, he’s literally dreaming of a guillotine that has taken on the form of a woman. The fight consists of decapitated heads flying towards you as you lob them back via parries. The heads are based on famous aristocrats that were executed such as Mario Antoinette. The boss’ additional attack is sparks shot forward as he sharpens his axe on a grindstone.  The heads even change expression when you hit them back towards the boss. These types of smaller details are what I really love about the art style of the game. And there are so many great examples.

In the DLC, there are a number of opportunities to get additional coins and buy more items. But honestly, I mostly stuck with the same build that I ended the base game with. With the exception of the bonus bosses, you use the same fundamental skills and playstyles that you used to bring down the bosses in the original game. There’s no reinventing the wheel here, and that’s a good thing. With the bonus bosses, they created a special challenge that removes your ability to use weapons and charms. These fights are strictly limited to using the parry ability to attack. It’s a nice twist to the formula and worked very well as a bonus experience after completing the DLC’s seven story boss fights. Though I will note that the bonus fights give you most of the coins you can get in the DLC, so if you want to make coins early and buy new items, then you should hit the bonus bosses as early as possible. It should be noted that while the bonus bosses require a different style of play, they are not technically easier or shorter fights. They just don’t require/allow you to use your guns to beat them.

The newest addition to the gameplay is the ability to use Ms. Chalice. In exchange for your charm bonus, she gives you a double jump ability and starts the fight with four hearts. You actually equip her as a charm and can use her at any time without having to exit the game as you would to switch between Cuphead and Mugman. Personally, I did not like her gameplay. I have heard other people comment that they think she’s very good and makes the game easier, but I could not use her effectively. While she does have a double jump, her base jump is much smaller. I found it very difficult for me to adjust to the new jump heights. Also, the double jump ability often throws off my ability to parry. When I’m trying to parry, I’m often a tad early and end up double jumping rather than parrying as intended. I much prefer sticking to Cuphead and using either the Coffee or Heart Ring charms. The Heart Ring is one of three new charms made available for purchase with coins in the DLC. There are also three new weapons, but I stuck to the tried and tested Peashooter and Chaser combo. For some of these fights, I genuinely don’t think I could have beaten them without the Chaser.

As for the secret hidden boss, I didn’t actually know about it until after I thought I had finished the DLC completely and had already started writing this review. I had to go back and unlock it by using a guide. Unlocking the fight isn’t difficult so much as it’s hard to figure out on your own. Honestly, I would not have discovered this fight without the internet. Someone actively looking for extra things like that could figure it out pretty easily, but a casual player would never have found it. The boss fight itself isn’t hard so much as it’s different. It only has one phase, but the way it operates is like no other boss in the game. Really that’s the most impressive part about The Delicious Last Course. It’s not how hard the new content is or isn’t that matters. It’s how innovative it is when compared to the base game. What Studio MDHR showed here is that there are numerous possibilities for other games and challenges with this core gameplay. The DLC showed me the potential for Cuphead to expand into a whole host of games that are all part of the same universe and built on the same foundation but operate in totally different spaces.

Ultimately, I thought this DLC was great. It captured everything I loved about the original Cuphead experience and removed those annoying Run & Gun levels, because they are the absolute worst and I have no interest in playing any more of them. Going into additional Cuphead boss fights with a sense of confidence already in place made the experience way more accessible and less daunting. But as a result, I do feel like it made me burn through the whole thing much faster. It’s the same amount of content as any of the previous islands in the game, save for the final one, but I blazed through this final island by comparison to my experience with the first ones. I also didn’t feel as much fatigue after each boss fight. With the base game, each boss was its own session and day of play. I might spend hours on one boss fight and then once it was finally completed I was just done. With The Delicious Last Course, the first two fights I did left me ready to stop afterwards but the rest of them I was able to keep going after winning the fight. I actually ended up doing the last two story boss fights and all the bonus boss fights all in the same evening. But again, I don’t consider this a flaw of the DLC. Not having to struggle to the point of wanting to throw my controller was more enjoyable for me. Not less. I will note that I played all the fights on regular difficulty, but there is still an expert difficulty for those who want more of a challenge.

As the name suggests, The Delicious Last Couse was quite tasty. I would absolutely play a Cuphead 2 or other games built out of this IP. There is a lot of potential here and I hope to see more from this team. My compliments to the chefs.

XPG Terrence

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