Cuphead has returned with their Delicious Last Course, or DLC for short, 5 years after the initial release of the beautiful, yet punishing original game. You can tell the love Studio MDHR has for the design and gameplay as the Delicious Last Course is just as lovingly crafted and evil in equal measure. Cuphead isn’t going to be for everyone, but the development team have added a few helpers here to make the game slightly more player friendly. If you loved Cuphead, then you’ll love this DLC. If it wasn’t your thing, then this probably won’t change your mind.
Originally the Delicious Last Course was planned for 2019, then we all know what happened with Covid and game delays. When I first sat down with the game I did spend some minutes considering whether this was going to be for me, after a year of tough games like Sifu and Elden Ring, did I really want to get beaten up over and over again? That feeling went away very shortly after I downloaded the game and started playing. Yes, it’s tough, yes, you’re going to die a lot, but ultimately here there is a lot of satisfaction. The gameplay is one part of that, the aesthetic is another.
As far as the story goes, Cuphead and Mugman discover a way to cross the river in the main game and get delivered to the new island where the DLC is set. There Ms Chalice appears and tempts Cuphead and Mugman to eat a cookie. Mugman literally bites and takes the cookie to eat. He dies and Ms Chalice replaces Mugman. This was a trick to restore Ms Chalice back to life. Unfortunately, the effects of the cookie don’t last too long, and they swap back places. Under the advice of a local baker, they set off together to find the ingredients to make the effects last longer, so Ms Chalice can live again. The objectives are then laid out; together we have to collect the ingredients for this magical new Wondertart to permanently restore Ms Chalice. These ingredients are guarded by some of the toughest challenges in video games, so off we go and it’s good luck to everyone.
Ms Chalice offers up new ways to play Cuphead. When we meet, she’ll give you a new charm, which when equipped allows Cuphead or Mugman to play as Ms Chalice. She controls very differently from our previous protagonists in that she has a double jump, mid-air dodge and an invincible ground-roll. Plus she has one more piece of energy, meaning you can take more hits. Put all these new abilities together and this makes Chalice pretty powerful. I hadn’t played Cuphead since it originally came out, so I had to re-learn everything, which may have been a blessing in disguise, as she does play very different from Cuphead and Mugman. I imagine if you were going directly from one to the other, it would be jarring.
It’s worth going back to check out Ms Chalice’s abilities and how they fair against the previous levels in the original game. If, like me, you found Cuphead to be a painful task, then Chalice may help out with the earlier levels too. She isn’t going to be the magic bullet that will help you beat levels, but she just might help. The original Cuphead levels haven’t been modified to take into account Ms Chalice’s abilities, in particular, the double-jump comes in very handy.
There are 6 new bosses in the DLC, and depending on how many times it takes to beat them all, it’s going to take anywhere between a few hours to about ten to beat the whole thing. I think this is great value, given the DLC is £6.99 here in the UK, which costs about the same as a coffee and a snack from Starbucks or Cafe Nero, or maybe a cheap lunch. It’s also very easy to dive into the DLC immediately. You have to complete a couple of simple tasks, then you get offered a ride to the new DLC island, and off you go with the new content.
This is great, especially in comparison with something like Monster Hunter Rise, where you have to play approx 20-30 hours to get to the new content. This is all down to personal preference, of course, you could argue that given it’s DLC then you would expect players to have played through the whole thing. I do like the way Studio MDHR has implemented this though, as players may have put down Cuphead for a few years, perhaps they didn’t finish the original and want to jump in for the DLC.
The boss fights have a simple and regular difficulty. I found it tough jumping directly into regular difficulty, given I’d pretty much forgotten the original game after all these years. Jumping into simple allowed me to get to grips with the fights, and then you can raise up the challenge when you are ready.
There’s no getting around the fact that Cuphead is a tough game. It’s not going to be for everybody. This is a little bit of a shame, given how beautiful the game is. To be fair to Studio MDHR they have a simple model for each boss fight, but still, on simple, it’s going to be too tough for some players. I’m not a game designer and I don’t have the solution for this, however, it would be great if there was a way to make the game more accessible, especially given the amount of work Studio MDHR put into the game. Would the game be less if it were easier? Some would argue so. Personally, I found it frustrating at the start and then found myself easing into it, finally really enjoying the difficulty.
In summary, if you liked Cuphead, then you’ll love The Delicious Last Course. It’s more Cuphead, crafted for fans of the series, plus fans of the art style and that type of gameplay. I would recommend those who didn’t give Cuphead a try to jump in again and see if this DLC reignites, or even ignites your interest in the game. I found The Delicious Last Course tough at the start, which then quickly turned into one of my favourite gaming experiences of the year so far in 2022.
Developer: Studio MDHR
Publisher: Studio MDHR
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC
Release Date: 30th June 2022