If things weren’t already hairy enough for Mugman and Cuphead following their deadly deal with the Devil, now their work is cut out for them with the arrival of The Delicious Last Course. It’s the much anticipated expansion to Cuphead, Studio MDHR’s masterpiece of a shooter.
Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course introduces a new location that you can visit almost immediately after beginning a new save in the main game. Upon completing the first mausoleum and freeing the spirit Ms. Chalice, you’ll be able to embark on an entirely new trip where as both heroes of the main game along with femme fatale Chalice as they look for a way to keep her whole.
As with the main content found in Cuphead, The Delicious Last Course is as tough-as-nails as anything you’ve faced before, expertly designed in a way that encourages you to learn patterns and get better the more you play. It’s also chock full of personality thanks to the second to none presentation that once again emulates the look and feel of old 1920s and 1930s cartoons.
Gone are the run and gun levels of the original game in favor of new challenge scenarios that pop up every now and then, presented by a new NPC, the King of Games, for you to tackle in order to get more gold coins to spend on upgrades. I thought that the prior boss-less levels helped give a breather to the onslaught of boss battles in Cuphead, and although less inspired than those, were very fun regardless and were certainly missed in The Delicious Last Course.
Their replacements are rewarding enough as they demand you to work creatively, only allowing you to parry as, for instance, like the first one, rows and rows of pink-element enemies storm you. Not only are they somewhat challenging on their own as they increasingly escalate in complexity, but they also help teach you how to master the parry for good.
The new boss battles are on a level of their own in The Delicious Last Course. It goes without mentioning that each and every one of them are incredibly well animated and are accompanied by an equally amazing musical score, and along with all of that is the sheer difficulty and hectic action management before finally beating them. The variety here is astounding as every encounter has its own unique look and quirks.
This time around and also for the base game as well you get to play as Ms. Chalice, who you can use by equipping a special type item which takes up a slot in either Cuphead or Mugman’s arsenal. Ms. Chalice’s gameplay is quite a spin from the rest of the crew’s as she not only sports four pips of health instead of the usual three, but can double jump and dash rolling through obstacles on the ground, as well as parry projectiles without the need to leap up.
While I wouldn’t exactly call playing as Ms. Chalice Cuphead’s easy mode, as the game itself can still be extremely challenging regardless – not to mention that Chalice’s double jump is compensated by the fact that it’s much shorter than her counterparts’ and she can’t equip any charms besides the alternative firing modes – her inclusion makes for a much welcome variation from playing as the much the same gameplay of picking either Cuphead or Mugman. It’s cool to have an option that actually changes things up past simply having a different character to look at and actually offer up a unique style of play.
It’s not at all surprising that it took Studio MDHR nearly five years to put this expansion together. The sheer amount of work that must have gone into hand-animating the new characters must have been enormous, with layers upon layers of little details in every single level and multi-phase fight in The Delicious Last Course, as it were with Cuphead itself. It goes to show the team’s absurd talent that manages to combine style and gameplay so incredibly well.
If you’ve enjoyed Cuphead, The Delicious Last Course is a must buy as it not only provides a handful of new and exciting bosses to fight, and a host of different challenges in the way of the King of Games levels, but also an entirely new way to play both the expansion and the main game with the inclusion Ms. Chalice. Hope you’re not too full as this is one hell of a dessert!