Cuphead Fans have been waiting for the game’s expansion for five long years, The delicious last course, and it’s finally almost here. The add-on will be released on all platforms in June. One of the new bosses in the expansion, Mortimer Freeze, brings new challenges and new game systems Cuphead‘s kind of run-and-gun fun, and Polygon recently spent the better part of an hour bringing it down at a hands-on event.
Mortimer Freeze is a three-phase boss that we saw briefly in its first form in Cuphead Trailer announcing the DLC release date in late 2022. We saw the second and third stages of the boss live streamed during Summer Games Fest 2022. At the Summer Game Fest Play Days event in Los Angeles, I decided to fight the boss until I defeated him, which took dozens of tries in about 45 minutes.
For the fight I controlled Ms. Chalice, Cuphead‘s new DLC character. She brings several new abilities to the table compared to Cuphead and Mugman: she has an extra HP point, inherent double jump independent of parry and dodge roll, also her dash can act as a parry if you deal with a pink meet object. These abilities give her an edge over the game’s original characters and make it easier to defeat tough enemies.
However, playing as Ms. Chalice is not an automatic win button; Mastering her skills will take some time – especially the dodge roll, which requires pressing the Dash button while holding down the joystick. This isn’t that easy to pull off in the heat of battle, but the invincibility frames it provides will be worth working into your repertoire.
The Mortimer Freeze fight seemed designed to showcase Ms. Chalice’s Dodge Roll and Dash Parry. In his first form, Mortimer would fly over her head as a magician, throwing tarot cards, dropping icy minions, and slamming down on the ground with a large fish from above. The small ice creatures he sent down were particularly difficult to dodge, as their trajectories were unpredictable. Trying to jump out of their way killed me several times until I learned to use Ms. Chalice’s dodge roll to avoid taking damage from them. Meanwhile, using her Sprint Parry to earn Super Art energy from the slow-moving pink tarot cards felt satisfying.
In phase two, Mortimer takes the form of a hideous snowman-style creature with a bucket on his head. He rolls from one side of the screen to the other, sometimes stopping after a throw, sometimes stringing three together, often throwing himself into the air for the last throw. As a result, attempting to jump over him proved unwise as it was difficult to predict when he would shoot into the air instead of rolling across the ground.
The snowman form also has several other deadly attacks. When it transforms into a fridge, it spits out ice cubes, which shatter into pieces and bounce around after hitting the ground, creating multiple projectiles to dodge. It also unleashes flying popsicles that will dash at you from the sky on subsequent attacks, adding to the already considerable chaos of combat. And the boss periodically summons several sharp blades that erupt from the snow. If these arrived at the same time as I was dodging flying popsicles, I would often take a hit or two.
It took me dozens of tries to get to phase three, and when I finally did, I found it to be the most challenging form yet. Mortimer became a giant flying snowflake and the arena soared into the sky, breaking the ground beneath Ms. Chalice. I had to quickly jump to a series of floating platforms that quickly spun in circles, making the battlefield itself treacherous and deadly.
In snowflake form, the boss throws buckets from one side of the screen to the other. Once they hit the wall, they spill small crescents that bounce back across the arena. Mortimer also flies an electric eyeball through space and moves opposite the floating platforms. The eye shoots several vertical bursts of energy before returning to the boss, making damage extremely difficult to avoid. The snowflake shape also summons sharp ice cream cones that form a circle around your platforms before moving to the center and meeting in the middle of the screen.
Luckily, Ms. Chalice’s other abilities made dealing with this form a bit more manageable. Switching to her alternate Chaser Gun, which fires green stars aimed at the boss no matter which way I was facing, made it easier to focus on dodging his unpredictable projectiles while bouncing around the fast-moving snow platforms . (This attack isn’t new to the DLC.) Also, I’ve made a habit of saving Ms. Chalice’s Super Art, a highly damaging vertical beam of light that stretches above and below her, for the third and most difficult phase of Mortimer Freeze.
After dozens of tries, I gave up and couldn’t beat the boss despite my best efforts. That was until the end of the event when I spied that Cuphead Station empty and unattended. I looked around, sat down and decided to keep trying until the rangers or security kicked us out. After several dozen more attempts, including a crushing defeat that was so close I cried out, I finally eliminated Mortimer Freeze. Predictably, it was the most rewarding thing I’d done all day.
Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course comes to Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Windows PC (via Steam and GOG) and Xbox One for $7.99.
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