Cuphead’s long-awaited and aptly named The Delicious Last Course serves up a wonderful final dish that feels more like a satisfying dessert than a full second helping. While it doesn’t last long, it offers an entertaining series of fiendish boss fights and a welcome addition to the now-playable Ms. Chalice.
Ms. Chalice has a unique moveset like a double jump, a dodge roll to safely avoid hazards, and even an extra point of health. They’re a blast to use and I loved taking advantage of their extra maneuverability. Does she make Cuphead an easier experience? Something, but she doesn’t make the game a breeze. Rather, she gives players more options to work with, which in some ways makes her a more advanced character, as I had to change my playstyle to accommodate her new tricks.
I like that it subtly encourages aggression by having a sprint save instead of the jumping version, meaning I had to dash into danger to deftly parry the offense. Her ultimate attack, a vertical column of energy, requires dealing with enemies up close and personal, and rewarding bravery with big hits. I also enjoyed guiding Ms. Chalice through the base game, tackling familiar bosses with their unique traits. It offers newcomers a great alternative right from the start, while giving veterans a new way to take down familiar villains. Ms. Chalice also makes the base game’s polarizing run-and-gun phases more bearable.
It doesn’t matter how many jumps or hit points you have if you don’t know how to use them. The Delicious Last Course presents a slab of delightful but challenging boss battles that pushed my skills to the edge on most occasions. I highly recommend returning players to warm up by replaying a boss or two in the base game before diving into this expansion. With early access to the DLC, beginners should at least complete the first island before delving into the new content.
From tennis balls and laser fire on a plane in a reverse dogfight, to dodging sentient ice slams when battling a snow wizard, these fun new enemies love to throw everything and everything at once. I’d say they rank with the fights from Cuphead’s final third in terms of difficulty, as the challenge is analyzing multiple projectiles and weaving between them while unleashing hell yourself. Design-wise, these adversaries fit the whim of the original villain gallery, and it’s just as fun (and stressful) to watch as a gangster spider, for example, takes on multiple new forms.
Only one boss has a final twist that feels cheap rather than fun as it remaps the controls with little time to customize. Skill is most important, but trial and error remains an occasionally frustrating element of the experience. It’s still annoying to take damage from a new attack that I wasn’t expecting, like having a bad guy fall on my head with no indication of where it might arrive. But every opponent feels defeatable, whether it’s Ms. Chalice or Cuphead/Mugman.
Surprisingly, the revamped parade challenges became my favorite encounters from The Delicious Last Course. An evolution of the base game’s mausoleum mini-games, which were decent but repetitive, this new take pits players against five unique bosses that can only be defeated by using the parry in increasingly creative ways. I loved showing off my platforming skills and timing, carefully hopping onto a knight’s weak spot or knocking severed heads back at an executioner. Most importantly, these levels forced me to think about how to attack. Every enemy in Cuphead can be dropped by holding down the fire button, but figuring out different methods to use a defensive maneuver offensively turned into an engaging combat puzzle. Since The Delicious Last Course eschews platforming levels, these arena battles offer a great break from the primary confrontations. I would like to see more of them.
Our heroes can equip themselves with new powers, such as: B. a lightning-like version of Scatter Shot or tornadoes that shoot up, ideal for hitting targets in the air. My hands-down favorite became the Crackshot, powerful projectiles that shatter into smaller balls that hit the nearest target. They go well with the existing arsenal.
I would be remiss not to mention the soundtrack. Cuphead has one of the best scores in modern gaming, and The Delicious Last Course carries that banner with some finger-wagging new tunes. The new main menu theme manages to beat the original intro song by a mile.
The delicious final course sends our fun beverage containers on a high note. It offers a fun final test of your skills and refreshes the original adventure by giving players a cool new character to enjoy. It’s more Cuphead at the end of the day, but I had a great time revisiting Studio MDHR’s wonderful animated universe, testing my skills against its villains, and again feeling fist-pumping triumph.