Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Cuphead - The Delicious Last Course Review

Developer: Studio MDHR
Platforms: NS, XBO, PS4, PC
Price: $7.99
Version Played: PC

Considering its nearly 5 year development cycle, I thought Cuphead - The Delicious Last Course would basically be Cuphead 2. That's not the case, though. Cuphead DLC feels more like Studio MDHR putting the finishing touches on Cuphead before moving on to their next project. Cuphead DLC features a new playable character, a new island, 7 new bosses, and 5 new parrying challenge levels. This is a good amount of content for $8, but it's not quite enough to be a standalone game, or a Cuphead 2.
Cuphead DLC's main attraction is the new bosses. There are 7 in total; 5 regular, the final boss, and the secret boss. These new bosses all have unique artwork, new music, they're very challenging, and some really push the boundaries of what the game asks from you with their mechanics. For example, there's one in which you're standing on a plane and the screen rotates every few seconds, which made me wish I was playing handheld on Switch so I could rotate the screen. The secret boss also tested my mettle. Some of the other bosses include a mountain giant, a frost wizard, a musical bug-themed battle, and a new shoot ‘em up boss in which you fly on a plane across the Wild West while fighting a giant cartoon cow. These bosses don't really have a unifying theme, like the ones in the first 3 isles, but overall, I feel like they fit right in with the rest of the game in terms of creativity. All the new artwork and music is also just as good as anything in the base game.
The new bosses are very challenging, but they don't feel like they reach a new level of difficulty. I definitely didn't think any of them was as hard as King Dice or The Devil. Most just felt like bosses that could have been on the 2nd or 3rd isle. You don't have to finish the first game to access the 4th isle, so these probably aren’t even meant to be harder than the bosses in the other 3, but the fact that it’s called Isle IV had me thinking they might be.
You can access the 4th isle as soon as you complete the mausoleum on the 1st isle and meet Ms Chalice. Once you reach the 4th isle, you’ll get a special charm you can equip to play as Ms Chalice. That means you’ll be giving up the third charm slot to play as her. I think her abilities make up for the loss of a charm slot, though. She's not just Cuphead in a skirt, she’s a very different character. She has a double jump, a dodge roll, and she parries by dashing, which is much easier to time than Cuphead’s axe kick. Her midair jumps and dashes also reset after every successful parry, so there are situations in which she can easily stay in the air for long periods of time. You can't get any of these skills on Cuphead and Mugman. She's kind of overpowered, but I'm not complaining! Oh, and you can play the whole game as Ms Chalice. You're not limited to Isle IV.
The Delicious Last Course also features 5 parrying challenges called The King's Leap. Like the mausoleums in the base game, these are strictly about parrying. In fact, you can't shoot at all in these. All charm effects are disabled, too. These challenges all have new music and unique art, but they're all just single phase trials, and not as complex as regular bosses. They don't count towards the amount of bosses you have to beat to fight the final boss either. They're fun for what they are, but I would have preferred to have a couple of more regular bosses instead. These just feel like fun minigames to play after you're done with the real bosses.
I had a lot of fun with this DLC. The new bosses are fun, creative, and look just as great as the old ones. The new music is fantastic as well. I also love playing as Ms Chalice. This is great content for a great price. I can't complain about that. I can't can't say I wasn't left wanting more, though. I was really expecting this to have more bosses after the nearly 5 year wait. Here's hoping Cuphead 2 comes out sooner than 5 years from now.