Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Renan Fontes 09.10.2022

Review for Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course on Nintendo Switch

Few developers have made as strong a first impression as Studio MDHR did with Cuphead back in 2017. The once Microsoft exclusive masterfully blended the aesthetics of a 1930s cartoon with the skill-based design philosophies that defined gaming's third and fourth generations. Highly detailed art direction and tight controls paired perfectly with bosses that were always fair despite posing a legitimate challenge. The sheer amount of polish and care Studio MDHR put into their inaugural title alone was enough to net them a loyal audience out the gate - one that has been hungry for more content ever since. Finally, released half a decade after Cuphead's original launch, The Delicious Last Course is an incredible piece of DLC that makes an already amazing experience even better.

The best DLC not only strive to add more substance to their base games, they also offer a fundamental shift in how gameplay can be approached. Inkwell Isle Four may be small, but there is a deceptive amount of content on tap and quite a lot of it is game changing for Cuphead - from new shots and charms to a brand-new playable character. In fact, [i[The Delicious Last Course[/i]'s main appeal arguably isn't even its new bosses, but the fact Ms. Chalice (called The Legendary Chalice in the base game) is now playable.

Most of the DLC is designed with Ms. Chalice in mind, so much so that she's immediately unlocked upon reaching Inkwell Isle Four for the first time. Unlike Cuphead or Mugman, Ms. Chalice is not selected on the title screen. Instead, she replaces either protagonist if the Astral Cookie charm is equipped. This does mean Ms. Chalice has no access to charms, but she doesn't need them. At the expense of having a more complicated control scheme than Cuphead/Mugman, her moveset is very flexible and gives her a natural counter for just about any scenario.

Screenshot for Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course on Nintendo Switch

By holding down on the D-pad and pressing the jump button, Ms. Chalice will do a dodge roll that nullifies attacks and any contact damage. Pressing the jump button twice allows her to do a handy double jump. Her dash automatically parries without needing a second input. She also gets one extra HP for a total of four hit points, more or less nullifying the need for a charm. Once unlocked, Ms. Chalice can even be brought into the main game to fight the first three Isles' bosses and Run 'n' Gun stages. While her busier controls do take some getting used to, she raises the skill ceiling for veterans while giving beginners a crutch they can rely on.

The new shots also do a solid job at mitigating the difficulty curve while still being fun weapons in their own right. Crackshot is easily the best of the new shots: a homing attack that will twist its trajectory towards the closest enemy. This allows players to safely auto-fire while focusing on dodging attacks. The downside is that cracked shots deal less damage, so it is still beneficial to aim directly at bosses. Converge fires out three lightning bolts that can spread across most of the screen. Locking converges Converge's spread together, making it so all three shots can safely hit the same enemy. Lastly, the Twist Up shoots out tornadoes that arc upwards, making it the perfect tool against aerial bosses.

Screenshot for Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course on Nintendo Switch

Besides the Astral Cookie, the DLC adds four charms to the mix. The Heart Ring is a useful charm that restores one HP when players land their first, third, and sixth parries during a fight. The Broken Relic itself has no effect but is part of a side quest that involves upgrading the charm into a Cursed Relic and then Divine Relic. When equipped, the Cursed Relic lowers the player's HP to 1 and randomizes their shot during battles. After defeating a dozen bosses with the Cursed Relic equipped, it'll upgrade into the Divine Relic. Unlike the Cursed Relic, the Divine Relic does not lower the player's HP. Weapons are still randomized, but the added health (and buffs earned from defeating bosses along the way) make up for any drawbacks.

While the new bosses are designed with Ms. Chalice's play style in mind, they're perfectly beatable as Cuphead or Mugman. More importantly, they're some of the best boss fights Studio MDHR have come up with. No boss is too difficult - and players who have already beaten King Dice aren't in for much trouble - but they put up a serious fight. Any newcomers who dive right into the DLC are in for a trial by fire. All the new battles are multiple phases long and generally get more chaotic as they near their end. Players are expected to pay attention to every little detail on screen. Losing focus for just a second can mean death against the new bosses.
Although there are no new Run 'n' Gun levels, their gameplay roles have essentially been replaced with the King's Leap - a six stage arena that challenges players to fight bosses without the use of weapons. Only the parry mechanic can be used during these battles. This naturally makes the encounters much harder, but it's also extremely fun figuring out how best to parry against each boss. King's Leap is at its core a series of puzzle fights that test how well players can spot openings and dodge attacks. Defeating all five bosses in the King's Leap unlocks a boss rush Gauntlet where they're all fought back-to-back for an even harder challenge.

Screenshot for Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course on Nintendo Switch

The King's Leap would be a harder ordeal if Cuphead's presentation wasn't so sublime. The extra time Studio MDHR put into developing The Delicious Last Course has paid off considering how beautiful every individual frame of animation looks. Bosses are vibrant and their attack patterns are bursting with life - all a player needs to do is pay close attention and they'll notice a counter for every move an enemy makes. Backgrounds are lush with detail and turn otherwise cramped battlefields into genuine spectacles. It's hard not to get immersed in the setting and lost in the art direction's sheer beauty.

Cuphead was incredible as is and solidified a strong legacy quickly. That The Delicious Last Course is not only just as good, but makes the original game better, is just another sign that Studio MDHR clearly understand how best to develop their titles. In an era where DLC feel less like expansions and settle for more of the same, Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course gives audiences the dessert they deserve.

Screenshot for Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

10/10
Rated 10 out of 10

Masterpiece - Platinum Award

Rated 10 out of 10

The Delicious Last Course lives up to its name by bringing Cuphead to a truly magnificent conclusion. The DLC is packed with a generous amount of content that'll keep players coming back for more. Ms. Chalice's play style is enough to add hours of replay value on its own, but the fact she's rounded out by over half a dozen new bosses, unique parry challenges, new weapons to play around with, and a lengthy side quest dedicated to upgrading a charm makes it even better. Inkwell Isle Four is small, but the DLC makes the most of its space and doesn't restrict new content to the one setting. Every weapon, charm, and even Ms. Chalice herself can be used in the three main Isles once they're unlocked. With so much quality content on tap, Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course sets a new standard for DLC.

Developer

Studio MDHR

Publisher

Studio MDHR

Genre

Run and Gun

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  10/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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