Cuphead has just about transcended games at this point. Since debuting in 2017, mischievous protagonists Cuphead and Mugman have been the subject of novels, comic books, tabletop games, and even an (excellent) animated show on Netflix. It’s frankly remarkable that we’re even talking about it as a humble video game in 2022, but Studio MDHR plans to make good on the promise of new content for the full service meal that was in the smash hit boss rush shooter. A Delicious Last Course, if you will.
We got to ride shotgun on a hands-off guided tour of some of the new features, and it’s easy to report that Cuphead fans will have plenty to fall in love with here. Returning players will find new abilities, new bosses, and a whole new adventure all from the perspective of a brand new character that MDHR promises will bring a new layer of depth and difficulty to the already dense and challenging main game that is surely to be your new cup of tea.
Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course screenshots
Cuphead and Mugman, a duo who’ve never met a trap they wouldn’t willingingly walk into, are told that the legendary Chalice needs their help and has arranged travel for them to meet up. Learning nothing from their duels with King Dice and The Devil Himself, Mugman is easily lured into eating a magical cookie that sends him into the astral plane, and gives Miss Chalice flesh and blood. Luckily the ruse was just a harmless test, and Chalice introduces her friend Saltbaker and their grand scheme – to collect rare ingredients and make the ultimate magical dish that will bring Chalice back to life permanently.
The new area of Inkwell Isle features several environments stuck together in a bizarre pangea. A desert makes way to a small flatland featuring an airplane hangar, which is connected to a snowy mountain range that leads directly into a sleepy coastal town. At least in what we saw, it certainly isn’t as large as the original map, but the smashed together biomes aren’t so jarring and instead add a kind of chaotic charm to it all. Even though much of this map is foreign it still features some familiar places, like Porkrind’s Emporium, the trailer where the eponymous owner sells charms and weapons.
The peek I got at the new stock suggests some interesting new strategies for taking down bad guys. Crackshot is a homing weapon, shooting little red bullets that find the nearest enemy. Taking the aiming out of the equation helps focus on evading enemy attacks, making this a far more newbie friendly choice. Its powerful EX shot creates a spinning, planet-shaped turret that fires homing bullets on its own. Players can choose to use their parry attack on it before it burns out to launch the whole turret at the enemy like a cannon doing massive damage.
Then of course there’s Chalice herself, who becomes playable after either Cuphead or Mugman equips her special cookie charm. In battle, Chalice is especially floaty. She has a double jump and an air dash right out of the gate, as well as one extra hit point. All of these tools, on one character, with abilities that you’d previously need to commit charm slots for, seems like a clear attempt at making an “easy mode” adjacent experience, though Lead Designer Jared Moldenhauer didn’t agree. “The things she can do are offset by some limitations,” he told me, “like being down a charm slot to even use her.” Also, as her suite of abilities seems especially powerful in the context of the original bosses, Studio MDHR promises that her movement tricks will be essential with the new big bads introduced in Delicious Last Course.
I got a look at one of the new bosses, an ice wizard who uses snow and a whale to pummel you with chilly cruelty. Mechanically, he looked largely straightforward, with things getting a bit spicier in his last phase, when the floor falls away and the battle becomes a bit of a platforming juggle in the sky. One difference that was very noticeable was the amount of animation and detail going on. Especially during the second phase, where Mortimer turns into a snowman, and he and all of his projectiles are constantly moving and changing forms. Art director Chad Moldenhauer confirmed that the team made a huge effort to make the bosses bigger and more elaborate, with some boss phases in DLC having more hand-drawn frames than entire boss fights in the original game. “[In terms of size, scale, and animations] If every boss in Cuphead was the last boss in a normal game, every boss in DLC is a last boss of Cuphead,”
Fans of Cuphead have a lot to be excited about in the Delicious Last Course, and won’t have to wait too much longer to jump in. DLC launches on June 30th for PlayStation 4 and 5, Xbox Series X and S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and Steam for $8.