Cuphead was and still is an incredibly successful video game, backed up by good game design ideas, a unique aesthetic, beautiful animations and a satisfying formula, as we exhibited in the Cuphead review. For this reason, when in 2018 Studio MDHR announced the arrival of a DLC dedicated to the pair of anthropomorphic cups, many were absolutely thrilled to be able to play it.
However, many have always asked themselves a question: Could a DLC be able to improve even just a little an experience like that of Cuphead? Now that The Delicious Last Course is among us, we can tell you that yes – Cuphead had room for improvement – and more. The development team has in fact managed to surpass itself and prove once again to be one of the most virtuous realities of the videogame panorama and now we explain why.
A fourth island: Wallop!
The main content of The Delicious Last Course is obviously the new island to tackle, accessible to anyone who has reached and completed at least the first mausoleum of the Inkwell Islands archipelago. The narrative premise revolves around Miss Chalice, who will offer Cuphead and Mugman a mysterious cookie. Once you have bitten the sweet, the second finds himself trapped in the astral plane normally inhabited by Missh Chalice, who will instead take her place in material reality for a few minutes.
The strange phenomenon is due to the incredible abilities of the Chef Saltbakerthe most renowned cook on the island, who produced the biscuit and who is confident of being able to free Miss Chalice forever from the astral plane to give her a material body thanks to his recipes.
The various bosses to be faced within the unprecedented scenario, in fact, are not indebted to the devil like those who populate the Inkwell Islands but are custodians of the basic ingredients for the definitive recipe of Saltbaker, a dessert capable of finally giving a body to the heroine without having to trap someone else in her place in the astral dimension (here the special that summarizes the plot of Cuphead). The Delicious Last Course adds to the basic package well six new main enemies, all as usual characterized and divinely animated. As for the scenarios that are the background to the clashes, also given the sprinkling of environmental narration, we can only say the same words of praise. Studio MDHR has not only created extra content but has also expanded the playful possibilities offered by Cuphead.
In fact, many of the bossfights have proved to be unique in their kind, because they are capable of offering the player new challenges. Combat against the Howling Aces introduces 360 ° rotation of the screenthe one with the Snow Cult begins in the traditional way and then develops vertically in the last phase, in which you have to dodge enemy attacks and while jumping on constantly moving platforms, while the final battle is embellished with playful strokes of genius on which frankly we do not want to add anything, so as not to spoil the surprise.
To this must be added the presence of a floating castle above the island, from which it is possible to access four “unorthodox” challenges of increasing difficulty.
This is an entirely optional section that, in addition to taking the place of traditional run ‘n’ gun levels, is based on a single, simple rule: you can’t shoot. Each of the villains present inside the castle must in fact be defeated using only the parry and not the various types of attack that can be equipped, in a very similar way to what was done inside the mausoleums. It is about bossfight that drastically change the approach to the game, sometimes even going so far as to distort it. The castle is the only way to scrape together a few coins within the DLC stages, as they don’t include any run ‘n’ gun levels. Some may be sorry, we know, but the reason they were excluded is precisely the introduction of Miss Chalice as a playable protagonist.
The freshness of Miss Chalice
The addition of the third character has drastically changed the balance of the gameplay. Miss Chalice, in fact, enjoys a profoundly different command scheme compared to those of Cuphead and Mugman. First of all she has the ability to perform double jumps without the need to exploit the boost given by the parry – at the cost of a base jump slightly less high than that of the other two – and also his dodge is at the same time a parry. To be able to make a save in his shoes you have to sprint towards the obstacle and not jump and then press the same button a second time in a row, as happens with Cuphead or Mugman.
It is about a little big revolution which requires you to fight against your muscle memory in order to be exploited in the best way but at the same time it is a technique of undoubted effectiveness. Miss Chalice is easier to control than the two cups, and the fact that she can do double jumps without going through the parry makes for easier both platforming and some dodging.
As repeatedly reiterated by the team, the heroine was developed even before thinking about the various bosses that would populate The Delicious Last Course, this is because the main objective was to make it perfectly playable also in the other three islands without unbalancing the individual stages. . The result is a success: the small spirit-chalice fits perfectly with all original bossfightsmaking some a hair easier thanks to his skills and others slightly more complicated.
Not working particularly well are the run ‘n’ gun sections, which if played with Miss Chalice almost lose sense given her talents. It is perhaps for this degree of simplification that in the role of the heroine one is forced to give up the charms, the slot of which is instead occupied by the astral biscuit prepared by Saltbaker. In any case, this is the best addition to all of The Delicious Last Course, which is a perfect excuse to re-tackle every single level. Among the other welcome innovations introduced by the studio, the new objects must certainly be mentioned. I’m not paying for the content we’ve already mentioned, Studio MDHR has also fleshed out both the list of charms and the list of available weapons. In addition to the biscuit that allows you to play as Miss Chalice, the heart ring should in fact be reported, a ring capable of returning the player an HP in correspondence with the first parry performed, the third, the fifth and so on. Not a small novelty, usable only by Cuphead and Mugman, who want to introduce greater accessibility than in the past and which will certainly delight newbies.
Mind you, The Delicious Last Course didn’t transform Cuphead in one easy video game: in fact you continue to die repeatedly and to defeat the new and fearsome bosses you have to go through a cycle of trial and error, net of the unprecedented approach possibilities linked to the various builds. The same goes for the new weapons introduced by the DLC, which expand an already quite diverse arsenal with four new types of firing designed to adapt your style to any eventuality.
The future of Studio MDHR
Cuphead – The Delicious Last Course is another great MDHR study test, which despite starting from humble origins in 2017 was able to make people talk by offering players a genuinely new imagery combined with an exciting playful recipe. Well, this more than successful expansion could offer us a preview of what the team could work on in the future, especially if it were to be of another numbered chapter of Cuphead.
In this regard, the fact that the run ‘n’ gun levels have not found a place in The Delicious Last Course is perhaps further proof of the maturation of Studio MDHR, now more aware of the strengths of its product and therefore more capable. to exploit them to the full, as evidenced by the challenges of the castle in the sky. At the moment we can not help but celebrate the umpteenth success of the collective, which has given us an impeccable experience both on the technical and purely aesthetic front, as well as fun and damn hardcore.
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