Hollow Knight fans are constantly outraged by the fact that they still do not know the release date of Silksong, but meanwhile Cuphead fans also had a hard time. The Delicious Last Course add-on was announced back in mid-2018 (that is, six months before Silksong), and they planned to release it somewhere in a year. But something went wrong and the development was delayed – the long-awaited DLC reached all platforms where Cuphead is available only this summer. The name does not deceive – the dish really turned out to be delicious, albeit cold.
You don’t need to complete the entire game to access the new content. It is enough to complete a couple of starting levels, get to the first mausoleum and complete the task there, after which a boatman will appear on the nearest shore. He will move you to a new island.
We go there at the call of the Golden Chalice, which wants to stop being a ghost and resurrect. The magic cookie allows her to do this, but the effect of it quickly ends, but the chef Solonkin from the neighboring bakery is ready to cook a miracle cake and bring the Cup back to life forever. But the ingredients for the cake are rare, and you can only find them in battle with formidable opponents. So if in the original we collected contracts for the sale of souls, here we fight for dough, lemons and other products.
Until the ingredients are collected, we can use the aforementioned astral cookie, with which we control the Chalice. Although it is a playable character, it cannot be chosen instead of the Cup or Mug – instead, you equip a skill in the inventory that allows you to play as the Cup in fights with bosses. That is, you have to part with the invisible dash or some other skill that you used in the original campaign.
It’s worth it, because the Chalice differs significantly from its friends in characteristics. Firstly, she has four “lives” instead of three, which already simplifies the battles a little. Secondly, she is trained to double jump. Thirdly, when interacting with pink objects, she performs a parry with a jerk – no extra buttons need to be pressed. And finally, during the roll, she is invulnerable.
It may seem like this simplifies the game, and in a sense it really is. The bosses are still deadly and require caution, but the addition of another chance for error and the unique features of the Chalice make the fights a little more manageable for those who struggled with Cuphead. This is a much more elegant solution than the reduced difficulty mode, with which you can’t even finish the game.
The store sells new items that make the gameplay even more comfortable. For example, the heart ring adds a mechanic to the game that was missing in the original – with the ring, when parrying, health points are replenished, but only when you carry it out for the first, third and sixth time. And among the three new types of weapons, the Nutcracker stands out in particular – it shoots in a straight line and deals good damage at close range, and when fired at a long distance, the projectiles become homing.
All the same beauty
Longtime Cuphead fans may be outraged that the game has been “casualized”, however, the difficulty has not become much lower – even with such bonuses, local bosses will make you sweat. In addition, we decided to abandon the levels in which you run and shoot at small enemies, and completely concentrated on large opponents. And each one (and there are six in total in the story) is a delight – this is a visual feast with amazing animations, and an amazing gameplay variety – there are no repetitive ideas within the DLC at all.
Cuphead is the kind of game where even the process of a boss transitioning from one phase to another can be considered a spoiler, and the DLC was no exception. It becomes obvious why so much time was spent on the development of the add-on – everything looks perfect, and the authors remained faithful to the chosen style of animation a hundred years ago to the end. The bosses here are some of the best in the entire game. Where else can you see a bulldog that grabs a cat and shoots balls of thread out of its mouth? Since the battles take place far from the first time, with each new attempt you pay attention to new details and are constantly amazed at the ingenuity of artists.
The authors have always set as their goal the creation of not just strong bosses that will send them to the other world with a couple of blows, but fair and honest fights. In The Delicious Last Course, they clearly followed the same principle. When you know what your opponent is doing during certain phases, what techniques he uses and what projectiles to dodge, fights become noticeably easier. Well, for those who like to torture themselves, after defeating each boss, an increased level of difficulty opens up, and the scores for passing have not gone away.
In addition to the bosses, there is a royal tournament here – a series of tests where weapons and charms are not used and you only need to jump and parry. These entertainments are noticeably simpler than any of the bosses in the story campaign, but they are just as exciting, and this is the only source of coins for buying new goods. Well, there was a place for some kind of secret – look for it yourself, it’s worth it. Except for replaying levels on high difficulty, you spend about three, maximum four hours on everything about everything – it depends on whether you get stuck on any bosses.
Cuphead remains unique in the gaming industry. It’s not uncommon for indie games that become cult to spawn a slew of clones of varying degrees of lousyness – just think of Limbo. But here the case is special – no one even tries to copy scrupulously hand-drawn animations. So even if the add-on were delayed by ten years instead of five, its release would have brought just as much joy. Now developers are faced with an almost impossible task – to jump above their heads in the next project. And we, apparently, say goodbye to Cuphead – it’s not just that the name contains the word “last”.
Pros: the bosses turned out to be some of the best in the entire game; the new character differs in characteristics from the Cup and simplifies the game a little (but for the sake of it you have to give up the skill – some kind of balance); fresh weapons bring even more variety to the game; still luxurious visual style and soundtrack to match; ridiculous price.
Cons: I want more, but there will be no more.