Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course is all about quality over quantity
Studio MDHR has given us a deep look into the upcoming DLC and what it will be offering up.
After a pretty long wait, it's almost time for the next chapter in Cuphead and Mugman's journey, a journey which started in 2017 with Cuphead, and since evolved into a franchise that has its own Netflix TV series and a dedicated fanbase. This next chapter, known as The Delicious Last Course has been in the works for a while, but as for the reason why this is the case, we recently attended a hands-off preview for the DLC where Studio MDHR unveiled a bunch of gameplay and talked us through the tasking process that went into giving this run and gun game an extended shelf life.
For those who are unaware, The Delicious Last Course is a significant addition to Cuphead. The concept behind the extra content revolves around a newly re-discovered region of the Inkwell Isles, a region that Cuphead and Mugman travel to, to help out the Legendary Chalice that was least seen there. Upon arriving on the island's shores, you discover that the Legendary Chalice is Ms. Chalice, and that this adorable new protagonist is stuck in a corporeal form and needs assistance in permanently returning to her physical self.
As for how this is done, a new character known as Chef Saltbaker has concocted a new sugary treat, one that can fix Ms. Chalice's ailment, but of course for such a powerful food to be created, one must first find the most potent of ingredients - which in typical Cuphead fashion - are held by a bunch of the island's most fearsome and powerful bosses. It's your job as Cuphead and Mugman (and Ms. Chalice through the aid of temporary physical form inducing treat) to wander around the island, socking it to all the new big baddies that call it home.
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Studio MDHR has told us that this DLC will be offering up around 3-4 hours of extra content, depending on how proficient you are at Cuphead already. With this being the case, you can get the gist that there will be a significant amount of new bosses to tackle, especially considering this new island is the biggest individual island to date. But the quantity really isn't the selling point, rather it's the quality, as the developer has put a lot of work and emphasis on creating encounters with more depth. Whether that comes in the overall fluidity of the controls, the soundtrack (which was recorded during the pandemic and yet still features over 110 musicians), or simply the appearance and the mechanics shown in each boss fight.
This is because Studio MDHR has decided to double-down on the finer details and has created encounters with more immersive, demanding and expansive designs. We're told that a lot of the new bosses have more frames in a single phase than some of the base Cuphead bosses do over their entire encounters, and this is obvious when looking at the minute details that make up a scene.
We were shown the icy boss fight called Snow Cult Shuffle, a fight headlined by the enemy Mortimer Freeze. In this encounter, the backdrop is illuminated by dancing aurora borealis lights, which quite frankly are hard to appreciate when also having to navigate and survive the countless projectiles and dangers that Freeze is hurling at you. And if that isn't enough to appreciate and just when you think the fight is over, the stage begins to transform and you have to continue fighting on five floating and rotating platforms. It really does look immensely challenging to overcome, but there's also a real beauty to the chaos of it all.
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To handle this new level of challenge, Studio MDHR has provided a few upgrades. Ms. Chalice comes with some extra features, the ability to double-jump and also start with an extra life point, but this does come at the cost of losing a row of Charms. For Cuphead and Mugman, the pair can find an array of new upgrades at Pork Rind's shop, including new charms that add weapons such as the Crackshot, which spawns a floating turret that when parried will hurl itself at the boss for a wedge of damage. And the really exciting part about all of these new features and Ms. Chalice is that they are back-compatible, meaning you can take them back to the main set of Inkwell Isles to face the base game foes in the hopes of setting some record times.
As for how the base game will evolve with this extra array of content, the main thing to see is the new Boatman character, an individual who will ferry you to the new Inkwell Isle, but can also be used to fast travel between the main islands in the base game. Otherwise, Studio MDHR has noted that The Delicious Last Course is connected to, but not limited to the story of the base game, meaning you can choose to dive right in as soon as you complete the first Mausoleum encounter.
The Delicious Last Course is more than just a packed, enhanced next chapter however, as it's also precisely what it says on the tin - a "last course" for the porcelain protagonists. Studio MDHR told us during the press event for this DLC that "now that DLC is wrapped, our head is in a good space. There are other games we want to make and other styles we want to pursue." As for what the future holds for this talented team, only time will tell, but on a final note, the developer added, "we hopefully will have a few surprises for people in the future."
Either way, the immediate future is all about Cuphead and The Delicious Last Course, which will be making its official debut at the end of the month, on June 30, on PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch for the price of £6.99 / €7.99.