Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course | Review

Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course | Review


A few moments after seeing the final film of The Delicious Last Course we asked ourselves: what value could we objectively give to a work of art? Could you do it? Why us, in all honesty, no! And we are not talking about a numerical value to be assigned to a product that has particularly convinced us, we really mean a monetary value that is proportional to the quality of the work done by the artists who created this work.

And if this question it may seem exaggerated, especially if you consider that we are talking about a video game, know that it is not so common for us to find ourselves in front of an additional content of such a title, especially if it lasts a few hours and made with the same care and attention that would be reserved for a triple A title with a stellar budget.

Yeah, because first of all The Delicious Last Course is this… a DLC. But not one of those "downloadable content" to which we have been accustomed over the last dozen years of gaming history. No! The Delicious Last Course is a "real" DLC! One of those that, consistent with their meaning, offer a handful of hours of unpublished content, and made from scratch by the developers, at the price of a fistful of dollars. More content than a pompous expansion but definitely more satisfying (and honest to the players) than a side quest cut from the main game or an overpriced aesthetic element.

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To access the contents of The Delicious Last Course, in fact, it will be enough to have completed at least one of the Mausoleums present in the base game. Having accomplished the feat, a shady ferryman with a clock face will make his presence on each of the coasts present in the three regions that make up Calamaio Island.

The ferryman brings with him a message for Cuphead and Mugman from Miss Chalice. The ghostly anthropomorphic cup needs the help of two friends to solve a vital problem and eagerly awaits them in the fourth region of Inkwell Island.

Once the two friends have arrived at their destination, Miss Chalice shows them the powers of the "Frollino Astrale", a magical biscuit made by the famous Pinzimonio Salieri, which allows ghosts to exchange with the living for a short period of time. The reason for Chalice's call, however, is not linked to the Astrale Shortbread, but to the fact that the most renowned chef of Isola Calamaio could make a dessert with even more incredible power: the Fantastruffolo.

This mystical dessert, in fact, it could permanently bring Miss Chalice back to life, but Pinzimonio Salieri does not have the ingredients to make it, which are protected from the malicious people who populate the new region of Isola Calamaio.

Isola Calamaio IV shows itself as a natural appendix to the areas already present in the game, being consistent with what Cuphead already offers. Half a dozen boss fights, a few NPCs present in the area, a handful of new power-ups that can be purchased exclusively in the shop in the new region of the island, and a couple of new experiments, offer a clear vision of what The Delicious Last Course.

Do not expect a monster of longevity from this new DLC as, net of the new features it brings, its duration is slightly higher than that of any other region of the island Inkwell, featured in Cuphead. As it was easy to imagine, even the development of The Delicious Last Course does not differ from what was experienced with the main game: each defeated boss will allow you to obtain one of the ingredients necessary for the realization of the Fantastruffolo, as well as guaranteeing access to new portions of the map where you can find coins and secrets of various kinds.

We honestly appreciated how, although it is possible to access the contents of The Delicious Last Course after completing any of the Mausoleums present within Cuphead, StudioMDHR wanted to keep the game difficulty high without ever making the clashes incorrect or "difficult for the sake of it".

The Delicious Last Course is designed to be tackled after the events narrated in the main game and, precisely for this reason, the first bosses that will face each other will have a level of difficulty, and a structure, similar to the clash with the Dia flight . The difficulty, as we mentioned earlier, is never really high but, undoubtedly, if you haven't played the game for a few years, it will be almost mandatory to review the game mechanics a little.

If we have to be completely honest, we would have expected the presence of at least one Run 'n' Gun level within The Delicious Last Course, but StudioMDHR preferred to focus on something else, opting to offer a couple of new features designed to slightly change the cards on the table. The first, full-bodied, novelty resides in the Rocca Dell'Arrocco, a location that can only be reached at certain moments of the adventure and which will reserve a series of decidedly peculiar clashes for the players.

Each boss present in the Rocca Dell'Arrocco, in fact, it will be completely optional and can only be beaten using the Parry. No attack available, only the ability to avoid the opponent's offensives and "parriare" to be able to inflict damage on the boss when possible. The clashes of the Rocca Dell'Arrocco, thanks to this simple exploit, push the player to study the patterns of the opponents to find useful attack windows to win the clashes.

In addition to the Rocca Dell'Arrocco, which will prove to be the place where you can collect as many coins as possible to buy the new Power-Ups introduced in The Delicious Last Course, this DLC introduces a sort of “choral” puzzle. This is a secondary mission that begins right after purchasing one of the new items in the shop and will unfold through the various contents present in The Delicious Last Course, requiring the player a good dose of ingenuity, and logic, to come to terms with. of the mystery linked to the "Broken Relic".

Ladies and gentlemen, here you are ... Miss Chalice

The most important novelty introduced by The Delicious Last Course is, without a shadow of a doubt, the chance to play the role of Miss Chalice. If following the first presentation of the DLC the fans were delighted to be able to impersonate her, the subsequent statements of the developers, combined with some more exhaustive gameplay videos, began to reveal some doubts that Miss Chalice, similar to what Nintendo did with Funky in Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze, could represent a sort of "easy mode", given the numerous abilities available to the protagonist.

The reality, however, is quite different, as the developers of StudioMDHR have balanced the perfection this new playable character, even going to overturn some gameplay mechanics. Miss Chalice, in fact, has an additional life point, can perform a double jump, parry exclusively by performing a side dodge, and can perform an evasive maneuver, rolling for a few centimeters, which makes her completely invulnerable during her execution. >

Anyone who has obtained a good muscle memory, grinding hours and hours of clashes with Cuphead, will understand how an introduction of the genre can prove to be both an interesting game changer and a way to impose a different kind of approach to the players. For our part, we tried Miss Chalice thoroughly only after finishing the main story of The Delicious Last Course precisely because of the big changes in the approach to the boss fights that the adorable anthropomorphic cup brings with it.

To further balance the full-bodied range of skills available to Miss Chalice, The Delicious Last Course does not allow you to choose the newcomer directly from the initial menu, binding its use to the assignment of the “Frollino Astrale” in the amulet slot. At each battle start a short animation will show Miss Chalice swapping places with Cuphead, or Mugman, allowing the player to take control. This simple but functional trick balances the game dynamics in the best possible way, eliminating the use of any amulet, in favor of obtaining the different abilities available to Miss Chalice.

Miss Chalice, finally , precisely by virtue of being associated with an amulet, it can be used at will within the base game, allowing players to experience all the previous boss fights with a totally new approach.

The Delicious Last Course on Mac

We tested The Delicious Last Course on a 14-inch Macbook Pro equipped with an 8-core M1 Pro chip and 16 GB of RAM. The game's performance was undoubtedly satisfactory, considering that we went through the entire adventure at a resolution of 3024 X 1890, a frame rate anchored to 120fps and active V-Sync. As a controller, however, we used a Sony DualSense and both in wired mode and connected via Bluetooth, we never encountered input lag problems. The only flaw found in our experience is due to the lack of full compatibility of the version of Cuphead for Steam with Sony's DualSense, which is why the nomenclature of the keys was incorrect (using that of the Xbox controller instead) and the vibration was not available, although it was previously enabled both on Steam and via the game options.

The artistic side of The Delicious Last Course

We purposely instigated you at the opening, wondering if you could succeed to give an objective value to a work of art, precisely by virtue of the relationship between the cost of The Delicious Last Course and the immense work done by StudioMDHR to create it. The constant cartoonish atmosphere of the 1920s and 1930s still lingers in this DLC, but the care and obsessive attention to detail in this additional chapter far surpasses anything we were able to experience in the original game.

The battles with the bosses of The Delicious Last Course take on the connotations of a real animated short, both in terms of duration and development of the battle, with alternating backdrops, enemies that change in shape and a riot of elements that move on screen. We particularly appreciated how the developers wanted to experiment, coming to use mixed techniques that mix stop-motion (with backdrops made of plasticine and which reminded us of the Cuphead Museum Exhibit) and animated drawing.

Consider that the base starting for the developers was the last clash present in Cuphead, the one with the Devil himself, from whose structure they began to work to create the levels of this new additional chapter. Each battle in The Delicious Last Course, in fact, is a riot of different situations that alternate on the screen, making each battle varied not only on the merely playful aspect but also on the exquisitely artistic one.

The work done , in terms of animation, from StudioMDHR it is superfine and perfectly in line with the rest of the main work, to the point that we regret having played directly on The Delicious Last Course without having been able to experience that form of "artistic evolution" that those who have not never had the opportunity to try the title will be able to experiment with the progress of the levels and their increasing complexity in terms of elements that move on the screen.

As for the soundtrack of The Delicious Last Course, we can only be impressed, even in this case, by the mammoth work done for a DLC. The approximately twenty songs that compose it were made with the same care with which the over 50 tracks that accompanied the player in the original title were composed. The new title track, The Delicious Last Course, has nothing to envy to the previous Don't Deal With The Devil, as well as the rest of the songs offer a series of damn catchy compositions that draw heavily from Swing, Country and Ragtime .

For the recording of the songs of The Delicious Last Course, Kristofer Maddigan (former composer of the soundtrack of the original title) has gathered a collective of over 110 musicians to create the Cuphead Jazz Orchestra and create some of the compositions most complex of his entire career. And if you are wondering why we tell you all this, please understand, once again, the amount of work that StudioMDHR has done in the face of a DLC sold for less than € 10.

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