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Ranking All The Bosses of Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course

Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course may not have much of a story, but you still would not want to be spoiled by this boss ranking.



Cuphead Delicious Last Course Saltbaker Cuphead Mugman Chalice

Who is the best boss in Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course?

At first glance, it is easy to criticize Cuphead’s recently-released DLC expansion, The Delicious Last Course, for its seeming lack of content. Fans of the beloved tribute to hardcore run and gun games and 1930s rubber hose animation have waited for this expansion ever since its announcement in 2018. Waiting that long only to receive a campaign that lasts about a third of the base game’s length might feel deflating to those who expected more. However, upon playing The Delicious Last Course, the thrill of experiencing the immaculately-designed bosses on offer makes it difficult to care much about the DLC’s length.

Studio MDHR clearly went for a quality-over-quantity approach with the new bosses here, as they all boast dazzlingly intricate animations and attack patterns that arguably surpass those of the base game’s boss lineup. Although this list aims to rank all of the new bosses, including the optional ones, in terms of both presentation and gameplay design, make no mistake—all of these fights are masterfully made in their own way.

Cuphead Delicious Last Course Angel Devil
Image courtesy of Studio MDHR

8) The Angel and Devil

The only truly hidden boss encounter in all of Cuphead, The Angel and Devil come as a massive surprise to those not expecting them. After solving a somewhat cryptic overworld puzzle and taking a nap in the middle of a graveyard, players get transported to a mysterious realm where a large 3D background model of the Devil’s (as in, the main villain of the base game) skeleton eerily watches over a swirling arena of clouds. This combined with the ambient music that never stops playing even after hitting Retry makes for a surreal atmosphere completely unlike anything else in the game.

Originally, the concept of this encounter was meant to be used for the second phase of the base game’s Devil fight, but it was ultimately reworked into its own dedicated segment in Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course. It is fortunate that the developers did not give up on this idea entirely, as it makes for arguably the most unique encounter in the whole game. Essentially, the Devil always appears in front of the player character whereas the Angel always appears behind them, which means that any attacks sent by the Devil are made intangible whenever the player faces away from them. It may take a few deaths before players fully grasp this mechanic, but once they do, the fight turns into a compelling balancing act that necessitates constant awareness of the player character’s positioning.

Despite how engaging the encounter is, however, its distinction as the only major boss that lacks multiple phases leaves it at an inherent disadvantage compared to other fights. It also suffers from a relative lack of replay value; since the game technically does not count the battle as a standard stage, it has neither rankings nor an expert mode variant, so players are never pushed to fully master the fight’s mechanics.

Cuphead Delicious Last Course King of Games Knight
Image courtesy of Studio MDHR

7) The King of Games’ Chess Pieces

Every so often, players can take a break from fighting the major new DLC bosses by paying the King of Games a visit. This charming old fellow holds a tournament where five champions await, and if players can beat them, they will be rewarded with coins they can use to purchase additional upgrades. However, there is a catch; when tackling these five minibosses, players are unable to shoot or take advantage of charms aside from the Astral Cookie. Instead, players must rely entirely on the parry mechanic to best these foes, each of which is based on a different kind of chess piece.

In a sense, these challenges are akin to the Mausoleum segments in the base game, only they are significantly more varied, eye-catching, and engaging. Each encounter sees the player utilizing the parry in a creative way, whether that be to bounce disembodied head projectiles back at the rook or to fire cannons at the queen in the background. The knight is a particular highlight, as it is framed as a duel in which players must bait out the knight’s attacks and take advantage of brief openings. To top it all off, despite the brevity of these battles, their visual designs are all treated with the same degree of care and attention to detail as the rest of the game’s bosses.

Much like the Angel and Devil, the chess pieces do not come with rankings or Expert mode variants, so what you see is what you get. Fortunately, the King of Games still offers a way for players to test their proficiency with these encounters. This comes in the form of ‘the Gauntlet,’ which tasks players with defeating all five minibosses in a row without dying. Admittedly, the reward for completing this optional challenge is rather weakall players receive is a simple achievementbut it still provides a fun incentive to return to these fights and perfect them.

Cuphead Delicious Last Course Moonshine Mob Light Bug gramophone
Image courtesy of Studio MDHR

6) Moonshine Mob

One of the benefits of post-launch DLC is that the developers can design content with the assumption that players are already familiar with the game’s core mechanics. This is certainly the case with the Moonshine Mob; it may be one of the first fights encountered in Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course, but unlike, say, The Root Pack or Goopy Le Grande, these criminal bugs are anything but a warm-up. The spider in the first phase throws scores of different hazards at the player all at once, the circular patterns emitted by the gramophone in the second phase take some practice to get used to, and the third phase’s giant anteater has a rapidly-moving snout weak point that can be awkward to aim at. The three-tiered arena also makes the process of positioning and finding opportune areas to aim at the boss inherently more nuanced than in other fights.

Mastering each phase is rewarding in its own way, but where the fight really excels is in its presentation and personality. Having the snail mob boss replace the usual announcer for most of the fight is a cute touch, and the ant cops that randomly come in to shoot pesticide at the spider mobster greatly add to the overall theme the fight is going for. Of course, the real highlight is the fake knockout screen at the very end; you beat the anteater in what is supposedly the final phase and rejoice over your hard-earned victory, only to get unceremoniously sniped by the snail boss’s last-ditch attack. It is an incredibly short and simple phase once you see it coming, but it is hard not to smile at this surprising moment of playfulness by the developers, even if it comes at your expense.

Cuphead Delicious Last Course Mortimer Freeze whale
Image courtesy of Studio MDHR

5) Mortimer Freeze

This crafty ice wizard was shown fairly extensively in Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course’s pre-release footage, an interesting choice considering he is relatively tame compared to the other DLC bosses. Aside from the vertical screen transition in the final phase, Mortimer Freeze’s fight is a fairly straightforward affair of learning tells and adapting to overlapping attacks and projectiles.

This is far from a bad thing, however; the fight feels remarkably polished, as the pacing of his attacks has a natural ebb and flow that makes the process of dodging them feel consistently engaging. This is particularly true of the second phase against the ice golem; his attacks come out at a satisfyingly brisk pace that always feels fair thanks to how clear his telegraphs are.

It is also worth noting how chaotic the final snowflake phase can be on Cuphead’s Expert difficulty. Dealing with the rapid-fire moon projectiles and the brief dodging window for the electric eyeball all while jumping between three circling platforms can seem impossibly overwhelming at first. But thanks to Cuphead’s uniquely responsive movement controls, players are more than capable of making these tricky situations seem effortless after a bit of practice. This third phase also benefits from being amazing to look at. Seeing the boss dynamically pass behind and in front of the play area can be disorienting, but it is hard to be too annoyed by this effect considering how stunning it looks.

Glumstone the Giant
Image courtesy of Studio MDHR

4) Glumstone the Giant

Much like the Moonshine Mob, Glumstone the Giant is surprisingly challenging for being one of the first available bosses. On Expert mode, the first phase is downright devious, as the player has no choice but to deal with shifting platforms, hostile gnomes, “spiked” floors, and Glumstone’s attacks all at once. Thankfully, nearly all of these threats are telegraphed in some way, but keeping track of all these tells simultaneously will require quite a bit of concentration from the player.

Once again, the stellar presentation really helps this chaotic first phase stand out, as even Glumstone’s idle animation demonstrates the degree to which Cuphead’s animators have honed their skills. Even better is the third phase, which sees Glumstone eating the player character and forcing them to continue the battle inside his stomach. It is clear that the developers wanted to push the boundaries of what Cuphead bosses can achieve with the DLC, and this final phase alone demonstrates that they have more than succeeded in that goal.

In addition to being a fun surprise, the final phase benefits from having a solid gimmick to back it up. Essentially, this phase sees players jumping between a quintet of skull platforms that sink into the stomach acid when fed drumsticks. When a skull platform gets a bone, however, it produces a pink cowbell that players can parry to restore all of the submerged platforms to their former positions. Players may not catch on to the mechanics of this phase immediately, but once they do, everything clicks into place in a really satisfying way.

Esther Winchester vacuum
Image courtesy of Studio MDHR

3) Esther Winchester

The only boss in The Delicious Last Course that utilizes Cuphead’s flight controls, Esther Winchester takes full advantage of the shift in gameplay style. The first two phases see projectiles coming in from all sides and angles, forcing players to constantly stay alert and use the plane’s movement options to their fullest. The intensity of the projectile waves in these phases almost reaches bullet hell territory, but they are balanced just enough so that players who lack experience with bullet hell shooters can scrape by with some practice. This combined with the music and Wild West aesthetic lend the encounter a sense of manic energy that even the most hectic fights in the base game cannot quite compare to.

Although the final two phases forgo this bullet hell-like design in favor of more controlled projectile layouts, they still manage to keep the fight fast-paced and exciting. In particular, the final phase features an ingenious setup where players have to pass through chains of sausage links that cross over each other in a scissor-like pattern, testing their proficiency with the shoot-’em-up controls in a novel way. The last two phases are made all the more memorable thanks to the premise behind them, which sees Esther accidentally turning herself into sausages before being processed into canned food in a hilariously dark turn of events.

The Howling Aces Bulldog
Image courtesy of Studio MDHR

2) The Howling Aces

If the previous bosses on this list did not convince you that the developers were pushing the boundaries of Cuphead boss design with The Delicious Last Course, then this one almost certainly will. The encounter against this team of canine pilots offers some of the most impressive visual spectacle in the whole game, as it sees players fending for themselves on top of a small biplane soaring at high speed toward the foreground. This spectacle is cranked up to eleven in the third phase, when the dog-shaped airship seemingly grabs a hold of the entire screen and rotates it to disorient the player. Considering that everything on screen is still hand-drawn, it would not be surprising if this fight alone took up half of the DLC’s development time.

Of course, there is more to a fun boss encounter than just the aesthetic, and thankfully, the Howling Aces fight plays just as well as it looks. All of the attacks in the first and second phases would be fairly simple to avoid on their own, but since the player’s biplane barely has enough room to walk around on and can only be moved by standing on either of their wings, this task is evidently made much more involved. The sideways screen rotations in the third phase could easily be seen as a bit too cruel, but they are carefully designed so that players do not have to worry too much about adjusting to the altered analog stick movement. All of the dog bowl projectiles in these moments can be avoided simply by jumping or standing still, and their color-coding immediately indicates which of these two actions have to be performed. Pulling this kind of perspective-bending trick could have easily ended in disaster, but thankfully, the developers did not sacrifice playability for the sake of visual flair.

Chef Saltbaker sugar cube
Image courtesy of Studio MDHR

1) Chef Saltbaker

You beat all of the main bosses, you get their ingredients, and you return them to Chef Saltbaker so he can bake the magical Wondertart. But as it turns out, he was using our porcelain heroes the entire time so he could begin his takeover of the astral plane. Surprise! However, what is legitimately shocking about this final bout with Saltbaker is that it manages to completely upstage the base game’s final battle against the Devil in terms of animation, atmosphere, gameplay, and challenge.

Not bad for a character who seemed so unassuming at first, but now, he has completely abandoned his friendly facade and devolved into a murderous psychopath. This is made immediately apparent in the first phase, where he mercilessly chops up sentient ingredients to use as projectiles all while donning the shit-eating grin to end all shit-eating grins.

The animation work on display here is absolutely out-of-control, easily the most stunning in the entire game. Cuphead’s visual style tends to lie somewhere between Fleischer and Disney, but this fight definitely leans more towards Disney with its absurdly fluid, dynamic animations. The visuals only become crazier as the fight progresses; Saltbaker’s second phase shows off his expressiveness in all its glory thanks to his newfound size, but then the following phases kick things up a notch when his bakery collapses and turns into some kind of salt dimension. By the time the final phase arrives, the player character ends up surrounded by tornadoes of salt with Saltbaker’s face horrifically plastered all over them while his exposed heart ping-pongs around the place.

Saltbaker provides a formidable challenge no matter what difficulty you play on, but it is worth noting that this fight becomes an absolute monster on Expert mode. The first two phases throw so many projectile patterns simultaneously that players are essentially forced to use every ounce of their concentration to survive. If they lose focus for even a split second, they risk taking damage.

But ultimately, that extreme difficulty is part of what makes mastering this fight so satisfying. Every second is spent jumping over obstacles and adjusting your positioning, so there is never a dull moment to be found here. In many ways, this fight really does feel like the ultimate test of all the knowledge and skill that players have accumulated throughout the game, DLC or otherwise. If the developers at Studio MDHR never get around to making a Cuphead sequel, then at least they can be content that they ended this ambitious project of theirs on such a high note.

Daniel Pinheiro has an M.A. in Community Journalism. He is deeply passionate about gaming experiences and the lessons they can teach us. Although he tends to gravitate toward platformers, he is willing to try out any game made with love and care. He also enjoys seeing the world and what it has to offer.