Review: Costume Quest’s “Grubbins on Ice” DLC
cThe first DLC pack for Costume Quest – Double Fine‘s recent RPG-lite Xbox Live Arcade title – arrived just in time for Christmas, cunningly disguised as a winter-themed extension of the universe. At first, we had our fingers crossed that the downloadable adventure might be based around the most favourite time of the year, and feature some festively-based costumes, stamps and attacks but we were wrong. Now, while this is a tad disappointing, it’s also no bad thing as it means we won’t be expecting a new round of DLC every time a major holiday rolls around, before Double Fine finally run out of ideas.
So, the set up this time around sees Everett and Lucy taking an evening stroll – which ends up with Lucy being being kidnapped by a new enemy, Araxiam, who whisks her off to the monster world of Repugia. Everett rounds up twins Wren and Reynold – giving you the option to take control of either, as per the beginning of the main game – and sets off to rescue Lucy.
Grubbins follows the blueprint set out in the main game to an absoloute tee, even recycling some of the same quest types, such as locating six different kids located around the map for instance. Battles remain largely untouched, featuring the same “press this button at the right time” attack triggers, with the only difference being the perks gleaned from the new Battle Stamps for you to purchase from some of the shadier monsters in Repugia. There’s also a bunch of new cards, two new costumes (Eyeball and Yeti) and five new achievements, totalling 50 gamerscore, which – for 400MSP – isn’t too bad a deal.
Now, whilst fans of the main game will no doubt squeal with joy at the prospect of more of the same simple exploration/battle/exploration action (like myself), those hoping that the DLC will switch things up a bit will be sorely disappointed. For example, the Trick-or-Treat mechanic that’s so intrinsic to Hallowe’en – and the main game as a whole – is served up here, disguised as a means to rustle up extra candy for your newly-found monster friends, giving it a slightly dumbed-down and almost pointless feeling, and often appears to be a way of just padding out the adventure as a whole. Although it’s been cleverly altered and is relevant to the story, it just feels slightly out of context, and possibly even a little insulting to a certain demographic of children who are likely to pick the DLC up.
It’s still brilliantly innocent fun however, with the trademark Double Fine humour 100% intact; plus the wintery (non-Christmas) wonderland of Repugia looks great. The new costumes and battle stamps are ace, and if you’re prepared to approach Grubbins with the same innocent, care-free attitude the main game demands then you’ll definetely enjoy this first batch of DLC. It’s a little short on length and new ideas, but with the big day fast approaching we can’t imagine your little ones will have much of an attention span to notice anyway.
The real test will come if/when DF intends to extend the universe even further, and whether they decide to follow the same template or shake things up a little. We’d like to see a subtle blend of both Mr Schafer, in case you’re listening.
Review: Costume Quest’s “Grubbins on Ice” DLC Results
What we liked:
More of the same!
Still pleasantly charming
Easy waste of a few hours
What we disliked:
More of the same
Trick-or-Treating feels wrong
A bit too short