(For my review of the base Costume Quest, refer to this link.)

I was definitely surprised by the quiet release of DLC for Double Fine’s Costume Quest. The darling Halloween themed RPG had a lot of charm, and though it was a relatively short game by most standards, it was a satisfying play experience and was long enough to feel complete after a play through. The unexpected DLC contains an extra campaign that exists in parallel to the game’s core campaign; the game treats it as an additional title called Grubbins On Ice. With it comes a new area to explore and three additional costumes, some extra battle stamps and cards to collect, and some new achievements.

The new campaign revolves around events taking place in the hidden monster nation of Repugnia following your defeat of Big Bones in the main campaign. Presumably now sometime in November or early December, it’s the dead of winter and Everett is following Lucy around while she searches the old neighborhood for proof of the monsters existence for a school project. The pair eventually stumbles upon a discarded recording device, that when activated summons a portal that sucks Lucy in. Everett quickly runs to fetch the twins and the three of them form a party to rescue Lucy, gathering their costumes and entering the portal. Finding themselves in the land of the monsters, they discover that since Big Bone’s defeat, one of his generals named Abraxia has taken over and has taken most of the monster’s candy under his oppressive rule.  Lucy has fallen into his clutches, and the children are forced to join an underground revolution lead by the Grubbins in order to get her back.

This may sound like it opens up a lot of opportunities for something new, but almost all of them were squandered.
Though Grubbins On Ice is billed as a campaign and treated as an additional title, it’s really just an extra level, albeit and extended one; a sprawling area divided into three zones. The gameplay is exactly like it is in the other campaign, with the children going door to door to get candy in support of the Revolution.  It feels like there are somewhat more encounters this time around, but the brilliant mechanics that play off those in the first quest keep the fighting from ever turning into a tedious grind. The hilarious dialogue and visual humor has made a return, so the game still has that entertaining quality to it that was found in the original. Also, the area of Repugnia you stay confined to is quite sprawling so you are encouraged to explore. This is especially true of one of the three costumes, which is “hidden” in the same manner as the Halloween Avatar in the first game (the other two you will get in the course of the plot). Speaking of new costumes, the three additions each manage to add something new to the game. The Pirate has the special exploration ability to traverse zip lines, which is necessary for getting around Repugnia and gives you access to some of the hidden areas, while the Yeti performs a special combat ability that boosts your team’s defense. The Eyeball is probably the least effective costume for the effort it takes to assemble; all it does is expand your view of the game world so that you can see farther in all directions. It can help you find some of the secret paths if you manage to assemble it early, but by the time I got all the parts I had no use for it.

Despite being significantly shorter than the Costume Quest base campaign, Grubbins On Ice serves as a faithful expansion for those of you who enjoyed the game enough to want a little bit more. It’s clever and charming in the same ways the first romp through this quirky little RPG was, and the twist ending even hints at the possibility this game might turn into a series...though I don’t know how long Double Fine can keep on using this formula without it eventually going stale. Grubbins On Ice itself is fine, but it feels as though anything after this would be pushing the envelope.