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Costume Quest: Grubbins on Ice Review

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On 03/22/2011 at 12:00 PM by Nick DiMola

A decent expansion marketed on false pretenses.

Only grab this if you have a strong desire to play more Costume Quest, or alongside the main game next Halloween.

Costume Quest was a pretty fantastic game – it mixed RPG elements with exploration, and managed to make a game out of dressing up and trick-or-treating. It's a neat idea in concept and seeing it come alive on screen was equally fantastic. The Grubbins on Ice DLC is a continuation of the Costume Quest story and gameplay, which by definition makes it passable, but ultimately it feels like a cheap cash-in that should've been included in the main game in the first place.

Grubbins on Ice sounds kind of Christmas-y to begin with and its promotional materials and even release window coincide with the holiday. However, Grubbins on Ice has absolutely nothing to do with the holiday, though it seemed to try and capitalize on it. Instead, players return to the neighborhood a couple months after Halloween in an effort to save one of the game's characters, Lucy, who has stumbled into a portal to the Grubbin home world, Repugia.

Upon arriving in Repugia, players will find themselves completing the same kind of tasks found in the main game, like trick-or-treating, Mario RPG-style battling, and collecting costume parts to make three new costumes (Pirate,Yeti, and Eyeball) which are critical to complete sections of the level. Because players carry over their characters from the last quest, all of the items earned are available from the get-go, making a smooth transition into the new quest. The level cap has also been increased, allowing players to build up more strength to take on the more formidable foes of Repugia. Additionally, new stickers can be earned to aid in doing this.

Because Costume Quest was broken out into three distinct sections in the first place, this quest in Repugia is much like the fourth section of the game. It has new areas to explore and new quests to complete and clocks in around 3 hours, which is decent for an expansion.

Where things start to fall apart is in the general repetition. After completing Costume Quest, I know I had had enough of the game. Its mechanics are great, but it hit the sweet spot on length and cut-off just in time to not become tedious. Grubbins on Ice delivers more of the exact same thing, which, for me, was just a bit too much. Furthermore, Costume Quest drew on the spirit of Halloween and was released accordingly to the marketplace. Grubbins on Ice doesn't channel that energy well, which makes it lose some of its charm.

Ultimately, players are best off grabbing Grubbins on Ice next Halloween, and replaying Costume Quest with the new DLC incorporated. What's found in the DLC is well-made and obtaining the game's three new costumes will be more enjoyable when played alongside the rest of the game. Regardless, the content does feel as if it should've been incorporated into the game in the first place, perhaps as an unlockable after completing the main quest.

Review Policy

In our reviews, we'll try not to bore you with minutiae of a game. Instead, we'll outline what makes the game good or bad, and focus on telling you whether or not it is worth your time as opposed to what button makes you jump.

We use a five-star rating system with intervals of .5. Below is an outline of what each score generally means:

All games that receive this score are standout games in their genre. All players should seek a way to play this game. While the score doesn't equate to perfection, it's the best any game could conceivably do.

These are above-average games that most players should consider purchasing. Nearly everyone will enjoy the game and given the proper audience, some may even love these games.

This is our middle-of-the-road ranking. Titles that receive three stars may not make a strong impression on the reviewer in either direction. These games may have some faults and some strong points but they average out to be a modest title that is at least worthy of rental for most.

Games that are awarded two stars are below average titles. Good ideas may be present, but execution is poor and many issues hinder the experience.

Though functional, a game that receives this score has major issues. There are little to no redeeming qualities and should be avoided by nearly all players.

A game that gets this score is fundamentally broken and should be avoided by everyone.



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