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Wren: Halloween isn't about making friends. It's about TERROR!
Reynold: And CANDY!
Wren: It's about showing the world what you truly are.
It's Halloween night in suburbia, and twin siblings Wren and Reynold are going trick-or-treating. Mom puts one sibling in charge (while the other gets stuck with the lame candy corn costume), and they saunter forth in pursuit of sweets.
But one house doesn't go exactly as planned. Where the kids expect a dorky grown-up with candy for the taking, a hideous monster pops out the door and abducts one of them! It seems that a horde of Grubbins have invaded Auburn Pines under the orders of a Hot Witch named Dorsilla. Out to steal every lollipop, jellybean and jujube in town, they mistook your brother or sister for a huge chunk of candy corn. It's up to you to save your other half. Not out of love - but out of fear of getting grounded!
Costume Quest is the first of four titles from Double Fine for which Tim Schafer took a backseat to the most trusted members of his team. This game is from the imagination of Tasha Harris, former Pixar animator and Lead Animator of the creatures in Brutal Legend.
In this simple old-school RPG themed around Halloween, the player goes on quests to find their kidnapped ally and save Halloween . . . by trick-or-treating. You must visit each house in the area and knock. If it's an adult, he or she will reward you with candy. If it's a monster looting the house, a battle encounter begins.
During a battle, for no reason other than Rule of Cool, whatever costume you are wearing transforms you into a massive, Kaiju-sized version of what your costume was supposed to represent. You start off in a blue cardboard box that's supposed to be a robot, so what happens when you transform? You become a Voltron-esque, missile-blasting mech! Attacking and defending is performed with well timed Action Commands, like those seen in Super Mario RPG, Paper Mario, Shadow Hearts and Penny Arcade Adventures.
Outside of battle, players explore the neighborhood in search of new houses and costumes; there are eleven outfits in all, most of which are built from scratch. Each costume consists of three household materials, such as cloth or rope, and an instructional blueprint. Finding all the pieces yields your snazzy handmade digs, which unlock both combat skills and "Exploration Abilities" for reaching new areas.
Candy is the game's currency and can be used to purchase Battle Stamps. These helpful stick-on accessories can power up stats, enable Standard Status Effects, or unlock unique single-use abilities in combat.
The game initially released in October of 2010 for XBLA and PSN. A DLC expansion, "Grubbins on Ice", which was a follow up with a Christmas theme, came out in December of 2010. In October 2011, a PC version was released through Steam and included both the original game and the DLC as one package.
Costume Quest provides examples of:
- Action Commands: The combat is ripped straight out of Super Mario RPG, Shadow Hearts and Penny Arcade Adventures.
- Adults Are Useless: Hilariously lampshaded every possible chance there is. At least one grown-up has seen the evil beasts himself - and thinks they're just teenagers.
- Attention Deficit Ooh Shiny: Reynold, especially in "Grubbins on Ice". Ooh, look! A quarter!
- Back From the Dead: The Unicorn's special.
- Becoming the Costume: Literally!
- Big Bad: Big Bones.
- Bigfoot, Sasquatch, and Yeti: You can encounter Yetis and wear a Yeti costume in the DLC.
- Big Eater: Again, Big Bones.
- Beef Gate: The return of BoJonn in the Arcade.
- Broken Bridge: Several, usually in the form of locked gates and stubborn guards.
- Calling Your Attacks: Several, and several parodies.
Hero:"Now you'll taste my Missile Barrage!"
Dorsilla:"What's that? I couldn't hear you over the sound of that sudden tornado. *snaps fingers*"
NPC in Dragon costume:"Fire Breath! Fire Breath! Why aren't you burning from my Fire Breath?"
- Cliff Hanger: Grubbins on Ice ends with the kids going through the portal to return home, only to end up in a void-like dimension containing even more portals.
- Clothes Make the Superman: Core game mechanic. In an enemy encounter, Wren and Reynold transform into a building sized version of what their primitive, handmade costume is supposed to represent. Here's a list by category of use.
- Cryptic Background Reference: Repugia.
- Dangerously Genre Savvy: Dorsilla. She tries to get rid of your awesome costumes more than once.
- Deal with the Devil: Dorsilla with Big Bones.
- Defeat Means Friendship: First the Grubbins, then the Trollbogs, then the Crestwailers.
- The Dragon: Dorsilla
- Dual Boss: The final fight of Grubbins on Ice pits you against Big Bones and Araxia.
- Early-Bird Cameo: Charlie Blackmore appears in a secret cave in Repugia. So does an advertisement for the game he'll be appearing in.
- Enemy Civil War: You join one in Grubbins on Ice
- Evil Twin: Dorsilla
- Expy: The Black Cat Costume is a Laser Panther without the purple streaks.
- Failed a Spot Check: The monsters mistake the costumes for walking, talking candy or food several times. They are also easily fooled by the hero wearing a Grubbin costume despite everyone else in the group clearly not dressing as Grubbins and your main character clearly being a small child.
- At the start of Grubbins on Ice, Reynold misses a huge glowing portal because he's distracted by a quarter that's just a few feet away from it.
- For Science!: Lucy, constantly.
- Freudian Excuse: Some Repugians in the DLC will roar "I had a rough childhood!" before assaulting you.
- Genre Savvy: Wren, Reynold, Everett and Dorsilla.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: "I hope I'm the only banana costume. Last year? TOTAL bananafest!"
- Giant Enemy Crab: The French Fries turns you into this. Yes, really. A giant crab with french fry legs, french fry pincers, and a french fry container shell. And it's actually pretty effective.
- Grim Reaper: Big Bones, an enormously fat Grim Reaper.
- G-Rated Drug: Candy. "Awww YEAH! That's the sugar daddy likes!"
- Halloween Game
- Halloweentown: Repugia
- Hand Wave: Lampshaded. When the kids need to get down from the Ferris wheel, your character comes up with a brilliant plan. Immediate cut to the kids on the ground.
Everett: I can't believe you thought of a way down that was so simple and practical.
- A Hell of a Time: One monster says Dorsilla is so bad that they don't want her to return to Repugia.
- Healing Hands: The Statue of Liberty's power is to do this through sheer Patriotism.
- Homage: Tasha Harris says the game is inspired from many things. The isometric diagonal view of the town is from Earthbound, the monsters are inspired from Labyrinth, the art is inspired from Hayao Miyazaki and Wind Waker, and the whole game is a love letter to Halloween and costumes (in particular, handmade ones.)
- Hopeless Boss Fight: "Grubbins on Ice" starts you off fighting against three Level 14 Repugiarchs; at this point, it's impossible to be higher than Level 10. You actually can win the fight if you hit all the prompts and catch some luck with the enemy's choice of targets, but Failure Is the Only Option and it dumps you into the next scene as if you lost. (You still receive a hefty experience bonus if you win, though.)
- Hot Witch: Dorsilla, in universe, and she boasts it. After her defeat, she wonders if her failure to conquer the world is because she's too pretty.
- How Unscientific: Lucy does this a lot.
- Idiot Hero: Reynold leans to this in the DLC.
- I Got Old Marzipan
- Ironic Echo: Dorsilla uses a recording of the main character to tear the sibling away from him/her. Dorian uses a recording of his sister to expose her plot to usurp Big Bones.
- Kaiju: The battles become these. The various silly goblins transform into massive, uglier monsters, and the children transform into giant, more lifelike versions of what their costumes are supposed to represent.
- Kids Are Cruel: The gang of mummy children. But it turns out the gang leader is the only one keeping their violent tendencies in check. This is played for laughs.
- Kids Prefer Boxes: The first costume.
- La Résistance: You help out the monsters against their oppressive new government in Grubbins On Ice. They even dress like Che Guevara. Citizens wonder why, despite being members of the resistance movement, you lack beards and berets.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Everett does this the most. Or maybe he just really likes Dungeons and Dragons.
Everett: A mall? This looks more like a dungeon! Which I am totally prepared for! Hey look! A dungeon map!
Everett: He just took a natural 20 to the face and didn't take ANY damage!
- Life Drain: The Vampire's special.
- Lighter and Softer: The difficulty is easier, and the humor is more low key than Double Fine's previous works.
- Limit Break: Called the Combat Ability, it's measured by a circle-shaped energy meter that fills up in three turns.
- Lovecraft Country: A very cutesy version.
- Lovecraft Lite
- Macross Missile Massacre: The Robot's special.
- Magic Versus Science: Lucy refuses to call the monsters as such, and adamantly believes they are aliens.
- Magnificent Bitch: Dorsilla
- Manipulative Editing: Dorsilla uses this to drive the siblings apart.
- The Medic: The Statue of Liberty and Unicorn costumes. The Vampire can heal the party as well, despite being an attack-based class.
- Mook Medic: In every species of Repugian monster. Grubbins, Trowbogs and Crestwailers each have their own healing class.
- Middle Management Mook: Bojonn.
- Mordor: A spooky world from which the monsters come from appears in gateways around town.
- No Fourth Wall: All references to content locked away in the trial version are lampshaded.
"Perhaps the full version will be a bit kinder to the fourth wall."
- Parental Bonus: Invoked Trope. Tasha Harris wanted the game to have the appeal that Pixar (her former and now current employer) applies to all their work, in which the game would be simple and charming enough for children, but also appealing to adults. There are plenty of jokes for adults, covering such edgy material as globalization, prescription drugs, American history, and more.
- Recurring Boss: Bojonn.
- Rule of Cool: The magic of the costumes is never explained, but who cares?
- Patriotic Fervor: The Statue of Liberty's Combat Ability, and winning animation.
- Ravens and Crows: A race of bird people called the Crestwailers.
- Save Point: Telephone boxes let you call the police and tell them about the monsters. They will sigh and tell you "your report has been logged."
- The DLC changes the dialogue for the boxes so that you're now calling the Trowbog Historical Society. Because how else are they going to know if history is happening?
- Sequel Hook: The DLC leaves the main characters lost in a hub of portals to different worlds.
- Shout-Out: The Unicorn Costume.
- The music in the mall camping shop is the camp music from Psychonauts
- The Pumpkin Costume's battle form is ripped straight out of The Nightmare Before Christmas.
- The Disembodied Hand Stamp upgrades into the Disembodied Six-Fingered Hand Stamp.
- The cowboy warning the public about the dangers of candy? He works for an apple company.
- "Like the kid in the $600 Banana is gonna follow the kid in the $20 costume. COME ON!"
- A mission in a corn field maze is called Children of the High Fructose Corn Syrup.
- Orzo the human cannonball makes references to the Fettucini Brothers.
- The incantation used to open the Gate in the third area is Vodello Zanatto Lobotto.
- Finding a girl hiding in a witch costume causes her to shout "Oh, what a world! What a world!"
- It may be a stretch, but there might be a reason why the DLC for this Halloween game is Christmas-esque.
- An incredibly obscure one: One of the girls dressed as a witch in the mall is named April, and refuses to do love potions "for charity cases". There's a Ray Bradbury short story called "The April Witch" which is about a young witch trying to spread love around out of charity.
- Sibling Rivalry: Wren vs Reynold.
- And Dorsilla vs Dorian. Dorian obviously losing.
- Sinister Scythe: Big Bones' weapon. It's also where he hides his emergency candy stash.
- Standard Status Effects: Poison, Burn, and Stun. Different kinds of attacks inflict various degrees of each.
- The Starscream: Dorsilla, to Big Bones.
- Status Buff: Different abilities or Battle Stamps grant Ability Up, Protect, Regeneration, or the ability to evade all attacks for one turn.
- Stealth Mentor: Dorian
- Stock Aesops: Family is Everything.
- Sugar Bowl
- Sweet Tooth: Candy is currency for upgrades
- This Is Sparta: *lightning* TRICK OR TREAT!
- Villainous Glutton: Big Bones.
- What Do You Mean It's Not Awesome?: The Unicorn Costume
- What Do You Mean It's Not Heinous?: Oh no! The villains are monsters trying to steal all the Halloween Candy!
- What the Hell, Hero?: The player makes a grudging but heroic speech to Dorsilla's voicemail. She clips out the heroic parts for her own purposes.
- Wicked Witch: Dorsilla.
- What Measure Is a Mook?: Metxel crashes his Candy-dozer into two mooks in the middle of a fight.
Metxel: Now look what you made me do! I think one of them was my brother-in-law!
- "What the Hell?" Dad: Played for laughs, the twins dad appears surly, glued to his chair and newspaper.
- At the end of the game he finally gets off his chair and puts away his newspaper, to take a piece of candy from his kids, saying it's a "Dad Tax."
- Woman Scorned: When Big Bones discovers Dorsilla's plot to usurp him, he breaks the deal with her and tell her to get lost. Not happy at all, she obeys, but not before boosting the heroes' power so they'll kick his ass.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: Lucy, big time. Spouts a lot of science fiction (and science fact) in a magical setting.
- You Mean "Xmas": Yeti Fest is a cross between Christmas and Groundhog Day.