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 Brütal 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. As of May 2013, the game has been ported to Mac and Linux as well.
Art Shift: In the field, the game uses a very simple, cartoony art style. In battle, the combatants are depicted as more realistic - the player characters becoming their costumes, and the monsters becoming more intimidating and ugly.
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.
The Unicorn looks pretty badass, with emphasis on both "pretty" and "badass."
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.
Felony Misdemeanor: Oh no! The villains are monsters trying to steal all the Halloween Candy!
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. Bonus lampshading with fourth wall damage when a character explicitly mentions suspending disbelief.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Two more Psychonauts references are on the first page of the trading card list: The first candy listed is "Raz-Ums", named after the protagonist. On the same page, there is a type of cotton candy/candy floss that resembles the Funny Afro of Jerk Jock Bobby Zilch.
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.
The Robot Costume's battle form somewhat resembles Xabungle in color scheme, wings and overall appearance although both of its attacks are pretty different.
Metxel: Now look what you made me do! One of them was my brother-in-law!
Wren: Which one?
Metxel: I don't know! They all look the same to me! Just like humans!
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.