Review: Costume Quest (PS3; Xbox 360; PC)

This adorable downloadable game from Double Fine serves as a reminder of how awesome trick-or-treating is.

Remember when you were a kid on Halloween? Remember getting dressed up in the awesome ninja costume your mom bought from the store? In my case, I wore the kick-ass costumes made by Momma Minee (Kermit the Frog FTW!)

Patrolling the neighbourhood with Pumpkin Pails in hand; the Unicef piggybank hanging around the neck; yelling, “Trick-or-treat for Unicef!” at the top of our lungs at every door; sort out the mother lode upon making that glorious return to the homestead. Good times.

And you can relive those good times with Double Fine’s awesome game, Costume Quest.

 

Costume Quest

Genre: RPG

Developer: Double Fine Productions

Publisher: THQ

Platform: PlayStation 3; Xbox 360; PC

Original Release Date: Oct., 19 2010 (PS3), Oct. 20, 2010 (360); Oct. 14, 2011 (PC)

ESRB Rating: E10+ (Everyone)

Reason for Rating: Cartoon Violence

 

 

The heroes of this whimsical romp are Wren and Reynold, twins who want nothing more than to make this Halloween the best one yet. You get to choose which twin to play as, while the other sibling will be your sidekick (I chose to be Wren… she looked like a killer :P). Your trick-or-treating is cut short when a monster appears out of a house, says something about stealing all the candy, and snatches your sibling, mistaking them for a giant piece of candy corn (thanks for the costume, mom! :x). Now, not only do you have to rescue your other half so you won’t be grounded for life, you need to find out why these monsters are stealing candy. At least you’re dressed the part: you’re in a giant robot costume (thanks for the costume, mom! 😀 )

 

Costume Quest - Mall

The locales really capture the feeling of going out on Halloween night as a kid.

This Candy Looks Delicious… And Makes A Crunchy Sound!

Such a whimsical tale deserves a whimsical look. And this game has it in spades. The characters look like they’re straight out of a Saturday morning cartoon. The locales are typical of places you’d visit when on a candy hunt on a Halloween night and are well done; I really felt like I was on candy patrol in my own neighbourhood. All the decorations you see on the houses, the lighting, all these little touches add to the atmosphere. Love it.

The music is just as whimsical. This is one of those games where the music doesn’t play continuously; it stops then starts up again after a couple of minutes of silence. The more I think about it, the tunes at times remind me of those Rankin/Bass cartoons (think Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Frosty the Snowman) or Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas. Like the visuals, it adds to the whole feel of Halloween night, and it’s awesome.

 

Rolling Around In Candy Is Fun Too!

There’s lots to see and do on your journey to save your kin. First, let’s talk about the costumes. You will get two other kids to join up with you, but of course, they’re just kids. The costumes, on the other hand, are the real power. There are 11 different costumes you can find, and each plays a different role in your party. Think of them as your different classes, each with their own abilities both in and outside of battle, For example, the robot lets you zip around the map fast and leap across ramps, the space suit lights up dark spots… that sort of thing. Did I mention the costumes were cute? They are, ya know.

So as you can imagine, you aren’t going around sporting fancy-dancy armour. Instead, you can buy Battle Stamps using candy (yes, candy is the currency of the game). These stamps can enhance your fighting abilities (increase your attack power, raise your defence, etc.) or give you an extra ability you can use in battle, like wrapping your foe in toilet paper (HA!) to stun them. You can only have one Stamp equipped at a time, which is fine: anything more would be overkill.

Costume Quest_Neighbourhood

Ah, this takes me back to my trick-or-treating days.

As you go about talking to kids and various bizarre adults (and I should mention this now: the dialogue in this game is HILARIOUS!), they’ll ask you to do things for you in order to advance the plot, or give games to play, that sort of thing. Fortunately, the status screen (which is a notebook… so cute!) will keep track of all the quests you’ve completed, as well as the ones that are currently active.

In keeping with the whole Halloween spirit, you gotta go trick-or-treating. That’s right! There are a certain number of houses in each area, and you have to visit them all before the next section opens up for you to advance. Some houses will have normal folks who’ll give you candy, others will have monster… which means you’ll have to fight.

The battle system is turned based and very easy to grasp. Of course, the kids can’t fight as they are, so they tap into the magic of the Halloween spirit (okay, I made that part up… maybe) and transform into bigger, badder versions of their costumes. And suddenly those monsters that “greeted” you at the front door don’t look like such sissies…

For the most part, you’ll be using your basic attack. What’s interesting to note is that it’s actually a quick-time event, in that by pressing the correct button at the right time will deal a critical hit. All the time. When it’s the enemies’ turn, you can take less damage from attacks by pressing the correct button at the right time. You’ll want to keep on top of that, too: their normal attacks can take a heck of a lot of HP away, and you’ll be eating dirt pretty quick if you don’t defend yourself.

Costume Quest_Battle

Time your button press right, and you’ll deal your foes a world of hurt.

As the fight rages on, you’ll notice that there’s another attack that’s not immediately available. That’s your Special Attack, and it takes about 3 rounds to fully charge and be usable. But once it’s used, you’ll have to wait to use it again. Think of it as your “Panic Button”, since it can do some serious damage, or heal your guys when their low on health.

Aaaaaand… that’s it for the battle system. It really is as basic as it gets, which I think is fine for a lil’ game like this. Though I imagine that fellow RPG vets might be frustrated that there isn’t anything more to do than simple button presses.

 

Wanna Go Again?

Sadly, there really isn’t much to go back to once you’re done with the game. The trophies/achievement points are all easy to get your first time around. The only reason you’d want to go back would be to play as the other twin, but that might not be enough of a hook to some.

 

Makes Me Want To Go Trick-or-Treating Again… If I Wasn’t An Adult

Costume Quest is a fun lil’ game to play that really takes you back to your childhood. It isn’t a long game (you can finish it in an afternoon), but given that this is about lil’ kids on Halloween night, it makes sense for the game to not overstay its’ welcome. So think of it as a nice change of pace from your über-epic, more serious games.

Give it a try, and maybe make playing Costume Quest a yearly tradition. I know I will.

 

Costume Quest_Unicorn

This game has magic. Almost as much magic as the lost child of Swift Wind (from She-Ra) and Starlite (from Rainbow Bright).

 

Final Score: 7.5/10

 

Trick-or-Treat! ^_^

  • + Cartoony graphics and music are well-suited for this game
  • + Battle system is easy to understand (good for those new to RPGs)
  • + Great dialogue

 

Smell My Feet! X_x

  • Not much replayability; you pretty much seen and done everything in the game the first time around.
  • Battle system may be a bit too simplistic for some RPG vets

*This review is based on the PlayStation 3 version of the game.

 

More Treats For You!

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Have you tried Costume Quest? What are your thoughts? Let me know in the Comments Section!