Saturday, July 26, 2014

Game Review: Costume Quest

Today I played Costume Quest from start to finish. Costume Quest is a game from Double Fine, an RPG about kids on Halloween running around a neighborhood, collecting candy, and trying to save a sibling from the forces of evil.

The game begins on Halloween night, and fraternal twins Reynold and Wren are eager to set out into the neighborhood to start collecting candy. Their parents are eager to have their kids out of the house and making friends, since they're new in the neighborhood. So, you choose between the twins to determine which one is the main character, then off you go.

The character you chose gets a neat box robot costume while the other one gets stuck with a... lesser costume. Not long after that, your sibling gets captured by a monster due to a substantial misunderstanding. And so, your quest to save your brother or sister begins.

When you fight monsters you take the form of the costume you're wearing. For instance, when you're wearing the robot costume you'll become a huge, powerful mech robot with missiles and such. As you venture around the neighborhood you find friends and new costumes to help you out. Fights give you experience just like other RPGs, and levels increase your HP and attack power. Candy can be exchanged for special stamps that give each character special abilities, such as increased attack power, the ability to dodge attacks, and more.

Also, some costumes provide out-of-battle abilities like roller skates, a light source, and sneaking that help navigate the world.

All in all, the game feels very balanced and tight. I managed to finish it over the course of a day with ~6 hours of play time.


The best thing about the game is the writing, which is often the case with RPGs. It's particularly true in this case, though, since the children of the game are written very well: clearly childish, yet not annoying or stupid. They're funny and adorable, and it's fun to watch their conversations.

The overall story is simple and easy to follow. It serves it purpose as a fun game about kids on Halloween that doesn't take itself seriously.

The game was sometimes a bit difficult at the beginning: there were a few battled that were pretty close calls, and one random battle that I lost several times. However, the game is incredibly forgiving: if you lose a battle you simply return to the regular screen and get the chance to run away, run past, or try again. The stakes are low, so you can focus on enjoying the game rather than stress or get frustrated from the challenge. That can either be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on what you want out of a game. Since the writing was the driving force keeping me playing the game I didn't mind that the battles were fairly easy.

All in all, it was a very fun experience, and I'm looking forward to the upcoming Costume Quest 2! That said, if $9.99 sounds like a bit much for a 6 hour experience, give it a while and you'll likely see the game 50% off now and then.

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