Costume Quest Review
It’s very rare that a game releases at a specific time of year to match its content. This however is the case with Costume Quest, the latest offering from Double Fine Productions, who have timed their downloadable title to match the spooky holiday of Halloween.
This single player game sees the player taking the role of either Reynold or his sister Wren as they venture out into a new neighbourhood to trick or treat.
Unfortunately that’s where things go wrong and a greedy monster, complete with a mission to find candy, steals away your sibling (who happens to be dressed as a candy corn). Naturally your aim is to get them back at all costs and also find out why monsters are stealing tasty treats.
Your travels take you from the relatively safe sanctity of the suburbs to the multi-tiered mall and beyond. All environments are decorated full of Halloween appeal and have plenty of gameplay to offer.
Progressing through each is done by trick or treating a required number of houses. This is simply done by knocking on the door and hoping it’s opened by a human, who will shower you with delicious goodies, rather than a gluttonous monster.
If you do happen upon an adversary then the game shifts its focus to become a very simple role-playing game (RPG). Your character and any computer controlled party members transform into dramatic and imaginative recreations of their worn costumes. You then proceed to pummel your opponents using either a basic attack, complete with timed button prompts for maximum damage, or a power attack that requires a number of turns before being available. There are also timed buttons presses to limit enemy hits but aside from that, the combat itself sadly doesn’t get any more complex.
The strategy comes instead from the 11 different costumes that are bestowed upon the three characters that eventually form your party. Each costume has a different special attack varying from those that deal damage, to those that heal the party members. Your chosen combination can make or break your success in battle and it’s interesting to experiment with each. However until your party is at its three person limit, the combat is very repetitive and gets stale easily.
Also adding to your strategic options are ‘battle stamps’ which are available by parting with your candy currency. These can be added to your characters to grant extra passive abilities such as extra health, extra damage, auto resurrection and granting an extra attack upon a successful defend. Although each character can only have one equipped, it’s an extra layer of gameplay that forces the player to think a little more about their next fight.
Outside of the battles the costumes also come equipped with a single ability that enables progression in each area. These help players reach bonus areas loaded with materials to create new costumes or perhaps just bonus candy. Examples include rocket skates for zooming up ramps, a light sword to illuminate dark areas and the ability to smell like chips to entice other kids to a food stand.
They also help out in completing the games many side quests. These add a mass of longevity for completionists to get their teeth stuck into. Unfortunately there’s not that much variety to them and you’ll find yourself finding the same hidden children or bobbing for same apples a number of times before the game comes to a close.
The story itself is interesting enough with its plot of an evil witch – Dorsilla – and her quest to steal all candy in the neighbourhood. The endearing aspects come from both the characters, which are often spout inspired one-liners, and the meticulous detail to the Halloween theme. It’s simply a delightful world to get engrossed in.
Costume Quest has a ton of charm and character which it uses to great effect during its main storyline. While the combat may start off as a very simplistic role-playing game, it soon expands into a deeper yet accessible battle system. This may still leave RPG veterans feeling short-changed but Costume Quest still provides an exciting albeit repetitive casual adventure that anyone can enjoy.