Game Review: Costume Quest
Genre: Action, Role Playing
Developer: Double Fine
Available Platforms: Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network
MSRP: 1200 MSP, $15 PSN
ESRB Rating: E10+
Costume Quest is the latest title to come out of Double Fine Productions. The house built by Tim Schafer and all his crazyness. Though not directly made by Schafer, there is quite a bit of his influence and style in this game. Made to be more of the bite size gaming than a full blown epic title release.
In Costume Quest you take on the role of either Reynold or Wren two siblings. As you go out for a night of Halloween trick or treating, monsters decide to snatch up the un-chosen sibling. Why did they decide to kidnap your brother/sister? Because the monsters are going around the neighborhood taking all the candy, and your other half unfortunately was dressed as a GIANT piece of candy corn. The rest of the game you are charged with two tasks; Firstly rescuing your sibling, and Second (and possibly more important) stopping the monsters from taking all the candy. Along the way you will recruit a couple friends from around town to help you on your journey.
Being dressed up as a robot (initially) isn’t just a design choice, it also helps you in battle. As you go door to door looking for candy (I mean it IS Halloween after all) you are met at the door by either a friendly neighbor who hands out candy, your currency in the game, or by a monster. Should you find yourself facing down a monster a battle begins. However you aren’t limited to just a robot. You also have the choice of Knight, Unicorn, Ninja, and so many more. All with different abilities, as well as battle styles.
Readying yourself for battle is probably the best and most imaginative part of the game. When the battle begins, your costume morphs into a real robot… a GIANT robot. You then fight your foes on a battle field that is reminiscent of the Power Rangers style of giant fights. There is a town surrounding your feet as you bash away at giant opponent. Combat itself is a series of quick time events. Depending on what costume you are using/wearing in battle the QTE changes slightly. It’s a very base level style of combat. There are “battle patches” that you can buy with your candy that can either buff your character or be used as an in battle item to de-buff your opponent. It’s a pretty much the Fisher-Price style of RPG fighting.
Seeing as how this is from Double Fine and the crew that rolls with Tim Schafer the one thing you can absolutely count on in his games is the writing to be excellent. Costume Quest is no different. The humor isn’t overly thought out, and the subtlety of it is what makes the jokes ever better. The adults in the game never take the kids seriously and the kids never rely on the adult for much more than a road block, some times literally. This game is a bit on the short side, it took me about 6 or so hours to play, but that isn’t a bad thing. Six hours is longer than some disc based releases recently. Also the length never lets any aspect of the game become overly stale.
Having said that the combat is, as I said before, very basic. If you are looking for some amazing system to master, you won’t find it here. It’s an entry level RPG and not meant to be a time sink. Some voice acting would have been nice but again, it probably was never pitched to have something that elaborate.
All in all this is a very small package that is full of imagination and humor. If you have a friend or loved one that only slightly likes RPGs but is looking to get into them more, this is a good first step. This concept of smaller style games fits perfectly here. Costume Quest could potentially become a sort of episodic game if it is handled correctly. I would love to play Christmas Quest or something involving the end of school. Point being, there is potential for more, so long as they don’t overdue things.