If you’re like me, you’ve been waiting for a cel-shaded, turn-based game set around Halloween where costumes are powers and candy is currency. Well, wait no longer, Double Fine’s Costume Quest is here. The game takes place during the night of Halloween, where twins, Wren and Reynold attempt to stop a task force of baddies from stealing all of the candy in the neighborhood.
The premise is certainly light-hearted but is endearing until the end, as you partake in all the Halloween activities you would expect from a game titled Costume Quest—from trying on multiple costumes, bobbing for apples in mini-games, trick-or-treating, and battling goblins. All of these activities reward candy, which is used to purchase to upgrades for your characters via stamps that increase your characters stats.
The dialogue in the game is surprisingly witty and always enjoyable—the type of conversations you would expect from a well written television show with a similar premise. The art style enhances the experience ten-fold, as it captures a kid’s imagination well. In battle, the characters are transformed into heroic versions of their costumes, just as a kid would imagine his white sheet truly made him into a ghost. Each costume also offers unique special attacks, making battle something to look forward to, and not a grind like most games. The battles are usually well-paced in difficulty, and you will rarely have instances where you passively walk through a battle with ease. The baddies acquire more power-ups as the game progresses, leading to some unfortunate one shot kills toward the end of the game.
The simplistic RPG style battle system can be too simplistic at times. The lack of healing abilities can lead to a lot of situations where there is no recovery and as your only defense is correctly pressing the button combination on the screen, inattentiveness can kill you. The biggest downfall of the games simplicity has to be the lack of a mini-map. In order to advance to the next area, you have to trick-or-treat at every house, and missing a house early can make it difficult to backtrack with no guidance.
A big complaint a lot of people have is the autosave and lack of a manual save, but the game isn’t terribly long and there are rarely instances where you will become stuck. The game isn’t too long, but for $15, it is the perfect length, and I’m a firm believer that a few really fun hours are always better than a ton of decent hours. This is a great quick pick-up from PSN or XBLA as you’re waiting for the Fallout: New Vegas bugs to be fixed.