“Costume Quest: Trick or Treat?”
Remember when you were a little kid and thought that dressing up in a costume gave you some sort of power? Like, wearing a ninja outfit made you more agile and awesome? Heck, even some big kids (Like me) think so still! Well combine that times a thousand, throw in some RPG battling mechanics, and a bit of humor and you have Costume Quest.
The story focuses on two twins, Wren and Reynold, who are getting ready to go out and trick-or-treat, as it’s Halloween night. After deciding which of the siblings you want to be (and thus, who’s in charge) you’ll head outside to go trick-or-treating in your costume (which is a robot), along with your sibling (who is a giant piece of candy corn). Unfortunately for you, the neighborhood seems to be under attack by candy-stealing monsters. They mistake your sibling for a GIANT piece of candy and kidnap him or her. Now to a normal sibling, that might not be a bad thing, but since your a good person at heart (and afraid of getting in trouble with your parents) it’s up to you to rescue your sibling and save Halloween.
The story doesn’t go much further or deeper than “save your sibling”, so don’t expect anything very deep. You can expect a good amount of humor, though, as there are several moments throughout the game that are laugh-out-loud worthy. There is one glaring downside here though: this game is SHORT. We’re talking five-hours short. So, is short and sweet worth it to you?
Like I said earlier, Costume Quest is an RPG, and a pretty easy one at that. For inciting the little kid’s wrath, the monsters will have to fight her and a few new-found friends as they transform from costumed little kids into giant real-life versions of their costumes, which is easily the most entertaining aspect of the game. Each costume has it’s own strengths and weaknesses, as well as individual powers which you can use after several turns. There really isn’t a turn order here, instead your entire team goes first and than the enemies (another reason why it’s easier). With only a few moves to do in any given fight, some of the staleness is taken out by being required to hit timed button presses for attack and defense, which helps you hit harder or take less damage respectively. You can also customize your party a little by giving each character a battle stamp. You can buy these stamps with acquired candy and each one either helps your stats or gives you some sort of passive or new ability. All said and done, there are quite a few costumes to choose from, and dozens of stamps to choose from too. A few of the costumes (mostly the early ones that you acquire) also have “exploration moves” that you have to use to get by certain obstacles in the game, which they use to limit where you can go when they let you explore.
A few of the costume’s special abilities combined with certain battle stamps pretty much guarantee victory, making the game, in my opinion, exceptionally easy. This is a necessity in the game though, as you don’t have a way to heal yourself during a battle without certain costumes and battle stamps. There are no “items” in the game you can use to restore your hit points and you will heal to full after each and every battle.
The graphics in the game are kind-of like the story: not too detailed, but charming. Take a look at some of the screen-shots. Similar to Psychonauts, the characters are drawn big and very cartoon like. Personally I find this endearing, and it fits the game well since it’s only a short download title after all. Background detail is good as well. The characters in the game don’t speak, as the game is entirely text boxes only. The back-ground music is good and varies from each of the three main areas you fight through, but the trick-or-treat suspense music and the battle music get old fast with no relief to help them.
There is also no significant change between picking either Wren or Reynold besides the obvious dialog changes, which was a bummer. And I already mentioned one of the greatest downfalls of this game earlier when I said it was so short. But isn’t that the mark of a good game, that it leaves you wanting more? Yes, it is, but most games do offer up more content at least, giving me mixed feelings about this title.
Score: 9 out of 10
Costume Quest is a “Treat”, as long as you don’t consider it’s shortness being a “Trick”.