Game play - 8
Presentation - 9
Story / Creativity - 8
Lifespan - 8
The game provides hours of enjoyment that highlight the good parts of Halloween. If you want to have a lively, fall-themed evening, download Costume Quest.
I’m going to give away the end of this article for you right now: Costume Quest is good. You should buy it and sit down with a mug of cider to celebrate the only holiday where the color orange is ubiquitous. It’s an XBLA, Playstation Network, and PC title, so go get it.
I have a weird relationship with October. I love the idea of it because I love the heck out of fall. I like the pumpkins and apples, the corn mazes, and the smell of dead leaves and moss. Also, bugs start dying out, and I freaking hate bugs, so I’m really happy when those little monsters bite the dust. I love most of October, but then there is this unsavory element that starts to emerge from the end of September and pervades the atmosphere until Halloween. Those stupid commercials for scary movies and shows come on, and I have to scramble around the house looking for the remote in an attempt to flip the channel before I have to hear a lovingly rendered description of someone dying or being tortured to death in a horrible way. I hate, hate, hate scary movies because they legitimately give me nightmares and always make me look over my shoulder. Apparently I will always be ten years old, and no, I don’t have a nightlight.
Costume Quest takes all of the things I love about Halloween, fall, and October, and combines them all in an adorable game made by the clever and beloved developer Double Fine. Yeah, I’m waiting for that adventure game they’ve been working on too as a proud backer on their Kickstarter, but in the meantime you should give Costume Quest a whirl.
You start as either a boy or a girl trick-or-treating in your neighborhood, until suddenly your sibling is kidnapped and you have to rescue them. You don’t want to, because you’re related to them, but you have to, because you’re related to them. That’s how family is. You journey out to find them and run across these monsters who are stealing candy from kids. You get to fight against these monsters by turning your costume into an awesome version of whatever you’re dressed as. So if you’re dressed as a knight, you get to fight as a knight. The combat system uses the familiar turn-based style that Japanese games seem to love, and you gradually get to add new costumes and members to your party to fight against those candy-thieving goons. The combat is simple and straightforward, and can get a bit repetitive, but it’s still fun. The story is obviously a bit on the lighter side, but it is a downloadable title and it’s cheap so don’t complain.
The best parts of the game have to be the costumes, the art style, and the writing style. The costumes are amazing. I almost lost it when I found the parts of the unicorn costume, because that costume is badass. It’s got rainbows, hearts, pink, all of the necessary components of a kicking unicorn. The combat is varied and fun because of these costumes, and because the developers are doing what you did when you dressed up as a kid. When I dressed up for Halloween, I wasn’t myself dressed as a cat, I was a cat. In Costume Quest, you get to embody the elements of each costume you wear. I love it when developers can tap into an experience and make adults relive and understand what they loved about something.
The art style is adorable. That is a technical term now, because I say so. The UI is a notebook, the HUD uses a roll of Smarties to show your XP, and the art style is cartoony, which always holds up much better than games that try to look realistic. When you play, you’ll feel like a group of very attentive people worked together to make every aspect of this game fit into this cozy, Halloween aesthetic. The writing will make you chuckle, because it is Double Fine and clever is sort of their thing. Also, they’ve sprinkled in a few Arrested Development jokes, which is great for any fan of the show. It’s always nice to know that we aren’t alone and that there are dozens of us. Dozens!
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