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Review: Costume Quest

Posted by on October 23rd, 2010 | 0 Comments | Tags: , , ,

Publisher: THQ
Developer: Double Fine
Release Date: October 19th 2010
Availability:
Demo: Yes (386 MB)
Price: $14.99 | £9.99 | €14.99 | HK$ 117.00
Players: 1
Rating: E10+

What I Liked:
Great Art Style
Fun, solid gameplay
Consistently amusing writing

What I Disliked:
Can sometimes feel “plodding”
Not enough variety
Some issues with the UI (Text particularly)

Costume Quest is the first downloadable title from Double Fine, creators of games such as Brutal Legend and the acclaimed Psychonauts. This game marks a somewhat radical departure from the norm for the studio, as it is the first title from the company not having been directed by Tim Schaffer. In his stead, animator Tasha Harris takes the lead, and crafts an utterly spellbinding RPG that in some ways feels like a call-back to games such as Super Mario RPG, and yet manages to feel fresh and inviting at every turn.

The game takes place on Halloween, and the player is tasked with rescuing either your Brother or Sister, depending on which sibling you choose to play as at the beginning of the game. Once the other sibling has been kidnapped, then the game truly begins, with the player embarking on a number of quests of various lengths and levels of simplicity, with the eventual showdown with an evil witch proving extremely entertaining.

At its core, Costume Quest is a traditional RPG, with the costumes you’re bound to collect taking the form of classes and jobs. The Unicorn is a great healer, and the Giant Robot can deliver some pretty punishing attacks all of his own. The mixing and matching of costumes in your party allows the game to really thrive in the battles, as you are also able to equip one stamp to each of your costumes, in order to provide yourself with a variety of status or attack enhancements. The game really does feel like an RPG in the vein of any of the Mario RPG’s, with witty dialogue and fun battle mechanics forming the bread and butter of the game. The battle system isn’t just an “attack, and watch an animation play out” affair, as the game will ask you to perform rudimentary actions, such as spinning the analogue stick, in order to deal extra damage to a foe.

It’s outside of these battles, however, that Costume Quest can sometimes feel awkward. There is a distinct lack of variety in the game’s environments, and while the locations themselves may be varied, the activities you’ll take part in within them could have used a bit more variety. While the core quest is entertaining, and provides some great scenarios, the rest of the game feels like content intended to pad out the play time, which clocked in at roughly 6 hours for me, which is a perfectly acceptable length for a downloadable title.

Costume Quest is a great game, with some issues holding it back from being a fantastic one. The text in the game is somewhat small, so if you’re planning on playing this one on a SDTV, I’m not sure how readable the text will be. Also, it stays on the screen for a comparably short time, so I hope you’re a fast reader. With a little bit more variety, it could have been a shining example of the genre. As it stands, it’s a great title, with a unique setting. If that alone grabs your interest, then I wholeheartedly recommend buying it.

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