Review: ‘Costume Quest’
Treat yourself this Halloween to some indie goodnesson October 31, 2013 at 8:00 am
I love “Costume Quest”. I don’t care that it came out three years ago, I’ll take any chance I get to sing its praises. I don’t think nearly enough people have played this game, or even realize it exists.
Maybe it’s the rather generic sounding name. Maybe it’s the fact that it was released exclusively as a digital title. Maybe it’s because it came out before Tim Schafer and Double Fine proved Kickstarter to be a place where you can get fans to give you a LOT of money. Money to do… things.
Hell, you may already own “Costume Quest”. You could’ve snatched it up in a Steam sale without even thinking – which is how most of us buy 90% of our games on Steam. You could’ve gotten it as part of a very generous Humble Bundle without even knowing it was there. It could be sitting on your computer at this very second, waiting to be consumed and enjoyed, like a pillowcase full of the sugar, gained from a night of trick-or-treating.
If that’s the case, then you already own it. Stop reading and just experience it (don’t actually stop reading. Please stay). If that’s not the case, then buy it. It’s on PlayStation Network and Xbox Live, too. Seriously, it’s good.
If you’re only going to play one game for Halloween, make it “Costume Quest”.
Skip the horror games this year and play a game that captures the REAL essence of Halloween. The candy, the mischief, the seemingly endless amount of adventure you can have. This is because “Costume Quest” does a brilliant job of conveying what it’s like being a kid on Halloween. The one night out of the year where kids are allowed to roam around at night, without their parents yelling out of the front door to get them back in the house.
Hell, after doing a little bit of searching, I’m not sure there are ANY games that are actually Halloween themed other than “Costume Quest.” I like horror games, but I find this to be an extreme oversight. If I try to find “Halloween themed video games”, I get nothing but gore, psychological terror, and a smattering of “Castlevania” and “Ghosts and Goblins”. Apparently, not only aren’t there many games that tackle the more innocent side of Halloween, there aren’t many games that tackle Halloween at all. That makes “Costume Quest” something special then.
There’s also something quintessentially 80’s about “Costume Quest”. A time where movies portrayed kids getting into things FAR above their pay grade, like “The Goonies” or “The Monster Squad”. This game takes the same innocent spirit of adventure and foolhardy bravado from those films and injects it into itself. The adults won’t believe them, so they’re left with only one choice: TO BATTLE!
Well, it’s not quite that dramatic but you get the point.
I haven’t even gotten to the actual game, which is playful, light, and has just enough bite to keep you hooked for the 6-8 hours it takes to finish. It doesn’t overstay its welcome. It’s there for just the right amount of time, like the holiday itself, then it’s gone.
As you progress through the game, you’ll find different costumes you can change into, which allow you to explore different parts of the environment. But, in battle, the imagination takes over and suddenly your characters BECOME what they’re dressed up as. What may look like a cardboard box robot in real life, suddenly turns into a towering mech, ready to fire missiles when you take on a baddie.
Changing costumes is fun! Haven’t you ever run home during the middle of a night of trick-or-treating and changed, so you can hit the same houses over again? Yeah, I was that kid once.
Battles occur in a very similar manner to the Mario-themed RPGs. They have timing elements and you can attack or defend more effectively if you master them. That’s great! Also, all the special attacks have their own hook, so you’ll need to get good at different things to get the best out of them.
Some of you might be thinking, “Ugh, an RPG. God, they’re so slow and boring and pointless.” But this game isn’t!
You don’t have to worry about having to grind in this, because you can’t, and the game moves along at a very brisk pace. The timing elements help you stay engaged with the battles. If you screw something up, it’s your fault and not some fluke brought on by the game’s RNG (Random Number Generator.).
Besides, how could you ever look at a game like “Costume Quest” and not be enamored by it’s whimsy? If you say you aren’t, then you’re soulless and probably give kids pennies on Halloween.
I hated those houses…
Anyways, this game lets you trick-or-treat! Are there any other games that let you do that, huh? Hmm? Exactly!
“Costume Quest” is a perfect Halloween game and you should definitely set a night or two aside to play it. Stop taking Halloween so seriously by focusing on all of the morbid terror and gore, and try going back to how Halloween felt when you were a kid. Let’s face it, as adults, we can never go back to those days, so reliving them here is the best we’ve got.
Unless you’re one of those weirdos who goes out door to door, anyways. Seriously, dude, you have a job. You can buy your own candy.