A Double Fine Production generally means quality and something a little quirky. That is definitely the case with their new XBLA / PSN cutesy role-playing title “Costume Quest. In Costume Quest you play the role of a twin brother or sister (your choice, thank you Double Fine for NOT assuming the players gender) on Halloween night. You go out together and your sibling is kidnapped, it is of course up to you to get them back. So goes the story in Costume Quest.
Gameplay in Costume Quest is a simple affair with the addition of a cute collecting, upgrade and experience system that lends the game more depth. You play either sibling (male or female) looking for the other, as you collect candy and various costumes along the way. The action takes place in third person with cutesy graphics and characters. You also gain a little help, not only with party members, but also with the aid of different costumes and power-ups for each. Off you go around the neighborhood (and other areas I shall not spoil) collecting candy, knocking on doors to trick-or-treat, doing quests and kicking ass in some turn-based tomfoolery.
Prepare to Fight!
Battles in Costume Quest are – as just mentioned – a turn-based affair where the action cuts to the characters battling it out in ultra-stylized versions of the little costumes they’re wearing in the game. This is yet another charm ridden touch by Double Fine and one to be commended. Whatever costumes you are wearing in game dictates the animation of the super stylized versions you will see in the fight sequences, some of these are hilarious, so well worth trying them all out at least once. You can switch costumes at any time in game, other than when you are in battle.
Environments consist of quirky little neighborhood streets, beset with houses done up to the Halloween nines, with parks, sewers and more for the investigating. I won’t give away too many story elements, because the fun of Costume Quest is in discovering the charming story as you go along, later levels are set elsewhere. Audio in Costume Quest is good, though voice acting consists more of grunts and squeals than actual speech. Conversations take place via speech bubbles, so nothing is lost on the deaf or hard of hearing gamer. Needless to say being a Double Fine Production there is plenty of humor to be had.
Female Gamer Angle
As mentioned you get the choice whether to play the brother or sister, so you’re not stuck playing the usual hero brother model in search of his sister (yes I’m looking at you Limbo). As well as the lead character there’s also a plethora of amusing peripheral characters that are part of proceedings, but again, discovery is all part of the fun.
Lesbian Gamer angle
Well this is a game of is she isn’t she, because there are some pretty cute characters in Costume Quest that might one day grow up to be quite the gay lady. Keep your eyes open for Lucy and the suffragette ghost. Oh and let’s not count out playable lead Wren either!
So is it worth getting?
Definitely. Costume Quest is a quirky little wonder, that whilst a little short, is also charming and different. Graphically it’s adorable with peculiar characters and worlds of wonder. The only real downsides to Costume Quest are its length of play (you can finish it in one sitting if you don’t mind a numb bum) and overall simplicity, though the latter may actually be an asset. Essentially Costume Quest is fun with a capital F and that’s what gaming should be about. There may be those who will find the repetitive aspects of the gameplay mechanic to be a little old hat, but these are probably the same people who dismissed Animal Crossing as mind numbing collecting. At the very least, try the demo for Costume Quest, I think you will be pleasantly surprised.
Costume quest is the cute girl who loves collecting things. Sure she might have her detractors and your friends might say she’s a hoarder and repetitive at conversation, but you know she’s awesome. You might not be together long, but she’s the cutest girl you’ve dated for some time and you’ll enjoy your time together.
Costume Quest gets the Alice Pieszecki rating. Like Alice, Costume Quest is cute, adorable, charming and has a penchant for dressing up and collecting things. Yes we all remember Alice’s Dana Wall don’t we… and their attempt at Captain Stubing and Julie. Cute and awesome, but too short-lived, just like Costume Quest.
PLEASE let Costume Quest 2 or at the least Costume Quest DLC become a reality!