Game: Costume Quest
Publisher/Developer: THQ /Double Fine
Consoles: Xbox 360 (Reviewed), PS3
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Your sibling is kidnapped, and it is up to you to find him/her. You are allowed to choose at the beginning which sibling you want to play as. Turns out, your sibling’s costume looked like a candy corn, and monsters have a thing for candy. Who knew?
I was expecting a corny story, but it was actually quite good. Sibling rivalry stars as the main depth to the story. But fighting monsters is the second act. Many various characters turn up to help you. Most of the lines that the characters say are pretty funny. However, don’t expect gut busters. Instead, expect some irony, subtlety and outright clean humor. They may make you chuckle or smile, but the charm the characters exude and not the lines they deliver is where the story really shines through.
Costume Quest is a fairly simple RPG. You lead your characters through various stages and battle monsters, solve puzzles and find neat items.
Combat is standard turn based quick time events. However, through the game you will collect various costumes. These range from Robots to Knights. Each costume has a unique power and special ability. Once a character is wearing that costume, he inherits the costume’s traits. For example, the knight costume has a shield. Similarly, when wearing the knight costume, your character can use a shield in the regular world to protect himself from waterfalls. In combat, the shield is self explanatory. The costumes are easily one of the strongest parts of the game. They all have awesomely original characteristics. Just wait until a certain green, patriotic statue is unleashed; you will be awestruck. Overall, the combat is fun. Timing each strike perfectly or deciding which enemy to attack next is addictive. Watching each costume’s animated attack is also really cool to see. It is quite time consuming to find the costumes though, and I ended up using only about 5 different costumes throughout the entirety of the game. It seemed strange that each attack animation only had one single animation. It eventually got boring watching all these over and over. Also, enemy variety is terribly lacking. Most of these enemies are really easy as well, eventually making combat merely a matter of mindlessly pressing buttons. At least until the last boss, which will require some grinding, and the finding of missed collectibles. Even though there is some some deep customization of the costumes, like stun moves or increased dodge, there is potential for much more.
Puzzles are super easy. Think Lego Star Wars, but easier. However, the game may have been better off adding more of these puzzles. Why? Combat seemed to take over the majority of the game, and more exploration or puzzle solving would have gone a long way in balancing the structure of the game.
All in all, the sheer idea and execution of the costume system saved the game. It is an incredibly creative idea that was fairly well implemented. Adding more depth to the system may have gone a long way though.
Graphics and Audio
The best way to describe the graphics is: simple. Only essential parts of the game are fleshed out. Even then, most areas are devoid of too much detail. And that is not a bad thing. Indeed, for the game that Costume Quest strives to be, simple environments are absolutely fine. Each environment has what it needs and nothing more, making the game not feel overwhelming. However, it was easy to get the characters stuck on certain pieces like bushes or blocks of concrete. Also, quite a few of the areas had pointless detours that added nothing to the game. To give an example, the “town” area had a three sided box of bushes that seemed like it had a point until you get to the end and found nothing. This may have been purposeful to throw gamers off the track, but it was irritating nonetheless.
Audio in Costume Quest is also very simple. Although the soundtrack is good, the only places you are going to notice it is during or after battle. Sound effects are also present, but don’t really add anything to the feel of the game. Even the characters have no voice acting. While the lack of voice acting adds to the feeling of game, it still sucks to have to read in a video game.
For the price of $15, Costume Quest is an interesting buy. The story was oddly emotional, and I am not really sure why. It wasn’t really meant to be read into a lot, but it still had protagonists that I cared about. Charm, wit and personality are the words to sum it up. Gameplay may be lacking in a few areas, but the enjoyable length of the game counterbalances feelings of tedium. A lazy afternoon or a case of the RPG munchies is the perfect time to play Costume Quest.
I give Costume Quest: