Giant Bomb Review

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Costume Quest Review

4
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This lightweight RPG oozes charm and humor.

Costume Quest is a game that thinks Halloween is awesome. It's a celebration of the hyperactive imagination of children, the good-natured awkwardness of kiddie Halloween costumes, the all-consuming desire to acquire as much candy as humanly possible, and the need to slaughter dozens and dozens of candy-thieving monsters along the way. Alright, so that last part wasn't exactly an element in any of my trick-or-treating forays as a child, but that makes it no less fun to experience. Developed by Psychonauts and Brutal Legend makers Double Fine, Costume Quest delivers an adventure that is as cute as it is fun to play. Its breezy nature and brief length might be a bit of a turn-off for some players, but anyone else ought to be immediately charmed by this downloadable role-playing game.

 Your costumes start out cute and kid-friendly...
In the game, you play as either Reynold or Wren, bickering twin boy-and-girl siblings who seem none-too-pleased about their parents forcing them to stick together as they prepare to go out trick-or-treating. No sooner are they out of the house and knocking on neighbors' doors that one of them (the one you didn't choose to control at the beginning of the game) is kidnapped by a horrible, candy burgling goblin. He skitters off toward a mysterious black gate at the edge of the suburbs, and you're off on a quest to save your sibling, while ridding the world of candy grubbing beasts in the process.

That quest comes in the form of a game that feels a little bit like "My First RPG." In the game's overworld, you'll find yourself wandering around three distinct areas (the suburbs, a local mall, and a carnival village on the outskirts of town). These worlds are chock full of hidden stuff to find, not to mention a couple of additional children who are more than willing to tag along on your quest. Eventually you'll find yourself going door-to-door and trick-or-treating. Behind each door lies one of two things: A costumed adult, who usually has some pithy comment for you before they unload gobs and gobs of candy (the game's currency) on you, or a horrible monster of some fashion, who usually says something equally pithy before engaging you in battle.

Battles play out in turn-based fashion, and once a fight is engaged, your characters morph from cute little kids into giant, battle-ready versions of whatever costume they happen to be wearing. Costumes are earned throughout the course of the game (either by finding the materials in chests, or by completing side quests for other characters), and each one comes with its own unique set of combat abilities. There are attack-oriented costumes--like the robot costume that turns you into a giant Gundam-looking cybernetic thing with a fist-firing basic attack, and a special attack that blasts missiles at all enemies currently on the screen--as well as more defense and stun-oriented costumes--such as the Statue of Liberty costume, which, yes, transforms your character into a giant-sized Statue of Liberty, capable of blasting fire as a basic attack, and for a special move heals all party members via a delightfully patriotic mural that features the American flag, bald eagles, and Abraham Lincoln's floating head. The less said about the French fry costume, which morphs you into what would happen if you cross-bred the greasy snack with an enraged spider, the better.

The combat moves are executed through a variety of different timing-based button presses. Sometimes it's a well-timed press of one button, sometimes it's a meter that can only be filled up by pressing the left control stick over and over, but in every event, it's all pretty simple stuff. The variety of costumes and related combat moves is actually pretty good, but it won't take you long to find the costumes you're most comfortable with, and odds are you'll stick to those throughout the course of the game. That fact does make the combat a tad repetitive, as does the fact that few, if any, of the battles are terribly difficult. I don't think I lost a fight until I got to the last boss, actually. The addition of battle stamps, purchasable items that give you added abilities like increased attack strength and additional stun abilities, add a bit of variety to the proceedings, but not a great deal.

 ...But once imagination gets involved, they turn deadly.
That said, whatever repetitiveness the game might suffer from is pretty well trumped by its positive onslaught of charm and humor. This being a Double Fine game, Costume Quest's dialogue is unsurprisingly quite clever and humorous, but more to the point, the world of this game is simply adorable as all get-out. There is a distinctly cartoonish, almost cel-shaded look to the game, not to mention a smoothness and stylish quality to the animation that makes this one a real eye-pleaser. The delightfully Halloween-y music certainly adds to the atmosphere, as well.

Additionally, while the game's quest isn't a terribly long one, the basic pace and design of the game feels just about right. Each world is just big enough to make exploring it a fun endeavor, while not being so large as to be unwieldy or confusing. The game never gets fetch-questy to pad its length, sticking to quests that you'll solve naturally over the course of your exploration. And while the mechanics of the game are undoubtedly simple, the combat never gets old. Even if you do end up sticking to a few specific costumes and attacks through most of the game, you'll undoubtedly want to see them all, and try out each of their different moves a few times, since the battle animations are often pretty entertaining.

Perhaps Costume Quest could have benefited from one additional world to explore, a little bit more in the way of costume and combat variety, or a slight uptick in challenge, but ultimately, these few issues do little to hinder one's enjoyment of what is an incredibly bewitching little title. What Double Fine has done right here easily trumps what few issues it might have. This is an easy game to lose yourself in for as long as it lasts, and, by the end of the adventure, all I could think to myself was how much I'd like to see these characters again come next All Hallows' Eve. Alex Navarro on Google+
64 Comments
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Posted by Piririn

Holy another alex review

Posted by Crono11

Having just beaten the game, I agree with everything that's mentioned here.  
 
Nice review. 

Posted by SuperSambo

Alex really needs his own images instead of just the stock one.

Posted by CitizenKane

Alex is lighting it up with these recent reviews.

Posted by yakov456

Glad to see it scored good, from the demo I was fairly entertained.

Online
Posted by zombie2011

Alex with another review. 
 
Already picked up Super Meatboy so this will have to wait.

Posted by keithfreitag

dang

Posted by Daveyo520

I want this game so bad.

Posted by ZeroCast

I heard Alex loves video games? Is that a rumor? 
 
Splendid review once again Mr.Navarro. Keep It Rambo.

Posted by Morien

Looking forward to this.
Posted by DXmagma

I LIKE THINGS THAT OOZE OTHER THINGS!

Posted by Bestostero

halloweeeen

Posted by LiquidSwords

How long before people start acting like tools because Alex wrote another review? Not really into RPG's but this looks like fun, will buy!

Posted by gormanator

ill pick itup

Posted by takua108

Okay, seriously, if Alex is going to keep reviewing games, he needs a proper full suite of 1-5 star review avatar thingies.

Posted by DXmagma
@LiquidSwords: is that good or bad? cause honestly i think it's awesome.
Posted by SiN13

Alex is all about charm.

Posted by Panpipe

Is there any replayability? 
 
New game+ or anything like that?

Posted by Zanthox

Great review, no I REALLY can't wait to play this game!

Posted by Atwa

Will probably pick it up, trial was hilarious :D

Posted by buhssuht

the Giantbomb guys must be busy to have Alex review some game, not that i have problem with it. 
my only complaint is that Alex, if you're gonna do some review, have you're own picture for different review scale

Posted by RazielCuts

Is anyone finding Costume Quest broken for them? 
 
I'm at the beginning and I need to get something to put in the Pie for the headteacher, what you need is in the 'Party' that you can't get into without something patriotic which is the Statue of Liberty costume. I'm two pieces off and I've circle the entire place like a bajillion times. Its too small a place to miss anything. 

Posted by Vorbis

If only there wasn't so much else to play... Ok you've convinced me.

Posted by Blind_Evil

While the RPG elements are pretty standard, I wouldn't call it "My First RPG."  Some of the fights are harder than anything in the last 3-4 Final Fantasies.

Posted by MithrilMojo

Was convinced after the Quick Look, and will buy this tonight.  Just see if I don't.

Posted by Chirag4
@RazielCuts: Equip the knight costume to Reynold/Wren, go to the sewer place that you couldn't get into before cos you'd get drenched, use the knight costume's power by holding B. Voila! You're now able to walk underneath the water and obtain your final piece.
Posted by radioactivez0r

I've been playing this all day (almost done), and I'd say this is a fair assessment.  It's great fun.

Posted by Bucketdeth

Awesome I didn't know Alex was doing game reviews again, I'm getting an old school Gamespot vibe.
 
Costume Quest looks great and I will be downloading it this weekend after exams.

Posted by nickux

It seems like a minor thing but I've been really bothered by the fact that the dialogue in cut scenes just goes away without me hitting X. It's weird but I often get halfway through a longer sentence only to have it flash away. I wish it was like most non-voiced games and let me click through instead but I know that would hurt the comedic timing. Also, I wish it generated a map as you went through each place so I could see where I've been. Beats wondering around aimlessly looking for houses I've missed. Overall, though it's hard not to love this game. It's so damn charming.

Posted by Koslian

Does it have co-op?

Posted by ZeroCast
@Koslian said:
" Does it have co-op? "
Does he mention it in the review?
Posted by Yummylee

I think Alex may now of reviewed more games for GB than Vinny O.o. And Vinny's the video guy and all, but still seems strange to have another site member do more overall reviews than he has.  And I really like Vinny's reviews too! ='(

Online
Posted by thebatmobile

It's too bad it's so short. I already S-ranked it.

Posted by fedorajay

Demo was a blast and I can see myself making a tradition out of playing this every Halloween.

Posted by Crono

Am I the only one that sees the irony in Alex's macho avatar and the fact that his 2 most recent reviews here have been this, cutesy Costume Quest and the even more cutesy Kirby's Epic Yarn.

Posted by Undeadpool

Bought it blindly (well almost blindly, I saw the Quick Look), I'm glad to see it was money well spent.

Posted by rcath

game looks awesome, love Alex on the site.

Edited by YetiAntics

SOMEONE GET NAVARRO SOME CARTOON AVATARS ALREADY! 
 
 
 
....please?

Posted by MisterMouse

Awesome! I wish I had a way to play this though...

Posted by Fjordson

Another quality review from Alex. This game really is great. Just a really fun and care-free experience.

Posted by Meteora
@Abyssfull said:
" I think Alex may now of reviewed more games for GB than Vinny O.o. And Vinny's the video guy and all, but still seems strange to have another site member do more overall reviews than he has.  And I really like Vinny's reviews too! ='( "
Vinny and Drew both needs to do more views. =/
Posted by bybeach

Good review, done by somebody who knows games. 
 
Guess Ryan didn't have time for it.
Posted by jim_dandy
Your face oozes charm and humor.
Posted by Tebbit
@PantyshotMQN said:
" SOMEONE GET NAVARRO SOME CARTOON AVATARS ALREADY!    ....please? "
Absolutely. Alex Navarro holding a sub-machine gun is only alarming for so long!
Posted by Wrighteous86

More Double Fine games can only be a good thing.  I, for one, welcome their entry into downloadable games.

Posted by Chango

I'll probably end up getting this, I thought the demo was pretty neat.

Posted by nikemike99

Been playing it tonight, and liking it.  Great review.

Posted by Geralt

Did he always review cute games back in the Gamespot days?
The guy has a zombie tattoo! :1

Posted by django

For some reason I didn't expect it to turn out this well, picking it up for sure now
Posted by ThaMilkMan

Alex is back to reviewing games...seemingly in his spare time ha. AWESOME!

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