Posted: September 25, 2014
Costume Quest is a cute, creative, charming, simple to play, easy to master RPG set in Halloween. There is definitely a sense of atmosphere that is set with the colors, lighting and art style. You'll wander through a neighborhood, a mall and a carnival. Everything is beautiful and charming with a slight spooky edge to some places, but its a charming spooky not a horrific kind. After you select a gender, you are quickly thrown into the story. Your sibling has been kidnapped by goblins that need candy and since the sibling is wearing a giant candy corn costume you understand how mistakes can be made.
Speaking of candy, you'll find it everywhere, because its the currency of the game. In the map there is an attack button to knock candy out of objects. You'll find candy after battles, in treasure coffins, completing quests and you'll trick-or-treat for it going door to door. Of course there's not always a stranger giving candy, sometimes it a goblin that results in a battle.
In battles, you're not just kids in costumes, you become giants. Your little cardboard robot costume turns into a towering robot, a french-fry costume becomes a mega fry crab, a statue of liberty costume becomes the statue of liberty! So its a little pretend, and thankfully the game lets you skip transformation animations to start each battle.
The combat is really simple and very well animated. First your entire team completes a turn, from the leader of the party to the last member. Then the enemies will each take a turn. You have a limited selection of what to do, attack or a special power every 3 turns. Different costumes have different basic attacks, each with its own way of getting a critical hit. Timing, to press a button or key at a specific moment, others have you wiggling the analog stick, others have you button mashing the same button or key. It keeps you watching the battles and make the long animations feel like less tedious to watch. The special skills range from damaging all enemies, healing all allies, majorly damaging one enemy, hiding an ally and other things depending which costume you're wearing.
When the enemies attack, you'll be given a chance to lessen the attack with a quick button press. These button presses are different each time, which is nice, but I feel like even timed correctly, there's still a chance the block won't be successful. Some enemies really telegraph their attacks, such as jumping into the air with a strike. Enemies don't just attack, they'll cast heal, shield, strength and fire. Everything you've seen in RPGs before, but this is just simple.
The enemies don't have too much variety, goblins, big goblins and ravens, but each 'race' can have a 'class.' The graphics look great and they are in full 3D, its just there aren't that many of them. Each enemy has a level, which is good, but early on in the game enemies feel far too overpowered when you have a party of 2 characters. You'll never have a party more than 3, but neither will the enemy party.
When you are on the map, you can see enemies march around, so there really aren't any random battles other than the trick-or-treat battles. You can even sneak up behind map enemies and attack them so when the battle begins, all enemies take a small amount of damage. Its a nice feature in what can be tedious, thoughtless battles. Every battle seems to play out the same no matter what enemy classes you face. You just need to time everything correctly and sit through your special ability animations.
You can also buy stamps that you can equip to each of your characters that will give them added benefits such as dodging, more HP, regenerating HP, counter attacks, higher attack damage, higher critical damage, a stun skill, the ability to poison a foe or damage all foes next to the target. These simple stamps do a lot to really personalize the game and I feel like you need the stamps to succeed in the game.
When party members fall in battle, they're back after the battle. Everyone gets full health after every battle. In fact, when your party gets wiped out. You just respawn back on the map next to the enemy that killed you. There is no consequence for failure in the game and I feel the game is smoother because of it.
Every battle gives you experience points, but so does completing quests. Since the enemies are limited, so is the experience. So that's why I had to turn to stamps in order to win battles and even then a lot of battles seemed like only luck got me through the first two hours of battles. There is also a level cap on your party and you don't level up individual characters, but rather the entire party.
On the map you'll talk with NPCs and read their little text boxes. The town, mall, carnival and village feel alive. There are plenty of NPCs to give you quests, such as find this or do that. Other costumed kids want non usable items that you'll find from winning battles and some quests have you finding kids that are playing hide and seek. There is even a well done apple bobbing minigame where red apples count as one point to your score and green apples count as 3 points. Its a nice deviation from goblin slaying monotony.
Every costume doesn't just have its own special and basic attack, most of them have a practical use on maps. As a robot, you can speed around on your rocket skates to jump off ramps. These rocket skates are the game's run and its so much faster than just walking. The ninja costume can vanish, the fries costume baits people into following you, the knight has a shield to protect you from things overhead and other costumes help too. There is a big variety of costumes and you can find pieces to make new costumes. It adds to the game variety, even if I ended up using the robot for the skates and the statue of liberty for her healing power.
In all this is a 5 or 6 hour game that is easy to play and easy to finish after the first two hours. There is even DLC that keeps the game going in a different setting. If it wasn't for the cute charm and the extras like costumes and stamps, I'm not sure I could recommend it because of how dull and mindless the fights became.