Tim Schafer is a man any gamer should know. He helped create some of the classic Lucas Arts adventure games back in the day (Monkey Island, Grim Fandango, etc.). Ever since he started his own company in South San Francisco (Double Fine Productions) Tim Schafer has continued to release games with critical acclaim, but bad sales numbers. Schafer’s games are unique and hard to sell. After a few games, Double Fine wasn’t doing so hot financially and had to think of a new direction. Schafer gathered his team and split them up into a few different groups. He had found his answer. Smaller games. Frequent releases. In comes Costume Quest. A fun Halloween style RPG and the first of Schafer’s small game experiment. The game was welcomed with good reviews as always. Just one thing to do now: Buy. This. Game.
Costume Quest is about two little kids (a brother and a sister) who go out on Halloween to trick-or-treat. The mom leaves one of the kids in charge. The player makes this decision, essentially deciding if you want to be a boy or a girl. Things go awry when the sibling you didn’t pick gets kidnapped by Grubbins (green goblin looking creatures). The story pretty much kicks off from there but doesn’t have a whole lot of twists and turns. It is a smaller game and an elaborate story isn’t really necessary for a title like this. You do have the occasional conversation with trick-or-treaters and some other weird characters (like a helpful scarecrow who gives you hints as you progress). Each conversation is funny, clever, and at the exact level of quality expected from one of Schafer’s games.
The game plays like any top down RPG. The battles are a little traditional with a turn based combat system. However, you can execute a few well timed button presses for extra damage every so often. The variety of attacks comes from the different costumes you find and build throughout the game. You and your crew can dawn a variety costumes for different powers. Each one serves a classic RPG role to support each other in battle (healers, tanks, etc.). This keeps the game fresh since you are constantly collecting new pieces to put together more costumes. This keeps the addiction level for collectables high since there’s a new way to play behind every costume found.
Costume Quest combines some of the best, and only, comedic writing in a video game with the solid mechanics of a turn based RPG. The battles themselves do get a little repetitive over time, but at around 12 hours, the game ends before it starts to feel too much like a chore. This is a game that should be bought and played immediately. It is the perfect fit if you want to stay inside on a cold Halloween night and play a cheap quality title. Buy this game, and hopefully Double Fine Productions will live on and continue to deliver other games like it in the future.