Costume Quest is the new video game from Double Fine, developers of the Monkey Island series, Psychonauts, and the Jack Black adventure Brutal Legend. These people make funny, well put together games that generally only have one or two flaws. Like an English major with Moby Dick, most gamers heap respect and admiration on this studio without actually buying or playing the games. Huge pity. But on to the review.
I love the idea of this game. Here's the story: Two kids are trick or treating on Halloween (would have been better as a Christmas release, but hey my mom made us beg randomly throughout the year) and one of them gets grabbed by monsters. The remaining sibling (you) has to gather candy and friends together to make a rag tag group of monster fighting super friends. The concept is easy. Grab a bunch of kid characters on Halloween, make it so their costumes can come to life to do battle in an RPG setting, and heap the humor and quality of Double Fine. I am for it. Five and some change short hours later, though, I am let down. I had a good time and laughed out loud (lol for you kids), but I kinda feel cheated.
The dialog and humor play against the story and mechanics. The dialog and flat out wit of the jokes make for explosive moments of comedy. Seriously, while playing do not take a sip of pop or you will cover your TV with foam doing spit-takes. No bad words or sexual situations here, just concepts that would take an adult mentality and experience to understand. This is not going to be like when you went back and watched Police Academy and started exclaiming "Holy Shit, my parents let me watch this?" when all you could remember was Steve "The Goot" Gutenberg and that guy who made crazy sounds. The unfortunate thing is, you will not remember this game to look back on it.
Seriously, with all the boobs in this franchise, this is the guy I remember? Well, done Michael Winslow. Well done, indeed.
The childish nature of the actual game ruins all that great humor. The story is not well presented, mostly because I forgot what I was supposed to be doing and where I was supposed to be doing it have the time. There is no map, and the neighborhoods are a maze (one is literally a hedge maze) where you can get lost if you do not keep a few landmarks. At one point I wandered around for 10 minutes before finding an objective right next to the character that asked me to complete the task.
The fights are repetitive and without meaning. Even the inclusion of new costumes as the game progresses gets old, as you know after receiving something new that you will see it a hundred times more. The enemies are static bruisers, shooters, mages and healers that you can learn to take down with relative ease. The infuriating part comes with battles being button sequence initiated. If you miss a proper button push you lose, often from the beginning of a fight. This is a JRPG dumbed down to the lowest common denominator, with all the strategy and item/avatar customization wiped out. Even the power-ups are laughably named so because they make a marginal difference.
Bottom line: Did I have fun? Yeah, it was a good time, but for $15 american I feel I should have had a better time. This game is for entry level gamers with not a lot of time on their hands. Jump in, play a bit, jump out and take the kids to jujitsu lacrosse practice. The story is entertaining, but could have been better executed. All in all, there is fun to be had, but only if you ignore the problems. I would have felt better if the game was cheaper, so that's my recommendation. Wait for it to go on sale and pick it up.
The gave is available only at this time by DLC (downloadable content) through Xbox Live and maybe PS3 store but I dunno cause I do not have a PS3 cause I like babies and America.