Costume Quest Review

By on October 31, 2010

A charming Halloween treat from Double Fine.

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First Impressions
My reaction is

Costume Quest’s fatal flaw, in my opinion, is its length. The game can be completely finished (with all quests completed and collectables acquired) in under 5 hours. There are too few costumes and too little variety. Also, while changing costumes can change the approach to a battle, most (if not all) battles will not require much effort at all. The game is extremely easy, which suggests that perhaps this game is meant for a younger audience not fully accustomed to RPGs. Despite this shortcoming, Costume Quest is a throughly entertaining game. What it lacks in gameplay variety it makes up for with charm and some great writing. This brings me to another odd aspect of the game, Costume Quest doesn’t feature any spoken dialogue.

All the speech is delivered through speech bubbles which is very uncommon in this day and age. While it may be retro, it is still a baffling decision…especially considering that Double Fine’s creative director is Tim Schafer, a man whos games all have terrific voice acting (even when it was a less common feat). Even though Costume Quest is not technically a Tim Schafer game, surely they could have gotten a handful of semi-talented kids to voice the project at practically no cost at all. Nevertheless, the story’s humor gets across quite well thanks to the fantastic writing.

Perhaps the most endearing thing about Costume Quest is its great art style. The quirky hand-rendered visuals may not be everyone’s cup of tea but their charm is undeniable and, given the game’s overall mood and disposition, the choice of art style is impeccable.

All in all, though Costume Quest doesn’t do much, what it does it does right. The game captures the thrill of trick or treating well and with its flurry of collectables, it can become surprisingly addictive, while it lasts of course. The game would undoubtedly require why more in the way of content if it seeks to be take seriously as an RPG but still manages to come off as a short and sweet Halloween treat.

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The Scorecard
The gameplay lacks variety and the game ends just as the battle system starts getting interesting.
The quirky visuals are charming and work really well with the subject matter.
There are some nice tunes but, without voice acting, the game is just too quiet at times.
Way too short which is a shame since it ends just as it begins to hit its stride.
The writing is hilarious and the game itself just oozes charm all over.
Never has a game dealt with the subject of Halloween so charmingly. What ultimately lets Costume Quest down is not its simplicity but its decision to barely skim the surface of its own premise. The game can be bought, downloaded and completed in an afternoon.


As an opinionated young gamer many years ago, I made three predictions: 1- Sega would dominate the console wars for 50 years. 2- Simon's Quest would be remembered as the definitive NES game. 3- I would be gaming even more as an adult. I suppose one out of three isn't bad.

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