Hey, gamers, and welcome to my New Year’s Special here on Cam’s Eye View. I am not going to do something elaborate, like my back-to-back Batman Christmas Special, but I do have something for you boys and girls to get on the PSN and XboxLive that, well, isn’t holiday-based. I know it’s a bit of a stretch, but I kind of ran out of time, and I decided to do a special DLC Domination that was released in October, decided to keep it locked up for New Years. Don’t ask me why, but here is Costume Quest! The first downloadable title by Double Fine Productions is definitely ambitious. Yes, these are the creators of two of my favorite games of all time, Brutal Legend and Psychonaughts. It definitely has the Double Fine feel with a creative premise and smart humor, but does it fully deliver as their first downloadable title? Get your noisemakers out and put in your favorite holiday movie and get ready for my New Year’s Special of Costume Quest.
Costume Quest stars two twins named Reynold and Wren who are new to the neighborhood they moved into. Their parents suggest they use Trick-or-Treating to make new friends in the suburbs, and the player can choose to play either kid. The only thing that changes is the starting costume. Reynold is a robot and Wren is a unicorn. While trick-or-treating, one of the kids gets kidnapped by a sweet tooth monster, and it is up to one of the kids to save the other, along with two other kids, using the power of their costumes to fight evil and save the holiday! It’s a creative idea and it’s a game made for kids so don’t take it too seriously.
The gameplay featured in Costume Quest often feels like a homage to old RPG-style games, like Final Fantasy and, more importantly, Earthbound. You travel along a couple of areas from the neighborhood, the mall, to a village in the countryside, collecting candy and completing side quests like bobbing for apples and finding kids who are hiding in the levels. The main goal is to stop at every place that has lights on and knock on the door. Some result in people giving you candy, and some result in a random encounter. When you encounter enemies in battle, it switches to you transforming into whatever your costume is, like a robot, knight, spaceman, unicorn, Dracula, and you get the idea. Each suit mainly has different abilities, but some share the same abilities. The battle system is turn-based, but when you plan an attack, there is a timer, like pressing a specific button at a specific time. There is also a charge meter, where you can use a special attack depending on what costume you are wearing. There is also a timer when an enemy attacks, where you can take less damage if you press the button fast enough. There are no potions or phoenix-downs, so be prepared to watch the screen for which button to press. The suits also have abilities outside of battles, like the robot suit will make you go faster, the knight will protect you from stuff falling from above, and the spaceman suit will light your way through dark areas. The suits are not so easy to find, since you need to search the levels for most of the stuff required to make specific suits. Don’t worry though; you can teleport to specific levels to finish some stuff that you might have missed. Oh, and one more thing, you can also sneak up behind enemies and whack them on the back of their heads, so in the beginning of the battle, they lose a bit of health, which is pretty cool.
The graphics for the game definitely get some extra points for charm, with a Wind Waker and Earthbound-style look that has a lot of charm. The music is also well done with creepy yet silly intense music for exploring the different areas on the game. The humor is also very funny and clever since this is Tim Schaeffer and Double Fine we are talking about, so it isn’t really a surprise that the lines are very funny.
Though this game isn’t perfect by all means, there are a few things this game has working against it. While the game is fun, it’s pretty short. I got through most of the game in a day and I also think it’s because of the easy difficulty. Granted, the timing during the battles can be challenging at times so I won’t blame the difficulty too much on the game. However, this game can get a little repetitious since you basically do the same thing every level with the only things that change are the bosses and enemies. I just wish this game was a little longer because I was really enjoying it, and in the end, is a bit overpriced since it cost 15 dollars to download this game. The issue could also be that it was aimed at kids, so it isn’t as time consuming as games like Final Fantasy 6 or again, Earthbound. I mean, I am all for making creative and fun kids games that are not shovelware that you can find on the Wii, but at least make them pretty long, like 10 to 12 hours. I think the other thing I would have liked to see in the game is a map. The places aren’t long, but when you are trying to find the last lit-up house, it can become a chore to find that one house since you don’t have a map.
Yes, the game is pretty gimmicky with its Halloween themes, and there are some small faults with the game, but I think it’s a really good downloadable game. It’s 15 dollars, but it is definitely a better buy than Blade Kitten and Deadliest Warrior: The Game. (Seriously. Who thought those two games had potential?). Either way, this is definitely another great title put out by the genius minds of Double Fine and I would recommend it fully for families or for Double Fine fans. Oh, and if anyone has a spare Earthbound copy, please send it to me.
This game gets an 8 out of 10