Review | Costume Quest
Cuddly and Quirky
Format: PS3/Xbox 360 | Genre: RPG | Publisher: THQ | Developer: Double Fine Productions | Release date: 20/10/2010 | Price: £9.99/1200 points
Brendan Caldwell dons his RPG costume with COSTUME QUEST.
INTERNET LAW decrees that all things cute are necessarily amazing. By virtue of being adorable, they are in and of themselves undeniably “good things.” All possible flaws be damned. Big kitten eyes are impervious to criticism. Even if they belong to a kitten that emerges from a smelly boot. That’s sort of how it feels to critique Costume Quest. The problem is obvious to anyone with optic nerves. That kitten is in a boot. But its stare is overwhelming. It squeaks and turns its little head, perplexed at the world. Instantly, before we’ve even noticed it smells, the footwear becomes an essential part of the feline’s charm.
Aye, that’s it. The game has character. And characters. You choose to play as either Reynold or Wren, twins who have gone out trick-or-treating for Halloween. As happens many on All Hallows Eve, one of them is abducted because of a provocative costume. So begins a quest to save your brother or sister from the wrath of monsters and a witch called Dorsilla.
The monsters themselves – Grubbins, Trowbags and other wacky names – at times steal the scene from the cutesy heroes. Essentially they are the ugly manifestation of teenagers from children’s imaginations. The final boss is ostensibly a paedophile who likes sweets.
A man walks into a bar…
In a bar that serves only milk. O’Malley hits Vasquez over the head with a piggy bank. Lewis Carroll walks in. “You’re supposed to be dead!” cries O’Malley, before being skewered by a papier-mâché sword made of pages torn from Through the Looking Glass.
Technically, it is a simplified RPG. And I mean, hugely simplified. You dander around various locations – the suburbs, a shopping mall, a country estate – going from door to door. Some houses will have a “Growny” inside, willing to give out candy, which is in turn used as a currency to by special abilities. But some doors will be answered by the surreally intimidating monsters. They launch into battle with you, shouting things like “The candy in this house is MINE” or “You remind me of my parents, from whom I am BITTERLY ESTRANGED.”
The battles run on very basic, turn-based mechanics. In the beginning you get one normal attack move and one special move that will take a few turns to charge. Each costume you collect throughout the story has different actions but essentially combat comes down to about five or six moves with different animations. For example, the special area attack move of the Spaceman costume is practically identical in effect to the special move of the earlier Robot costume. The healing move of the Unicorn costume is just an upgraded version of the Lady Liberty costume’s healing move. Once all the costumes are collected it simply comes down to which workable combination you prefer the look of.
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