Costume Quest

Moby ID: 48771
Xbox 360 Specs
Buy on iPhone
$0.00 new on iTunes
Buy on Windows
$9.99 new on Steam

Description official description

It's Halloween and the siblings Wern and Reynold, new to town, are going trick-or-treat through the neighborhood in order to make some new friends. The player can choose between both of them, while the other will be kidnapped by a monster neighbor. The quest, as expected, consists on rescuing your brother/sister.

Costume Quest is a RPG with turn-based combat. The game takes you door by door asking for candy and fighting against the monsters that you find in some of the houses with the power of your costume. There is around a dozen of them and they have the power to transform the wearer into vampires, robots, the statue of liberty and many other creatures. The combats plays through synchronized button pushing much like in the Mario RPGs. Combat abilities are enhanced by acquiring experience points through a typical leveling system. Additionally, "combat stamps", which is the name used in the game for combat enhancements, can be obtained in the side quests (like finding collectibles or helping the characters of the neighborhood), with candy as the currency to buy these.

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Credits (Xbox 360 version)

182 People (121 developers, 61 thanks) · View all

Project Lead
Senior Producer
Stuido Creative Director
VP, Product Development
Lead Artist
Concept Art
Animation
Character Art
Materials Artist
Environment Artists
UI Art and Design
Technical Art and VFX
Lead Sound Designer
Music Director
Original Music Composed, Orchestrated and Produced by
Designers
[ full credits ]

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 75% (based on 49 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.4 out of 5 (based on 24 ratings with 3 reviews)

Double Fine should just stop making games already.

The Good
One thing Double Fine has managed to consistently nail are aesthetics. From Psychonauts to Brütal Legend they are known for creating both visually impressive and unique worlds. They also manage to write excellent, and humorous, dialogue for their games, something everyone else is still having a hard time pulling off. Costume Quest has both in spades (minus the usual high-quality voicework due to the downloadable nature of the game).

The environments of the game have a visual flair somewhere between The Wind Waker and a 1940s magazine ad. There isn't much of it to look at, sadly, but it all looks great. The writing also brings life to a well-worn cliché (sibling saves sibling from danger, restores family kinship) as good writing is supposed to. If Costume Quest had been anything other than a game then it would start showing up on the same nostalgia lists as Secret of NIMH or Scott Pilgrim, albeit somewhere in the low-to-mid range.

The Bad
Unfortunately Costume Quest isn't a movie or a comic book, it is a game, and not much of one at that. Saying that the game's beauty is skin deep is an insult to bones. Costume Quest is only skin. It is a funny comic strip pinned to an empty cork board. It's a sports car in a cargo container at the bottom of an ocean. It's an illustrated novel that's been sent back in time to before the invention of language.

From a description of the game you might think that Costume Quest is an adventure game, owing to the ability to use the different costume abilities to bypass obstacles, or an RPG, as it is a "quest". You'd be wrong twice, but that's not your fault because the pre-release information on the game certainly tried to paint it as both. Tim Schafer demoed one quest in the game where the player had to put together a specific costume to get invited to an exclusive party. As it turns out this is the only time in the entire game such a section shows up, every other quest in the game is solved by walking around until you've beaten up enough monsters or picked up enough items.

The "RPG" part of the game is nearly non-existent as well. In combat each costume has a normal and a special attack. A normal attack is a short, painless QTE; succeed to deal damage, fail to do slightly less damage. Every three turns a special attack can be used to either deal more damage or to heal an ally, depending on the costume. The "Battle Stamps" do offer the possibility of adding one or two more attacks if equipped, but you're better off just equipping the ones that make the characters slightly better at what they already do.

Costume Quest's battle system is, bar none, the laziest implementation of any combat system. It's part of the game only because they had no better ideas for what to replace it with. The costume system itself, on the other hand, could have worked if they'd put a bit more effort into it. Each costume is made up of three everyday household materials that, with a little effort and imagination, turn into an awesome robot or ninja. The problem is that each of the three costume components is found in an inexplicably appearing treasure chest, or just handed out by a random adult, so they might as well just reward you money for completing quests so you can go to the Wal Mart and buy a prefab costume.

The Bottom Line
I want to like Double Fine games. I want them to be a revival of the kind of originality and production values that pervaded golden age LucasArts games. The problem is that they just can't make games. Psychonauts was amazing writing, art, and animation attached to a bland by-the-numbers platformer. Brütal Legend was amazing writing, art, and animation attached to an RTS they (rightly) thought no one would buy so they pretended with all their might that it was a Legend of Zelda style adventure. Now we have Costume Quest, which is really good writing, art, and animation attached to nothing else.

If they moved on to animated movies or comic books then Double Fine could start producing something I'd be able to recommend without needing a 'but ignore the gameplay' caveat. Maybe the reason they are still making games is because they've pretty much cornered the market on style over substance, but they've had their chances and it is time to throw in the towel.

PlayStation 3 · by Lain Crowley (6629) · 2011

A short but sweet adventure

The Good
There's been a lot of criticism levelled at many of the Xbox Live Arcade and similar format games since the online download craze began. It largely falls into the 'it's too short' context, games that look good, play good but just don't last long enough. Costume Quest fell into that hole, a game with plenty going for it but just didn't last that long. This reviewer, however, didn't mind it one bit.

I'll admit, I'm a Double Fine fan. Brutal Legend and Psychonauts are two of the most ingenious and intelligent games I've played in recent times. Costume Quest continues that tradition of unique worlds filled with fun characters, but unlike their previous efforts, CQ also has a few added advantages. Its simplistic gameplay means that anyone can pick up and play, possibly even complete it 100%. You can't often say that about modern gaming, in which every game tries to outdo the last with even more complex controls and even more options. CQ, on the other hand, reverts back to a simpler formula, and it's rather effective.

Of course, it helps that the story is engaging. The battle between a group of kids in Halloween costumes and monsters out to feed on candy never fails to entertain young and old, with a visual style not unlike a hand drawn comic by a ten year old. There's no voice overs, but each character's dialogue works well to give them a 'voice' of their own.

There's also an unusual level of strategy involved. With each battle that takes place, you need to choose the right costume, plan out the right kind of attacks (both offence and defence) and choose your opponent intelligently. If you don't, the game does have a tendency to beat you down rather harshly, especially later on during boss levels. But a change in tactics can lead to a much easier victory, and that's testament to the kinds of costumes and upgrades that are available.

The Bad
I must admit, I do wish there was more to do. I want to explore this world further, delve deeper into the weird lives of these young characters and watch them interact with even weirder evil creatures, all the while finding more costumes to fight with. There's the possibility of future DLC (besides what's already available at the time of this review) or a straight out sequel, which I'll be looking forward to, but I do wonder if Double Fine were holding out on some features in the main game for such a purpose.

Speaking of the costumes, an extra level of options in terms of upgrading each kit would have been advantageous. As it is, there's so many costumes to choose from and the upgrade options in general are effective, but I would have liked the option to choose a handful more attack styles for each costume before a battle, three just didn't seem to be enough.

If I had a technical gripe, and there aren't many, I'd have to say the music can grind on the senses after a while. The same battle music plays with each sequence, over and over. A little variety would have helped, no doubt. And it's a shame there are no voice overs, though the little grunts and groans from each character did remind me of a Zelda style adventure, so it wasn't such a huge loss.

The Bottom Line
So yes, Costume Quest is short. If it were a fully fledged, disc on a shelf game at a full retail price, I would agree with other reviewers in their 'it's too short' mentality.

But this is a downloadable game. A game that costs less than half of a Mass Effect or Mario Bros. title. If anything, I expect it to be short, that's the way Xbox Live Arcade, the PSN network and WiiWare have all been advertised and used, like an M&M hidden amongst the vanilla ice-cream of your expensive sundae.

Costume Quest fits perfectly into the downloadable medium, a short but very sweet adventure that can entertain audiences of all ages and will leave you wanting much, much more.

Xbox 360 · by Kartanym (12418) · 2011

Trick or Treat! It's a Halloween RPG!

The Good
I always appreciate when a game attempts to veer from the beaten path and take a risk, whether it be in mechanics, visuals, or features. I also love Halloween, yes you heard me right….but there is a point of why I am mentioning this. How many games can you think of off the top of your head that are set with a Halloween atmosphere and are turn based RPGS? Exactly.

Enter Costume Quest, originally a downloadable game on Xbox Live, this gem from Double Fine luckily got a PC port, and I have to admit, I had a really good time playing it.

Costume Quest places you into the role of a time in our lives I’m sure we can all relate to, and hopefully happily….dressing up for Halloween and trick or treating with our friends. But, unlike real life, Costume Quest is based upon a brother/sister duo who must recruit other kids to thwart an evil group of Halloween ghoulies from taking hordes of candy and causing havoc in their hometown. You will visit the suburbs, the mall, and the rural farmlands in search of the evil witch who has kidnapped your sibling, and is attempting to ruin your holiday.

The graphical style of Costume Quest is charming, to say the least. Many will dismiss the look of the game to be childish and cartoony, and it is essentially, but the art is beautifully done and really has personality. Colors look great, and really draw you into the Halloween atmosphere. The sound is well done too, with most of the audio fitting in nicely. There is no voice acting in the game, so there is lots of text, but I honestly enjoyed most of the dialogue, even if it was a bit childish and juvenile. I think that was the games intent, and it works well.

Costume Quest will remind you a lot of earlier style JRPGs on consoles with it’s combat style. Basically combat is turn based, and very basic and simple. At the start of combat your kids will don their respective costumes they are wearing and literally morph into a real life version of the persona they are imitating. There are ninjas, robots, cats, and spacemen to name a few and each costume has it’s own special function and attack.

There are some neat features that make the game work well as a basic RPG and that also fit in with the Halloween mood. Instead of coins, you will collect candy. Instead of inventory, you will be collecting candy cards and battle stamps. There are still the standard RPG quests you can complete, as well as the standard RPG mechanic of gaining levels, but it is fun and easy…and that’s not a bad thing.

Although definitely designed with the console in mind, the game still plays smooth and controls work well on the PC. Personally, I used a controller as it felt much more natural for me, but the keyboard works great as well.

Costume Quest is definitely worth at least one playthrough, especially if you are a fan of RPGS and Halloween like me. I guess I’m just a big kid at heart.



The Bad
Some complaints I had were the repetition of a lot of the random battles. While the animations are nice in battle, it gets old after watching them over and over before the battle can even begin. You will be fighting a lot, and thankfully Costume Quest is a pretty short game, because too much more of the combat in the game could have dampened my view on the overall product.

I also wish there was the ability to skip cutscenes and dialogue, which you unfortunately cannot do. The game is also very short, and will only run you about 6-8 hours max to play through.



The Bottom Line
Overall Rating : B-

Windows · by Baxter Arnett (10) · 2013

Trivia

Credit sequence

Throughout the ending credits sequence pictures of some Double Fine developers are shown at a young age, fitting the game's theme.

Awards

  • Spike Video Game Awards

    • 2010 - Best Downloadable Game
  • The National Academy of Video Game Trade Reviewers Nominations

    • 2010 - Writing in a Comedy
    • 2010 - Original Children's Games

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by MichaelPalin.

iPad, iPhone added by Sciere. Windows added by Kabushi. Macintosh, Linux added by Iggi.

Additional contributors: Sciere, Big John WV, Starbuck the Third, Tythesly.

Game added November 5, 2010. Last modified March 27, 2024.