Costume Quest is a small-scale RPG from Double Fine that was first released in 2010. In the game, your typical Halloween night goes awry as one of your siblings is abducted and taken away by a monster, leaving it up to you to get them back before your parents find out.
As part of our podcast episode on indie RPGs, I thought I’d give it a go. It’s quite an old game (almost old enough to be classed as retro) so has it stood the test of time or have we all grown out of trick-or-treating?
- Great writing
- Unique setting with lovely visuals
- Easy to pick up and play
- Really short for an RPG
- Too few enemy types
- No voice acting
The story is very sweet and has the charming writing that Double Fine is known for. There’s a certain appeal about the lack of grandeur in the story and it’s a refreshing change from the plots of other RPGs where you’re usually saving the entire world.
While the story is nicely written, it’s a shame that these wonderful characters and world they inhabit aren’t brought to life through voice acting. It’s a minor complaint, but the lack of voice acting did make me feel that something was amiss.
The playful aesthetic of this game ties in well with the theme. In fact, the cartoony style feels reminiscent of Peanuts and the like and I think it’s probably helped the game to age much better, too.
New costumes act as the player’s abilities during combat. Outside of combat, the costumes look very simple and hand-made but when a fight begins, they appear much more awesome, probably how the children characters wearing them imagine themselves. It’s a humorous addition and adds to the comedic tone of the game.
The random encounters that usually take place in wide-open fields in other RPGs are replaced by knocking on doors around the neighbourhood. However, a lack of distinct enemies can make these encounters more repetitive than they should be.
The combat itself is turn-based but very quick and easy to pick up and understand meaning it never outstays it’s welcome. Each character added to your party can be given its perk which will support you during combat. This may range from increased damage, more HP, a higher chance of dodging an attack, etc. Each costume has its own unique abilities.
Although RPGs are commonly known for their length and save-the-world plot, Costume Quest is much shorter than your average RPG with around six hours of gameplay. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing with some games guilty of outstaying their welcome but it’s definitely something you should know before you invest in a copy.
Costume Quest is a cute and enjoyable game and despite my complaints about it, the world Double Fine has created feels very believable and something that more RPGs should be doing. I guess I’ll have to check out Costume Quest 2 next.