Review — Costume Quest (PlayStation 3)

Costume Quest Logo
“Costume Quest” is a Halloween themed role-playing game crafted by Double Fine Productions, the development studio headed by Tim Schafer that birthed gaming gems such as “Psychonauts” and “Brutal Legend.” This time around, Schafer was no longer at the helm, and Tasha Harris, former Pixar artist, took his place as lead developer. Was Harris able to pull off another clever creation for Double Fine, or does “Costume Quest” suffer from the curse of Schafer-itis?

Costume Quest

  • Price: $15
  • System: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
  • Genre: RPG
  • Length: Six hours
  • Replay Value: Very Low
  • Score: 78

WARNING: Text beyond this point may contain spoilers!

“Costume Quest” is a turn-based role-playing game in which players are tasked with saving their twin sibling from the clutches of the evil Dorsilla, a witch-girl who’s scheming to steal all of the candy from the houses of Auburn Pines. As players trick-or-treat their way through the suburbs, mall and countryside of this quaint town, they will encounter Dorsilla’s green henchmen, grubbins, who are trying to snatch up all the candy.

The Best:
The strongest element of “Costume Quest” is its witty writing, which is no surprise given the track record of Double Fine. The dialogue throughout the game is consistently entertaining and oftentimes humorous as grubbins shout one-liners and provide you with pop-culture references before attacking.

Costume Quest Overworld

The graphics and design can only be described as adorable. While the backdrops of moonlit yards and pumpkin-lined streets are simple, the cell-shaded character models feel like they’re straight out of a comic book. The design is consistent with the Halloween theme of the game, and even the experience bar at the top of the screen is shaped like a roll of SweeTarts. This hand-drawn style carries over to the fighting segments where your characters magically transform into less adorable, but still charming, full-scale fighting machines based on what costumes you have pieced together in the overworld.

The Worst:
Unfortunately, the charm of “Costume Quest’s” atmosphere wears thin relatively quickly due to the repetitive nature of the battles. The fights are turn-based with real-time button presses that enhance your attacks, reminiscent of battles within “The Legend of Dragoon” or the “Mario & Luigi” titles. While this breaks up the monotony of the battle system to a small degree, it quickly becomes more of a burden than a pleasure.

Costume Quest Fighting

There are a few mini-games and side quests that change the pace a little bit, but they are overly simplistic and are repeated from level to level. Honestly, this would lead me to the conclusion that this game was designed for young children, but there seems to be a disconnect between the concept and the execution of its ideas. For example, most of the dialogue would be over the heads of many children, and there were even moments in the game when the text advanced so quickly that it would be impossible for even an adult to read.

The Sizzle:
“Costume Quest” is an entertaining diversion and nothing more. It feels like there were some missed opportunities with this game that could have been realized had Double Fine spent a little more time developing it.

Overall Score: 78

Confused? Click here to find out how review scores work!

All Costume Quest images used from Double Fine Productions press release

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