Video game review number two hundred and ninety nine in my 365 Games in 365 Days project is "Costume Quest".
Costume Quest is a strange game that I probably wouldn't have played if it wasn't for a recommendation from a coworker, who said that he enjoyed the demo so much that he bought it last night. I downloaded it and have decided that this game is best described as a "kid's RPG". It actually reminds me a lot of the Penny Arcade games, but with a little less text and less confusing weapons and upgrades.
You're a small kid, and your sister (or your brother if you choose to play the girl) decides to go out Trick or Treating with you on Halloween. Your mom puts you in charge, and you promptly lose your sibling to some candy obsessed trolls.
Your goal is to get your sibling back, and to do that, you'll have to run all over your neighborhood collecting candy. You can find candy on the street (yuck), or you can knock on doors like a normal kid. Sometimes, a nice adult answers and gives you candy. Other times, it's a troll...and you have to battle him.
The battles, are pretty hilarious. First of all, I should have mentioned you're dressed up in a little cardboard costume, but when combat happens....you morph into a badass version of your costumed self, and fight more fierce looking trolls. It reminds me of the anime episode of South Park, where the boys imagine they are ninjas in some sort of anime show. If you are dressed up as a cardboard robot, you morph into a giant deadly fighting machine that looks like he's from the Transformers cartoon. If you're dressed up as an aluminum foil knight, you become a huge warrior with a giant sword. it's pretty bad-ass.
The combat itself is turn based, and while I've never been a fan of that...it's also got a little bit of quick time event gameplay thrown in to keep it interesting. Yes, you have to pick your attack and then watch as your character hits the enemy and takes off some points, but you also have to be quick. For defense, you have to press a random button immediately after it pops up on screen, and depending on how well you comply, you'll protect your character against more damage. I realize this is probably lame for RPG fans, but as someone who doesn't really like the genre, I kind of enjoyed it.
The "map" is filled with quests, which you find by talking to people. I've done several so far, and they range from "go find me this thing" to "come back when you have a certain costume on". You can change costumes by picking up costume pieces throughout the neighborhood, and although I only found two right off the bat, it looks like there are over a dozen to go.
This might sound like a kiddie game, but it has it's challenging moments. For example, you'll be given quests to finish, with no real onscreen map or indicator telling you how to do them. That means a lot of exploration. The save system is also confusing, if not completely broken. It works on an auto-save, but if you're not paying attention, there's no real way to tell when you last saved your game was. I wanted to quit the game after an hour or so, but I couldn't find any safe way to do it...and when I restarted (to see if my auto-save had worked), I had lost some progress. Judging from some reviews online, this is a HUGE pain in the ass for other people too.
Overall Score? 6.75/10. This is a solid game, something that's fun for adults, but I think it would be simple enough for a kid to play. I was in the mood for a Halloween themed game seeing as how it's October, but I could honestly see myself coming back to this one one day in the future. That is of course, if I can figure out how to save my freakin game.
Achievements: Only a couple so far, but I'll be coming back someday.
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