Costume Quest review

  • Clever story
  • Tons of costumes to choose from
  • Cheap!
  • Battles get repetitive fast
  • Gameplay core gets repetitive fast
  • Pretty short

In Costume Quest, you control a ragtag team of children on Halloween night. What initially starts as a normal trick-or-treat evening for our loveable Halloweiners - er, trick-or-treaters goes awry when one of the twins (the one you didn’t choose as the main character) gets kidnapped by goblins.

Costume Quest’s first treat is when you realize you’re not playing a kids’ game. Instead, you’re playing a ridiculously clever game with loveable dialogue and a story cuter than a baby juggling lollipops. Randomly confronting NPCs is almost always worth it, as they rattle off jokes about the complexities of Manifest Destiny or other things stupid little children wouldn’t actually know about.

Unfortunately its first trick doesn’t take much longer to recognize. The game has a little-too-consistent gameplay mechanic that shapes nearly all the battles of the game. You knock on doors in the neighborhoods… wait during a drumroll… and when the door opens its either a friendly neighbor giving out candy or a douchey goblin trying to eat you. It definitely gives a new take on “Trick or Treat” but by the last act, the formula has worn a bit thin.

The game’s straightforward approach is both a trick and a treat. The linear nature of the game makes it seem almost instantly familiar, like a game you’ve played before, and allows its quirks to take priority. But at certain times, the linearity makes things too simple. 

Take for instance, the turn-based battle system. To achieve a critical strike, you only have to do one thing per costume – press one button repeatedly for the Dracula costume, press another at the right time for the Robot costume. There are tons of costumes to unlock but some of them share the same critical strikes, making fighting even easier. To add additional attacks to a costume, you have to spend your hard-earned candy on Battle Stamps. The simple fighting mechanic is perfect for younger gamers, but vets will be bored by it quickly.

Battle Stamp stations are spread between the three locations, which boil down to suburban neighborhood, mall, and rural neighborhood. From the time you buy stamps at one station until you find the next station, you’ll have developed a strategy and costume mix that works every time for any battle. In fact, once you’ve mastered a costume’s critical strike there’s really no reason to switch out of it. Later-level costumes come with small improvements to life and defense, but they’re hardly noticeable and it’s more fun to try and assemble the single most ridiculous group of heroes (Robot, Statue of Liberty, Unicorn).

If Costume Quest was a full-retail game, we’d recommend it with a few caveats. But seeing as its fifteen bucks, fans of RPGs/Halloween/Neglecting their children should pick it up without hesitation.

Oct 22, 2010

More Info

Release date: Oct 20 2010 - PS3, Xbox 360 (US)
Available Platforms: PC, PS3, Xbox 360
Genre: Role Playing
Published by: Double Fine, THQ
Developed by: Double Fine
ESRB Rating:
Everyone 10+: Cartoon Violence
PEGI Rating:
Rating Pending


  • ensabahnur - October 25, 2010 12:59 a.m.

    @garnsr I thought the same thing about it until i started playing it, and once i got the costumes and candy and asked me if i wanted to buy it, i couldnt resist. Plus the kids loved it.
  • AA95mp - October 23, 2010 5:39 p.m.

    may pick this up once the god damn demo works.
  • Crabhand - October 23, 2010 4:42 p.m.

    I played the trial earlier today, and I believe I will buy this game. It happens to revolve around my favorite time of the year and has a Paper Mario feel to the combat system.
  • Nazcom555 - October 23, 2010 1:13 a.m.

    Loved this game! The character models in battle are absolutely amazing, I especially loved the nod to Psychonaughts in the mall.
  • oneshotfinch - October 22, 2010 9:34 p.m.

    The game is fun, but very easy. I just used the first three costumes you get for the whole game because I honestly found those the best. Also the game uses a nasty nasty trick to lock out the last piece of the unicorn costume. That trick is the only reason I haven't got 100% trophies first playthrough.
  • garnsr - October 22, 2010 8:58 p.m.

    This would have been better at $10, $15 is a bit too much. If you're going to play it, you really should plan to play in decent chunks, because the save system is a little weird, it only saves when it's telling you it is, and not always at times you'd expect it to. So just playing real quick can be dangerous, it might not save, then you have to replay stuff you already did. The humor is much lighter than what I expected from a Double Fine game. Not bad, but I expected more.

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