Costume Quest: The next great console RPG is a download?

We've gone hands-on with Tim Schafer's new one. Here's why we already love it

Costume Quest is one hell of a varied game. Being based around the JRPG model, there is a certain structure to proceedings, but the game is so pacey, and the bombardment of side-quests so frequent, that the experience is nothing like the level-grinding trudge you might expect.

To complete each main area, you’ll need to trick or treat all of the houses (or shops, in the case of the mall) scattered around. Each building can hide a normal citizen bearing candy or a monster bearing violence. But whether their inhabitants are looted or booted, there’s plenty more to do in between.

Maybe you’ll find yourself tracking down all the players of a hide ‘n’ seek game. Or you might end up in a skates vs. skateboard road race using your robot suit’s wheelie sneakers. Or you may go exploring the sewers behind a waterfall using your dustbin lid shield as an umbrella. Or use your space warrior costume’s plastic lightsaber as a torch during a stealth infiltration. Or bob for apples as part of a neighbour’s protest against Hallowe’en’s unhealthy candy fixation, only to be bestowed with a huge pile of the sugary stuff as your prize.

All main and side quests run simultaneously, so there’s no need to lock yourself down to any particular one. In fact some are solved within or as a direct result of others, adding a really organic, living, breathing feel to an already vibrant world. And all of them come dripping with lovely, lovely XP. Forget any bad RPG memories you have of killing time by killing monsters. In Costume Quest you won’t be bored for a minute.

It%26rsquo;s very, very funny

It’s a Double Fine game, so you should already expect that. But just to make sure you’re aware, Costume Quest is one of the most chucklesome games I’ve played in a very long time.

There’s the way the Dungeons and Dragons nerd agrees to join your party after you explain your woes at length (“You had me at ‘quest’”). There’s the impromptu debate over the patriotic nature of a Statue of Liberty costume (“Actually, it’s a symbol of tyranny, which is a different and more inclusive concept than loyalty to country” “But will it get us into that guy’s party?” “Oh totally”). There are the subtle and smart nods to media culture (“A witch did it”) and other games (the Earthbound-style police roadblock cannot be a coincidence).

But whatever your comedic tastes, something in Costume Quest will make you laugh. It will make you laugh hard, and it will do so not long after you start the game. And then other things will do the same. Frequently and at length.

So in summation then,

Do you need any better reason to get excited?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Long-time GR+ writer Dave has been gaming with immense dedication ever since he failed dismally at some '80s arcade racer on a childhood day at the seaside (due to being too small to reach the controls without help). These days he's an enigmatic blend of beard-stroking narrative discussion and hard-hitting Psycho Crushers.
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