Costume Quest Reader Review
Costume Quest is unabashedly childish.
And, since you play games and care enough to read about them, you already realise that 'childish' isn't an insult; It's a glorious compliment.
Developed by Double Fine and published by THQ, Costume Quest is turn-based RPG with a delightfully-observed Hallowe'en theme. Adopting the role of one of two siblings, your quest involves rescuing your lost brother/sister from a legion of monsters, bent on stealing all the Hallowe'en candy. Exploration takes place predominantly around three maps, with a turn-based team combat system that utilises different special powers depending on what costume you're wearing. The combat is not especially challenging, but does adopt a Mario RPG-esque quick-time gimmick that ensures the player doesn't drift off during battles.
The real triumph of Costume Quest, however, is not the combat. Instead, it is the beautifully observed evocation of the Hallowe'ens of your childhood. Simplistic yet rich art design combine with arch humour and a tight score to create a game of genuine atmosphere. This isn't just an advertisement for the increasing credibility of downloadable titles, it's a great advertisement for narrative and atmosphere-driven gaming. This will perhaps not surprise fans of Tim Schafer's previous work, but will hopefully find new fans, both young and old.
The game is short (clocking in at around five hours), and offers limited replayability. However, for 1200 MS points it seems churlish to complain; I suspect I am not alone in hoping that there will be further, seasonal DLC.
So, for those of you looking for a taste of Hallowe'en, Costume Quest is a brief, but heartwarming confection.