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Costume Quest – Part I: We’re in Your Houses Stealing Your Candy October 27, 2010

Posted by emeraldsuzaku in Blog-along, Video Games.
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I broke down and picked up Costume Quest off of PSN last night. I figured I’d give Double Fine another chance, and I’d heard some decent things about it. I balked a bit at the price point ($14.99), but I went ahead and ponied up anyway. I’m still having a hard time with that decision.

Costume Quest is a whimsical little romp of an RPG. It’s Halloween and monsters are stealing all the candy. You play as one of a pair of siblings (the other gets kidnapped) on quest to get lots of candy, stop the monsters, get lots of candy, save your other half, and get lots of candy. It’s possible that candy should frontload that summary. Basically, what this all means is that you wander around the areas completing quests and getting new costumes on your quest to do the above. And get lots of candy.

The game has several ways of upgrading your characters. First, you collect costumes. Each costume can be equipped to a character, can increase the character’s attack and/or defense, and grants the character that costume’s signature ability—anything from healing to dropping large rocks from the sky on unsuspecting enemies. Some costumes also have an ability that can be used on the map, like the robot’s boost, which makes you move faster and lets you traverse ramps. To get a new costume you either have to find the pattern and three materials, or be given it outright. Most of the time you’ll be constructing

Then you have battle stamps. These are generally bought with candy or won from boss fights. Each character can have one stamp, and these grant things such as increased attack power, the ability to counterattack, area-of-effect attacks, and stun abilities. There are numerous stamps in the game, though I have found some to be of dubious usefulness.

Finally, your characters gain experience points through winning battles and completing quests. Characters do not level up individually. Instead, there is one XP bar, and when it fills, everyone levels up. So all of your characters will always be at the same level, and you don’t have to worry about trying to balance growth. This also means that winning a battle is all that matters—you don’t have to worry about how many characters are conscious at the end.

Costume Quest will have you spend a lot of time trick-or-treating door to door. Each area has a number of houses, and you have to hit all of them to progress to the next place. Each house will have either a person, who will give you candy, or a monster, which you’ll have to fight. The first area is the largest (so far), and the most tedious. The other areas are more compact and have a few less houses, making for a less annoying and meandering experience. I was getting rather annoyed with the game until I got past the first neighborhood and things started flowing better, in fact.

In addition to trick-or-treating, there are also sidequests you can do. Each area appears to have a hide-and-seek quest (find all the kids, get reward) and some trading car quests (get certain card, trade to kid for different, rare card). And that’s pretty much about it. There are other subquests unique to each area, but they tend to be part of the main story progression and so don’t really count as “sidequests” per se.

Oh and you cannot save the game outside of the auto-save. Which sucks. Hard.

But enough about that. What am I doing in the game right now? I’m plowing through nosty grubbins with my ninja, robot, and unicorn costumes. I like to think of them as NINJA ROBOT UNICORN TEAM! GO! Though, with as much healing as I’m not needing, I’m tempted to fire up NINJA ROBOT SPACEMAN TEAM! GO! Just for the spaceman’s special ability. Meteor dropping is always fun. Just ask Sephiroth. Or Char.

I ditched the Knight suit as soon as I snagged the Statue of Liberty costume. Which I put Everett in for the irony factor. He later became my unicorn for a while. Also solely for the amusement value. I’ve found the robot to be amazing and awesome, and something I still have in my party. Though I did discover that the DOT from Missile Barrage kicks a monster out of stun in time to let it attack, which is mildly annoying.

Two things I have found with combat. First, always have some support/healing. You never know when something messy is going to happen. And second, stun attacks are awesome. Slap the T.P. stamp on whoever is last in line (preferably the support character) and you can keep one or two enemies locked down for an entire fight. It makes things almost pathetically easy. But, hey, I have a TP-tossing Unicorn. So there.

I’m not having a problem with the “press button to bring pain” aspect of the battle system. The reaction windows are enormous, particularly compared to, oh, say, Legend of Dragoon. And, frankly, I’d be bored to tears if the battle system wasn’t at least a little interactive.

The game is humorous, and I do sometimes find myself chuckling at the goings on. I particularly loved the part with the French fry costume in Fall Valley. And that sizzling grease sound…YUM! Which reminds me. I still need to use that thing in battle for the special attack achievement trophy.

At the moment I’ve cleared up through the ferris wheel. I really should take notes as I play so as to make these posts a bit more interesting. The game is a fun time though, as I said, I’m not completely sold on the price point. I’ll have to see how it goes tonight. I’m not sure how much I have left, but I can’t imagine it’s very much. I expect that I’ll probably finish tonight and have a conclusion to post tomorrow.

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