The most appropriate adjective descriptor, of any game from Double Fine studios, is the word charming. Everything they do will absolutely charm the pants off of you, and Costume Quest is no different. It also comes with the requisite set of Double Fine technical problems, but they are all so easy to overlook, because it is all so damn charming.

Have I mentioned how charming the game is? I’m not sure I have so just to make sure, let me say it again. Costume Quest is charming.

Double Fine studios, the makers of the recent Brutal Legend, and the not so recent Psychonauts, have this magical power to put things in the perfect context. All of their games offer us a world that just makes sense, despite the absurd circumstance. Whether it’s platforming in the psyche of an insane milkman, or battling armies of hair metal bands with a legion of headbangers, it all just fits together and makes you wonder, “why didn’t somebody do this sooner?” Costume Quest is no different.

You play as one part of a twin brother sister duo the night of Halloween in a typical nostalgic neighbourhood. You trick-or-treat, collect candy, make friends, find costumes and fight monsters. The last part might be a bit foreign to most trick-or-treaters but everything else makes sense and fits perfectly in the video game mold. Players move from house to house knocking on doors to collect candy, but not all the houses contain charitable adults. Most contain candy stealing monsters that must be battled.

Giant French Fry Monsters and Epic Unicorns
The costumes dictate the animation of your characters and what attacks you are able to use. Your costumes are all home-made and cute, but when you enter a battle you become the imagined version of your costume. A cardboard robot costume turns you into a gigantic city destroying robot, while a french fry mascot costume turns you in a gigantic spider made of french fries. Just trust that it will make sense when you see it.

Most of the costumes also have real world applications as well. An astronaut’s lightsaber doubles as flashlight for example. The different effects of the different costumes go a long way in making them worthwhile collectibles. Along with giving your character a dramatically different look in both exploration and combat, it also gives you a whole new set of attacks. Changing costumes is also incredibly easy and fast, so trying them all out and seeing how they look is a rewarding and simple process.


Super Paper Mario and Luigi’s Costume Quest RPG
Combat is turn-based, and heavily inspired by Mario RPG titles like Mario and Luigi, or Paper Mario. Players input their commands, and perform timed button presses to often double the attack or defending power of their chosen offensive or defensive maneuver. There are a couple of different quick-time inputs depending on your command. Some have you simply pressing the right button as fast as possible, some force you to quickly move the control stick, while others use a sort of Bioshock 2 hacking mini-game. They’re much simpler to perform than they are in titles like Super Mario RPG, and it keeps the combat from getting boring or passive.

The story is interesting, and often hilarious, but not all jokes land on their marks. Some feel a bit forced, but the overall emotion, and sentiment of the game is one of humour. There is no voice acting whatsoever, which is strange in these modern times, but it doesn’t make the game any less playable or interesting. It just feels quiet. Double Fine has had a history of talented hilarious voice overs, so it was a bit of surprise to not hear sounds accompanying the words. It lends an appropriate old school RPG feeling to the game. Voices may be missing, but the regular music of the game has some great orchestration.

It’s not all delicious candy and cute costumes
Costume Quest not a perfect game. There are some hiccups in the frame-rate, which is really inexcusable considering there are no physics or overpowering graphics to slow the game down. It’s an RPG, so player controls are ultimately not that important, but your character just feels generally sticky and too heavy. I know you’re playing as a child filling up on candy, but that should give them energy to sprint around at full speed. Candy doesn’t make you feel fat and sluggish until you’re much older.

There are a number of collectibles along with the costumes, as well as a series of simple side quests, but even after quite literally doing everything, there really just isn’t all that much to do. Just to put the amount of content into perspective, and this could be seen as a good thing or a bad thing depending on your opinion of trophies and achievements, I beat the game and got all the achievements (or trophies) in one afternoon sitting.

The biggest problem with the game though, and another thing that could really be seen as good or bad, is that the whole experience is too simple. The combat rarely provides any kind of challenge, and nothing is very well hidden. This bodes well for making the game accessible to everyone, even young children, but if you’re looking for something with a little more meat -- or candy if you prefer -- you won’t find it here. It sort of feels like an old-school RPG at times, but it shares none of the depth or game play time as some of the classics.


The context of the game just makes sense. It all feels familiar, but the core trick-or-treating concept has really never been explored before. The simplicity and short length of the title may turn off some, but as an overall experience it’s an incredibly fun little game. It’s genuinely funny at times, and is one of those titles that can literally appeal to everyone. Double Fine recently made the decision to break up their team into small groups, allowing them to release a number of smaller titles, rather than one big game every few years. Costume Quest is the first of these sort of games, and if the quality is any indication, they have made an excellent decision. I can’t wait to see what’s next.

  • Genuinely funny
  • Charmingly charming
  • Worthwhile collectibles
  • Brilliant overall aesthetic
  • You can experience EVERYTHING the game has to offer between lunch and dinner
  • Combat is incredibly simple
  • Little to no little challenge in any aspect of the game
Quote: "Double Fine recently made the decision to break up their team into small groups, allowing them to release a number of smaller titles, rather than one big game every few years. Costume Quest is the first of these sort of games, and if the quality is any indication, they have made an excellent decision."
Reviewed by Kyle Hilliard | 10.22.10

Similiar Games: Brutal Legend (8.8)


Costume Quest


Double Fine


US Release
October '10


Size: 75.3 MB
1200 MS Points
$14.99 PSN