Costume Quest is an incredibly adorable, charming, cute little RPG with just enough going on beneath the surface to maintain it for its six-hour runtime and not a second longer than that.
It’s cartoon-Halloween aesthetic and kids-becoming-the-imaginative-ideal-versions-of-their-costumes conceit is basically what carries this whole thing. If seeing these kids and their cardboard costumes morph into fully-realized mechs, spacemen, and ninjas doesn’t making you smile just a little bit then there’s no way you can make it to the end of Costume Quest.
Costume Quest is a turn-based RPG but it doesn’t have items, MP, AP, skill trees, perks, or anything you might expect from an RPG. Instead you’re given two attacks (one is the default and the other charges up over a few turns) and the strategy of the game basically boils down to which enemy to attack first. Beyond that decision you really don’t have to put much thought into the game’s combat and you won’t have any trouble winning fights.
There’s just honestly not that much going on underneath the surface so the game’s characters, writing, and aesthetics are basically all that’s holding it aloft.
Which, to be fair, is basically Double Fine’s modus operandi. Decent-playing games made into something better by the spirit and charm that clearly went into creating the game world and characters. And I think that’s perfectly fine. Not many companies put such an emphasis on writing and characters as Double Fine does and that’s what makes them one of my favorite developers in the industry.
So, Costume Quest. Here’s the litmus test on whether you should get it (though considering the game came out in 2010 anybody who was interested has probably already tried it by now). Think those two kids in homemade Halloween costumes are cute? You’ll probably get a kick out of it like I did.