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Posted on Oct 26th 2020 at 08:00:00 AM by (Disposed Hero)
Posted under Review, Adventure, RPG, Double Fine, Halloween

When we think of good games to play during the Halloween season, typically anything with a general horror theme comes to mind as a good fit for the holiday. Truth be told, there aren't many games that are specifically about Halloween, so if you wanted something tailor-made for the holiday, pickings are slim. However, the two Costume Quest games are the exact opposite, not at all scary but focused specifically on Halloween. Having played and enjoyed the first Costume Quest many years ago, I have always wanted to play the sequel and finally made it happen this October.

Costume Quest 2 is an action/adventure/RPG that was developed by Double Fine and published by Midnight City. Released in October 2014, it is a direct sequel to 2010's Costume Quest and was met with mixed to positive reception. To my knowledge, the game has never seen a physical release but is available digitally on PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and Wii U.

A direct sequel to the original Costume Quest's DLC episode Grubbins on Ice, Costume Quest 2 picks up immediately after with twin sibling protagonists Wren and Reynold and their friends returning home. Upon arriving, they discover their dentist Dr. Orel White jumping into a time portal. Soon after, Wren and Reynold are confronted by a man who leads them into a portal to the future where they discover that the world is now a dental dystopia ruled by Dr. White and Halloween has been outlawed. The twins must venture back to the past to stop Dr. White and save the future of the world and Halloween. The story is a lighthearted romp that doesn't take itself too seriously, but I found it to be quite charming overall and the dialog between the characters to be quite humorous.

You'll spend much of the game exploring three different main locations, although the general gameplay loop stays the same for the entire game. In every location, there are plenty of people to talk to and items to interact with, and virtually everything in the environment can be smacked with your pail to reveal candy or other secrets. It's a gameplay mechanic that is reminiscent of South Park: The Stick of Truth, although it's worth noting that Costume Quest came first.

One of the core aspects of Costume Quest is, of course, the costumes that you gain and equip throughout the game. While each costume has its own attacks and attributes in battle, most costumes also have a unique ability that can be used outside of battle, and many of these will be necessary to progress in the game. For example, the Pterodactyl costume can flap its wings to create a gust of wind to blow objects out of the path, or the Pharaoh costume can use its staff to zipline across wires. There are about a dozen different costumes in the game, some of which being optional and hidden, and it is well worth seeking them all out.

Appropriately enough, each location will require you to trick or treat at every house in the neighborhood which will result in either a friendly person giving you candy or a monster attacking you. Candy works as currency in the game which can be spent on things such as costume upgrades or Creepy Treat cards. There are also a handful of sidequests in the game that can be obtained from certain NPCs, and the rewards are typically along the lines of XP, Creepy Treat cards, and costume parts.

When combat is initiated, your party of three will face off against a group of 1-3 enemies in a fairly standard turn-based battle system. There are typically only three options to choose from during battles: a standard attack, a Creepy Treat card, or fleeing from the battle. The battle system also takes advantage of timed button presses to deal more damage when attacking or take less damage when defending. Each character also has a meter that fills whenever they deal or receive damage, and once filled that character can unleash a special attack that is exclusive to that costume.

The aforementioned Creepy Treat cards can be used to grant combat bonuses such as double damage, stunning enemies, and healing, among many others. Although there are 45 of these cards in the game, only three can be equipped at any given time, and only the currently equipped cards can be used during battle. It is also worth noting that said cards will have a cooldown once used, so they won't be usable again for a few turns.

Graphically, the game has a hand-drawn aesthetic that is reminiscent of a children's cartoon, and this is likely what the designers were going for. The music has a whimsical flair and is well done overall, but it's likely not something that will stick with you long after the credits roll. Both the graphics and music fit the game well and give it a lighthearted atmosphere.

Costume Quest 2 is a short and sweet adventure that will only take several hours at most to complete. While some may be let down by the game's simplistic nature and lack of depth, those who don't mind a more leisurely experience will certainly find something to enjoy. Personally, I thoroughly enjoyed the game and had a hard time putting it down during my time with it.

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Just a heads up, Costume Quest 2 is currently free on Epic Games Store, along with Layers of Fear 2.
I picked this up on a whim on Wii U several years back and enjoyed it greatly.

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