Halloween has come and gone, unfortunately. It’s unfortunate because right around that time, candy corn-flavored Hershey bars start showing up in stores. Those are delicious. I’d say to try one but it’s not Halloween anymore so good luck finding any. What was I talking about again? Oh, right. Halloween has come and gone, but we’re still left with a treat from Double Fine Productions in the form of Costume Quest 2.
The best part of Costume Quest 2 is that it’s finished and nobody had to crowdfund it! Just a little game developer humor there. Seriously, though, Costume Quest 2 is basically just more Costume Quest, so it’s a cute RPG-lite that aims to inspire a little of that childhood nostalgia. Fans of Earthbound, in particular, are going to love both games in the series, particularly considering that it was a direct inspiration.
After fighting off the villainous candy-stealing Grubbins in the first Costume Quest, our heroes Reynold and Wren naturally assume they’re done with the whole battling evil shtick. The time-traveling dentist Dr. White has other plans, though, as he travels back in time to summon the Grubbins once more and end Halloween as we know it. The kids are going to have to take their own temporal trips to stop him while dealing with the time-manipulating Kronies along the way.
This all might sound like a tall order to fill for a couple of kids, but fortunately they’ve got their Halloween costumes ready and raring to go. During combat, these costumes allow the wearer to assume a giant, battle-ready form to take the fight to the baddies. Well, mostly. The candy corn costume allows the wearer to just sort of sit there and look tasty. They can’t all be winners. Combat in Costume Quest 2 is based around timed hits and defense a la Super Mario RPG.
Combat is very simple and never becomes all that challenging; if you’re out for a deep and involving Halloween-themed combat experience, uh, good luck with that. A basic grip of turn-based combat and management of the game’s rock-paper-scissors enemy type arrangement is all you’ll need to prevail. Between battles, it’s easy to heal using fountains or (miniscule) amounts of looted candy. Rather than fighting enemies, assembling new costumes is definitely the high point of the experience when it comes to gameplay, since each has a unique appearance and offers new battle strategies.
Really, though, you’re playing this because it’s cute and charming. The writing is top notch and the graphics are nice and cartoony as you’d expect from the first game. Like the best classic animated shows, the game’s PG enough for children but it’s not going to bore adults to tears. Naturally, the costume and enemy designs are interesting as well, which is good since you’re going to be seeing a lot of them.
Fans of the first game are going to love Costume Quest 2; since it remains fairly easy, it’s also kid-friendly for those of you who are trying to introduce your little’uns to the world of RPGs. That might be questionable parenting somewhere down the line when they end up addicted to World of Warcraft, but for now this is good stuff. And let’s be honest: you don’t have to play it on Halloween. You could play it right now. No need to wait a year. Go nuts.