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Costume Quest XBLA Review

26/01/2011 Specialist Bike Gamer Review
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Costume Quest XBLA

Costume Quest




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Costume Quest's feisty pack of kids created a story I didn't want to end. Trundling around on my robot wheels was the most enjoyable challenge I've had, off the saddle, for a long time.

Upon first sight, Costume Quest seemed to me to be a funny little game. I didn't think it would really have any depth or that I would grow fond of it at all.

I started to play Costume Quest without knowing anything about the game and its story. But it only took a few minutes for me to become completely engrossed, and start to enjoy playing.

From the way the characters look to their clever lines, pretty much everything was getting me hooked. These feisty little devils, that are oh so cute at the same time, are running around on Halloween in funky costumes when all hell breaks loose - quite literally. There is a lot to like here.

The initial gameplay of running around the neighbourhood was right up my street, so when I had to start battling monsters I was a bit worried that I would lose interest in Costume Quest. I wasn't sure about this whole battling thing, and I thought that fighting the same kinds of monsters in the same ways would get really repetitive.

Once I started collecting more costumes and got used to the turn-based play, I really began to enjoy the logic that could be put into each encounter. Of course, it was all made easier once I'd collected a few costumes and could swap and change between them. I made an effort to not just stick to the same combination all the time, and working out good combinations of costumes added an extra element to the fights.

Some I became quite attached to. The robot outfit for instance that lets you cycle around the levels on wheels - and you know me, I'm a sucker for things on wheels.

The robot outfit for lets you cycle around on wheels - and I'm a sucker for things on wheels.

I liked that a lot of thought put into the three areas to explore. There were the same essentials in each location: the idea of trick or treating, Sadie and her stamp shop, candy to collect and so on.

This might sound slightly unoriginal and almost like cheating, but because everything has been laid out differently in each place, it creates the perfect mix (for me at least) of familiarity with new things to explore.

As you progress through the game, not only do you collect costumes but you collect kids to wear them as well. After all, you can't expect to go chasing all those monsters with just one kid, no matter how determined they are.

The extra help goes a long way and I love that each one has a very distinct character. I actually found myself choosing which costume I wanted for each kid based on their personality, which is a minor thing in a game like Costume Quest, but I thought it added a nice touch to my experience.

As I got towards the end of the game and was facing those final challenges, I really felt like I didn't want it to end. Although the final bosses were a little frustrating - it took me a few attempts to finish one - it did make it feel that little bit more satisfying when I finally succeeded. It was like the pain at the end of a long ride, you will be happy to finish, but also you want to keep on enjoying the challenge.

It was like the pain of a long ride, you will be happy to finish, but you also want to keep on enjoying the challenge.

These last few battles are fairly similar to the encounters throughout Costume Quest, but on a bigger scale. I spent far too much time swearing at my TV and trying not to throw my controller down in a huff - but at the end of all that fuss, I actually quite enjoyed defeating evil things.

The sheer amount of material in the game is really impressive. Costume Quest isn't too short, and it kept me entertained for a good few hours whilst I was off work ill (don't tell the boss!), yet it wasn't drawn-out in an attempt to make more minutes of gameplay. For the points it cost, it's more than worthy and I'm really glad that I had a chance to play the game.

Next step - download the extra ‘Grubbins on Ice'!

Written by Tim Pestridge

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Tim Pestridge writes the Bike Gamer column.

"I like bikes and video games because they both spark my imagination and provide seemingly infinite possibilities and just generally make me smile."

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