There is something always charming about a Double Fine game. The art style is always cohesive, unique, and creative. The gameplay is always satisfying yet simple, and the story is always a good one. But perhaps the most impressive element of a Double Fine game — especially Costume Quest 2 — is the amount of entertaining reading and dialogue, and the smooth humor they contain. During my time playing, I mainly just took screenshots of hilarious quips I wanted to remember (check out my candy corn gallery below). My entire Costume Quest 2 experience was just fun.
The story begins where the first game left off, so those who have played it will feel a little nostalgic seeing familiar characters and places from the first title. I won’t go into the story details in this review, as the plot twists in this game are one of the things that make it so fun. Let me just say that the story never feels cheesy or boring. While it is a game that children can play and understand, that doesn’t make it typical or unentertaining. Sitting back after finishing the game, I was quite impressed with the scope of the story I had just played through. I applaud Double Fine for creating yet another entertaining game revolving around the simple idea of Halloween. And especially one that can be played and enjoyed any time of year without that dreaded holiday-gone-past feeling you usually feel (think Christmas in February).
For those who haven’t played the first Costume Quest game (and I recommend you do), you play as kids who are passionate about trick-or-treating and wearing/creating/collecting/comparing cool costumes. The main characters in this game are the twin sister and brother duo Wren and Reynolds, and various friend sidekicks along the way. Your main concern is saving Halloween, and along the way you trick-or-treat to collect candy and sometimes battle monsters. This is where the really cool part comes in. When you enter a battle, it’s like a direct link into your child self’s mind. You transform into a super-cool, bad-ass version of whatever costume you are sporting at the time, and the enemies also become bad-ass versions of themselves to be worthy opponents. Each costume comes with a special ability that can do massive damage, heal/resurrect team members, or other useful things. You fill up your special meter when you attack or take damage. Now, the battle is turn based with quick-time elements, so it’s important to pay attention or you won’t deal much damage, defend well, or fill your super meter as fast.
The Best Non-Creepy Way to Trick-or-Treat as an Adult
The other element of battle that speaks to your inner child is using Creepy Treat cards, much like the stamps of the previous game. You collect these throughout the game by buying them with candy, winning them in battle, finding them in treasure chests, or trading with other kids who are collecting certain cards. You can customize a three card deck to use in battle, and each card can then be used once per character turn, after which it has a cooldown time of 2-5 turns or so until you can use it again. Near the end of the game, the cards get more and more powerful and have longer cool-down times. I got really into planning out three card decks that I would strategically use and then swap out with my other decks. There is no system of officially planning out multiple decks other than the one you take to battle, though, so I wrote the names of mine down. A few of my favorite card names are Bubble Barf, Flippity Flaps, Headless Horsemints, and Sugar Uncles. My favorite cards did things like stun all enemies for one turn, drain all minions health 25% per turn, and double the candy reward. There are many many cards to collect, so battle can be very tactical and interesting.
There are 12 areas to explore in this game, and almost each and every one has a handful of secrets to discover, like treasure chests and pinatas of candy to whack. I was surprised at how detailed the areas were compared to the previous game. One area in particular was almost entirely on rooftops, using ziplines, stairs, and ramps to get around. I was surprised that I missed a couple secrets, because I thought I had thoroughly explored an area when I really hadn’t. The secrets are often hidden by small environmental puzzles that have to be solved using your more realistic costume’s abilities, like the honky horn of a clown to scare pigeons out of the way, or diplomacy while dressed as an enlightened forefather of America for those people who just stand in the way of your quest. The costumes in your arsenal also grow in numbers as you explore and do side quests, and their new abilities help you progress as well. The game is well-paced and always entertains you with new places to see and costumes to wear.
Candy Corn is Silent but Deadly
As I mentioned, my absolute favorite thing about Costume Quest 2 is the humor. These little kids are smart and hilarious. Their personalities jump out at you through their dialogue, which is a very good thing since you have to read absolutely everything in this game. There is no voice acting, and all story content and dialogue is text-based. I kind of think this decision was made to force the player to become invested in the characters and their cause, and it worked. Without the impressive dialogue throughout the entire game, the title would be kind of boring, honestly. It’s the humor and the feel of being a kid that makes the experience so great. You just get to relax, forget about your real life, hoard candy, wear awesome costumes, and fight monsters.
The humor is also something that makes me think this game is perfect for adults and kids alike. It’s got that perfect angle that makes kids and adults laugh, with some jokes going over little ones’ heads, and enough non-annoying slapstick comedy to make them laugh too. And if you’re wondering what the deal is with the candy corn costume, I’ll fill you in. In battle, candy corn does absolutely nothing. It sits there and looks delicious, so more often than not, the minions will attack it and not your actual fighters. Some of the most hilarious one-liners come from using candy corn in battle.
I love this game, and recommend it to everyone. I really can’t think of a reason why someone wouldn’t like this game, unless you don’t enjoy laughing and playing video games. Double Fine created a perfectly balanced, colorful game about Halloween that will make players of many ages laugh and enjoy themselves. So go ahead, put on your candy corn costume and hop into the mind of Tim Schafer in yet another impressive Double Fine game called Costume Quest 2.
Costume Quest 2 review copy provided by publisher. Reviewed on PS4 For more information on scoring, please read our Review Policy here.