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Review: Costume Quest 2

BY CONOR MCBRIEN | OCTOBER 09, 2014 5:00 AM

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If I had to think about it, there really aren’t that many Halloween-theme games out there. Plenty of horror games certainly, but only a few actual Halloween games.

The Atari game based on the Halloween movie is one; Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie’s Revenge is another. However, these games don't actually center exclusively on the holiday, despite their respective settings. Costume Quest and its new sequel live and breathe Halloween.

Costume Quest 2 is a turn-based RPG that follows the trick-or-treating adventures of fraternal twins Reynold and Wren, who survived the frightening kidnappings of last Halloween in their old neighborhood and now live in the French Quarter of New Orleans. When the siblings go out for their first Halloween away from home, they discover that an evil, time-traveling dentist named Kronoculus is planning to erase the existence of candy by altering history.

Yes, it sounds like a wacky Saturday morning cartoon, but the charm of saving the world from an overworked dentist who’s probably tired of treating cavities all the time does bring a smile to my face and remind me of a simpler time.

The play in Costume Quest 2 is only a slight deviation from the original game. The costumes that the main characters wear still give them powers and abilities to fight enemies in the turn-based battles. The costumes themselves also grant the player cinematic special attacks — reminiscent of old Final Fantasies — to deal extra damage.

The first game was famously simple for an RPG, as exploring the neighborhood and collecting candy took precedence over fighting monsters. Then again, that could be seen as brilliant, considering the game is about two kids out trick-or-treating until monsters start kidnapping people. The combat was typical RPG fare; select an action in the menu, then do it, and wait for your next turn.

The new combat system feels less like Final Fantasy and more like another classic Squaresoft game, Super Mario RPG. Combat now focuses on timing, because the player can deal more damage for exact execution of attacks. The same applies to defending against enemy attacks. Time your guarding right, and you may not take any noteworthy damage at all.

Overall, this game is still as fun as the first one. It's a cheap and charming adventure for people who want to get into the Halloween spirit without having to watch "Hocus Pocus" for the 20th time.

Costume Quest 2 is available now on PC through Steam for $14.99. It will be released for all consoles later this month.


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