Developer: Double Fine Productions
Price: $4.99
Version Reviewed: 1.03
App Reviewed on: iPhone 5

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★½☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★★½☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★½☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★½☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

Developer Double Fine has run the gambit of developing everything from full-fledged console releases all the way down to bite-sized downloadable titles. One such miniature experience from 2010 was Costume Quest. Just in time for Halloween, the game makes its way to iOS with a fully re-imagined touch interface in tow. Is this the ideal way to experience the door-to-door shenanigans, or should its parents never let it out after dark?

IMG_0596An adventure title with role playing elements seems like it would be right in the wheelhouse of a development studio like Double Fine. This hybridized approach to genre resulted in Costume Quest having an authentic look and feel, unlike nearly anything else on the market. After all, what other game could get away with containing topics like kidnapping, mech battles, and talking to strangers without setting off every children’s rights group under the sun? Thankfully the tongue-in-cheek humor helps to disarm the potential cut of the overall subject matter.

The game’s unique hybridization is channeled directly into a combat system that seems completely disjointed from the core game experience. Not so much that it felt out of place, just more along the lines of a bizarre non-sequitur thrown in for variety’s sake. However, the combat system is where the touch mechanics begin to break down a bit. What were once simple controller prompted quicktime events have been transformed into timed screen presses that also need to hit corresponding quadrants of the screen. Not only do these not work especially well, but quite frankly they begin to grate on the nerves the further along in the game the player delves.

IMG_0595Adventuring aspects in Costume Quest are both fun and rewarding, further hitting on what the studio has a pedigree of doing best. Each of the costume’s unique abilities and the combat implications associated with the getups further mix things up. The main issue is that the overall combat situation grows stale quickly, so much so that the exploration would be hard pressed to redeem the deficits.

With the haunting holiday right around the corner, Costume Quest will be a perfect way to embrace its ghoulish potential. Outside of the Halloween season it may be a bit more hard-pressed to maintain an audience. There is plenty to like in this package, just be sure to make the most of it while the time of year is still upon us. Shelf life will not be this sweet treat’s strong suit.


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