Tag Archives: Halloween

2017 Game Review Haiku, #121 – Pumpking

Jump, tiny pumpkin
Avoid monsters, raise the score
Prove yourself a king

I can’t believe I’m still doing this. I can’t believe I’ll ever stop. These game summaries in chunks of five, seven, and five syllable lines paint pictures in the mind better than any half a dozen descriptive paragraphs I could ever write. Trust me, I’ve tried. Brevity is the place to be. At this point, I’ve done over 200 of these things and have no plans of slowing down. So get ready for another year of haikus. Doumo arigatou gozaimasu.

2017 Game Review Haiku, #111 – Boo!

Color these pumpkins
Just right, find the best order
Fun, free–now want pie

I can’t believe I’m still doing this. I can’t believe I’ll ever stop. These game summaries in chunks of five, seven, and five syllable lines paint pictures in the mind better than any half a dozen descriptive paragraphs I could ever write. Trust me, I’ve tried. Brevity is the place to be. At this point, I’ve done over 200 of these things and have no plans of slowing down. So get ready for another year of haikus. Doumo arigatou gozaimasu.

Costume Quest 2, sweet like candy to my soul

Costume Quest 2_20141029123759

I enjoyed that first Costume Quest game. It was cute, charming, bite-sized, rewarding, and perfect for warping you back to your childhood to remember those consequence-free times of running through your neighborhood, ringing doorbells, and asking strangers for candy. Surprise, surprise, being that the games are nearly identical to each other in terms of mechanics, pacing, and exploration from the eyes of children with larger-than-life imaginations, I also enjoyed Costume Quest 2. Probably more than the first adventure.

Here’s the four-one-one. Costume Quest 2 from Double Fine and Midnight City takes place once again on Halloween night. The fraternal twin siblings Wren and Reynold from the original game are back, as well as a bunch of their friends,  to save All Hallows’ Evening from the evil Dr. Orel White. This ultra-nefarious dentist has teamed up with a powerful time wizard, as one often does, releasing the Grubbins into the human world in hopes of ridding the candy-filled holiday entirely from history. Wren and Reynold’s friends open a mystical time portal from the future to explain that, where they are from, Halloween has been permanently outlawed, with Dr. Orel White ruling the world. Wren and Reynold go back to the future with their friends to stop this disillusioned dental surgeon for good.

If you’ve played the first Costume Quest, you’ll know how this game works because it is nearly identical. You move around an enclosed area full of things to punch for candy and on-screen enemies, like a suburban neighborhood or dental compound, talking to NPCs and solving simple navigation-blocking puzzles. Often, to get where you want to go, you need to use the right costume. For instance, the pterodactyl can use its wings to blow away big piles of leaves or garbage, and the wizard can illuminate dark areas the kids are too scared to explore without a light. There are main quests to follow, as well as small side ones that will earn you extra XP, upgrade your candy bag, and provide rarer Creepy Treat cards.

The main aspect gating progress in Costume Quest 2 is combat. It’s turn-based, focusing heavily on timed button presses, just like Paper Mario: Sticker Star. You select attack and then must time the button press with the indicator on-screen to hit maximum damage. You can also do this for blocking, to take less damage, as well as learning the ability to counter attacks later on. Each of the costumes the kids wear have different basic and special attacks, and I ended up relying on the Superhero, Clown, Wizard, and Jefferson costumes the most. I’ll talk about the Candy Corn costume in just a bit. All of the costumes have different strengths and weaknesses against specific enemy types, but I really never found myself worrying about that. You can run away from any fight, and even if you die, you respawn by the fountain of health to try again. This is not the Dark Souls of lite RPGs.

In fact, the hardest thing about Costume Quest 2 turned out to not even be terribly difficult, just a little more time-consuming. I’m talking about the “Hardcorn” Achievement, which requires you to keep a kid in the Candy Corn costume for the entire game. Basically, the Candy Corn costume does not attack enemies. You can still take less damage to it with a proper button timing when blocking, but otherwise it doesn’t do much other than make silly quips at the start of its turn, which, alas, I can confirm do repeat. Later, when Corvus teaches the kids how to perform counters, Candy Corn can at least occasionally deal some damage back, since everyone like to target it the most. This did make the boss battles go on a little longer than normal, but otherwise, I was able to do it, and I even shared this journey with all of you via Extra Life this past weekend. You can watch the videos on my YouTube channel (not all are up yet). Also, thanks to Microsoft’s latest dashboard update, I can now tell you that, on the Xbox One at least, this is a pretty rare accomplishment. Like 2% rare…

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Go me. Anyways, Costume Quest 2 is real cute. Super duper cute. The kind of cute fun that makes you feel safe again in a world that is undoubtedly growing more dangerous every day. For sure, I’ll play Costume Quest 3, if Double Fine decides to make more, but I’d love to see this evolve more mechanically. Granted, I think it was a surprise to everyone that this sequel alone got made. That said, I’m getting a copy of Costume Quest 2 this month on PlayStation 3 from PlayStation Plus and, for once, I will not even bother downloading it. I’ve done everything there is to do in this cartoonish Halloween-land. Until the next thwart on withholding candy from children, I guess.

2016 Game Review Haiku, #69 – Coffin Counseling

2016-gd-games-completed-coffin-counseling-capture

Lord Dracula sad
Help cheer every monster up
Through talk, flips, lend ear

Here we go again. Another year of me attempting to produce quality Japanese poetry about the videogames I complete in three syllable-based phases of 5, 7, and 5. I hope you never tire of this because, as far as I can see into the murky darkness–and leap year–that is 2016, I’ll never tire of it either. Perhaps this’ll be the year I finally cross the one hundred mark. Buckle up–it’s sure to be a bumpy ride. Yoi ryokō o.

2016 Game Review Haiku, #64 – Costume Quest 2

2016-gd-games-completed-costume-quest-2

Save your Halloween
Angry dentist, time travel
Candy corn not clutch

Here we go again. Another year of me attempting to produce quality Japanese poetry about the videogames I complete in three syllable-based phases of 5, 7, and 5. I hope you never tire of this because, as far as I can see into the murky darkness–and leap year–that is 2016, I’ll never tire of it either. Perhaps this’ll be the year I finally cross the one hundred mark. Buckle up–it’s sure to be a bumpy ride. Yoi ryokō o.

2016 Game Review Haiku, #63 – Trick & Treat

2016-gd-games-completed-trick-treat-02

A haunted mansion
Perfect for party, puzzles
Too many bad ends

Here we go again. Another year of me attempting to produce quality Japanese poetry about the videogames I complete in three syllable-based phases of 5, 7, and 5. I hope you never tire of this because, as far as I can see into the murky darkness–and leap year–that is 2016, I’ll never tire of it either. Perhaps this’ll be the year I finally cross the one hundred mark. Buckle up–it’s sure to be a bumpy ride. Yoi ryokō o.

Games Completed in 2011, #14 – Costume Quest

Surprisingly, it was not too weird to play a Halloween-themed game in the middle of April. Much credit can go to Easter, another holiday that seems to revel in chocolate and candy and disgusting things like peeps. Having now played and immersed myself in Costume Quest, I can safely say I would have played it during any holiday, candy-filled or not. Yup, even on Frog Jumping Jubilee Day (May 19).

Costume Quest is an adventure RPG set in Schafer County, starring one of two squabbling siblings: Reynold or Wren. It’s Halloween night, and everybody’s out getting their share of candy. Including monsters. Your sister (or brother) is mistaken as a giant piece of candy thanks to a crude candy corn costume and taken hostage by the monsters. Soon, a trio forms, and the quest to save your sibling starts, spanning three large areas filled with monsters, candy, trick-or-treatin’, sidequests, and funny outfits.

Gameplay involves traversing around either the Auburn Pines Suburbs, the Autumn Haven Mall, or Fall Valley, fighting monsters, collecting candy, and completing quests from various NPCs.

The most unique element is, unfortunately, not the game’s strongest. Costume Quest has a cartoony look, with cel-shaded characters and vibrant areas. When a battle with a monster starts, our little costumed kids transform into giant versions of themselves, becoming a Transformers-like robot, a valiant knight, and a spider French Fry to name a few. That last one sounds scary, but it’s actually pretty adorable:

Battles then play out in a turn-based fashion, with only a few abilities to select. A special move charges up after two attacks. When one of the kids attacks, there’s a mini-QTE that can power up your punch; without this element, despite how un-fun QTE is, the battles would be beyond boring. They’d basically break down into attack, attack, special move, attack, attack, special move. Health is automatically restored to all kids after every battle, too. I did not have any troubles with the monsters or bosses in this game, and that’s not gloating, just a fact. So long as you set the right Battle Stamps in place and constantly pay attention to every QTE, you’ll be a-okay.

Another irk, at least for me, is that the text moved too fast to read at times. Why not let me press a button to continue with the text after I’ve read it? I understand that a lot of this is done to keep cutscenes moving forward, but boo…I missed out on some dialogue, and that’s a shame as this is a really funny game. Double Fine knows its jokes, and many great one-liners come from knocking on doors and discovering a monster lurking inside. Speaking of that…

::knock knock::
NEIGHBOR: Who’s there?
PAULY: Trick or treat?
NEIGHBOR: Aren’t you a little old to be trick-or-treating?
PAULY: What? No, no.
NEIGHBOR: What’s your costume, anyways?
PAULY: I’m a struggling videogame blogger. Please give me a treat. Pleeeease.
NEIGHBOR: Fine. So long as you’ll leave.
PAULY: Yaaaaaay!


Sweet Justice (25G): Finished the game!

Costume Quest could be summed up as “baby’s first RPG,” which is not as negative as I’m making it sound; it’s very safe, very easy, very friendly. But dang is it charming. The story and characters and funny costume ideas carry the quest through and through; just don’t go in expecting a deep battle system or anything that could be described as epic. Not sure if I’ll go after the DLC Grubbins on Ice as it just sounds a bit like more of the same.

Halloween-themed art from Scribblenauts

Two days late with this, but check out this awesome Halloween-themed art from Scribblenauts artist Edison Yan:

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Now, I just need to figure out how to summon a pirate kitty cat of death, as well as the candy corn man. Not that I like candy corn. But a Maxwell armed to the teeth with an uzi and laser pistol riding a pirate kitty cat of death could surely take care of that problem…