Halloween is nearly upon us, and this year for all of those who were looking for a brand new, candy-filled, time-traveling adventure, Costume Quest 2 is on the horizon. The sequel to the colorful, humorous RPG-adventure will look and feel pretty familiar, though there are improvements, new features, and of course, new costumes to find and wear to become Hallowarriors”.
This time around you start as both Wren and Reynold, the twins from the original. In the demo level that I tried, I soon ran into grown up Everett and Lucy from the first game who have summoned the twins back in an effort to save Halloween from a fiery end at the hands of Dr. Orel, who supports dental hygiene over all, and wants candy and Halloween abolished. The bleak future is depicted with toothy dental drones and humorous dental propaganda, such as posters of toothbrushes with “Brush” written under them. The world is dark and costumes are banned. Of course, you can’t settle for that, so you get some new costumes, then go through a time portal back to before Dr. Orel arrives to launch his plan.
The sequel has definitely upped the graphics so that the visual experience is definitely better. One of my favorite things about the bayou level I played were the reflections visible in the water as we made our way through the swampy territory. The improved graphics and lighting really stand out. The controls also feel more fluid this time around. Costume Quest 2 is a game that doesn’t stray too far from the original that fans really loved, but still manages to improve upon them or add additional challenge while honoring that faithfulness. The original’s turn-based combat system felt a little repetitive, despite your cool attacks and powers with each of your costumes.
This time, expect to have to time your attacks, as indicated by a big yellow circle on screen. Your result (whether you got the timing right or were off) will be acknowledged, and if you were accurate, you’ll get another timed circle to attempt a second attack. Nail that, and you might get a third attack to seal your combo. It takes a moment to get the timing down with each costume, but do so and you’re set.
Speaking of costumes, there are some very fun new ones to collect and utilize. They include Superhero, Wizard, Pterodactyl, Thomas Jefferson, Clown, and Candy Corn. While Candy Corn was in the first game, this time it’s an actual wearable costume to do battle in, if you want to sit there and skip your turn, essentially tanking but doing nothing else. You’ll get funny sayings for each turn you skip (and an achievement if you play the game through with it - Hard-corn). One of your first goals will likely be to get your unfortunate Candy Corn a new costume - stat.
We met our first additional party member while out trick or treating. He was trying to get a piece of his clown costume away from a gator and asked us if we’d keep an eye out for the rest of the pieces. Sure enough, in my quest for candy, I bopped a few gators on the head until they coughed up both the sweets and the costume pieces.
The clown has a horn and a bounce attack. He’ll jump on your enemies in battle. His special is a heal called Laughter is the Best Medicine, which will help in tough fights. Unlike the first game, where you heal automatically after battle, this sequel requires everyone go to special fountains to get all patched up. The Superhero will fly forth and attack enemies, while utilizing a special called Sweet Justice, which involves picking up a van and flinging it at the enemy. It never gets old. Thomas Jefferson was the other costume I got to try, and his is quite enjoyable as well. His standard attack involves sending quills at enemies. And his special, Declaration of Destruction, consists of an animation of costumed Thomas Jefferson writing, signing, and delivering a scroll, which is picked up and read by a surprised enemy before its full potential is unleashed.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get to try out the other new costumes, but I suspect they’ll all be fun in their own ways. Costume Quest 2 is a faithful sequel, with the trademark DoubleFine whimsical, dark-edged humor that catches you off guard over and over.