[PlayStation 4] Costume Kingdom Review
Costume Kingdom from Stratton Game Studios is a Halloween-themed RPG in which you follow Rain on his quest to save the Halloween event. Check our Costume Kingdom review!
Castle Costume is a platform action-adventure game set in a semi-open world environment and played from a third-person perspective. Throughout the game, the player unlocks many different abilities to aid them on their journey. The game is set in a mysterious world locked in a cycle of Halloween.
I’m a fan of Halloween-themed releases, with my favorite ones being the terrible cute Poltergeist: A Pixelated Horror on PlayStation Vita and Costume Quest 2 which released way back in 2014. Today’s game is Costume Kingdom, which I originally thought would be a spiritual successor to the Costume Quest franchise. I’m here to report this is not the case.
As soon as I had pressed a button on the main game menu, I already had some doubts about this release since I was greeted by the weirdest loading screen I have ever seen in my gaming life. It shows the loading progression with a percentage up to the 6th decimal, which just looked like an unfinished feature. You can see this in the screenshot below.
With that being said, once the initial loading is completed, you get control of Rain, the main character, and will find yourself in an area with no instructions on what to do. I’m generally a fan of games that don’t hold my hand for basic stuff, but I’d at least like to know what is expected of me. In this case, it was to walk right and collect the nearby candies on the floor. Being a Halloween game, I can understand that candies are a big part of Halloween, but at least give me a reason as to why they must be collected!
As it turns out, candies are the game’s currency, which I noticed later when I automatically joined the Apex Cup without my direct consent, and that my candy total had been debited as an entry fee. I was never told that I was enrolling in the Apex Cup nor that candies would be used right away without the option of confirming me being in agreement.
Speaking of the Apex Cup, participating in it is the game’s main objective. Your ultimate goal is to clear the three Apex Cup tires by fighting your way through different monster battles using your PokÃ©mon-like creatures/costumes, which are called Hallowmon. Each of your creatures has elemental strengths and weaknesses like you’d find in a typical RPG, and selecting the right ones will be key for you to be able to succeed in battle, or else you’re going to lose, and fast.
The battle system itself is presented in a similar fashion as PokÃ©mon: your Hallowmons are on the bottom side of the screen, and the enemies are on the upper-right section. You can switch your team members as you please and use their specific fighting techniques. At first, the game didn’t make me feel that the battles required any strategy because I was literally one-hit killing every enemy in sight, but as soon as you get more than one Hallowmon, the gameplay changes, forcing you to select a different fighter.
If you feel overpowered, there’s an option to run from combat, which I definitively recommend against using because, for unknown reasons, it has the exact same effect as dying, so you’ll go back at the previous checkpoint. When this unusual behavior occurred, I wondered what was the point of adding the option to run if this action has no benefit and nothing but bad consequences.
Apart from the weird loading screen and how the run gameplay mechanic works, Costume Kingdom has other serious issues and definitively lacks the extra polish needed for a game on PS4 in 2020. Very often, the fixed camera angle will show you only a wall, and your point of view will be blocked, even if there is something important that should be seen, like a door you have to open to be able to progress through the story. I also didn’t like that the developer forgot to implement the Circle button as the universal PlayStation 4 “Cancel” button. Most menus and the battle action require you to manually move the cursor to the “Back” button to go to the previous screen. There’s also a menu that can be opened by the DualShock 4 TouchPad called Costume Collection that can only be closed by pressing the TouchPad button again. It wasn’t explained, which can leave you stumped as you try to find the logical solution. And in the game’s menu screen, there’s an extremely dangerous option simply named “Menu,” which will take you back to the game’s title screen without asking for confirmation, nor suggesting that you save the game first.
On a positive note, I liked how the different environments are well represented in this Halloween themed release. I liked the way the lighting, in particular, was done, which at least gave us a cute world to explore.
As for the trophies, they are mostly awarded for progressing through the campaign and completing side-quests. With the right guide – like the one lined below – the game can be Platinumed in roughly two hours and chance, which might please trophy hunters.
Costume Kingdom is a release that definitively tries to be entertaining, but its incredible lack of polish broke the experience for me. Maybe with a couple of extra months of work and a few patches, the game could be improved, but in its currents state, it’s a hard one to recommend. On the plus side, the game is only $10, which might make it a good option for trophy hunters who want to add a Platinum trophy to their collection with a couple of hours of gaming.
Here’s a Trophy guide to help you with this game, in case you need it.
This Costume Kingdom review is based on a PlayStation 4 copy provided by Stratton Studio Games.