Paige FTW: A Sweet Interlude

After my massive, all-encompassing Breath of the Wild binge, I needed a break from pure freedom. I need a game that was light and fast and stratified with clear objectives, quests and collectibles.

So I fired up my PS3, dug through my backlog and came up with … Costume Quest 2?

It’s not Halloween, but I nonetheless was reminded of how quaintly charming this little franchise is.

Picking up right where the last game ends, Costume Quest 2 drops its twin heroes, Wren and Reynold, into a battle to save Halloween from their evil dentist, Dr. Orel White. Time travel is somehow involved now. Things aren’t exactly deep in this department, but the writing is sharp albeit simple.

Luckily, this sequel has improved on the original’s combat system and exploration, adding a Fire Emblem-esque weapons triangle of strengths and weaknesses, temporary buffs and costume-gated puzzles.

This is not to say that this is necessarily a very good game for anyone over the age of, say, 12. Everything is mindlessly simplistic and tedious once you get the hang of it (and even if you don’t get the hang of it).

So, why play it? And why am I writing this article about it?

Sometimes, in a world of heavy games, like The Last of Us or God of War, or even heavy real-world events, it’s nice to play something light and happy and mindless, chugging towards the catharsis of completion without the burden of actual thought.

As therapeutic as something like Tetris is, it lacks the sense of completion that a game with an actual plot has. Costume Quest 2 may not be very good or memorable, but traipsing along, clearing houses of candy and collecting costume parts brings with it a sense of comforting action. I am moving, even if I am not going anywhere in particular.

So in this context, maybe the cotton candy-sweet Costume Quest 2 is exactly what we need to survive this modern age.