I am a big fan of Costume Quest, a little RPG made by the fine people over at Double Fine Productions. It was charming, funny as heck, a great game for Halloween, and rather challenging at points if you weren’t careful. With the sequel finally out now, I am pumped to check it out. However, before I check that out, I got a fun side story to check out! Published by Oni Press and created by Zac Gorman, with help from Double Fine themselves, let’s take a look at this fun little romp. Is it good?
Costume Quest: Invasion of the Candy Snatchers (Oni Press)
In Repugia, there is a Grubbin named Klem who wants to get in the popular crowd (don’t we all?) and also get the attention of one Verena Snout, the prettiest of the Grubbins out there. The “cool” kids are throwing a big party and Klem wants in on the fun, promising to bring a lot of candy if they let him come (Repugia is in a bit of a candy shortage, you see). However, Klem doesn’t really have any candy on him and plans on heading over into the human world to get some. After all, it is Halloween!
There’s also this guy as well, who will be our antagonist.
I’m going to be upfront about this… I am a bit disappointed in this comic. It’s not a bad comic per se, but it just doesn’t live up to the quality of the game, nor is it even in the same ballpark. The story is extremely familiar and overdone (unpopular kid tries to fit into the cool kids) and really does not do anything particularly new with the concept. Sure, there are a few twists that were admittedly amusing (like the bully/jock is really really dumb), but it’s just kind of a tired story trope at this point. Also, there are a few other storylines that don’t really go anywhere and then are just dropped with no resolution to them. It doesn’t really make for the most enjoyable read unfortunately.
That’s not all, unfortunately; there are problems elsewhere, particularly with the characters. The main characters are just not as memorable or charming as the original cast and are basically character types we’ve all seen before. Plus, some of the friendship angle is a bit weak in areas, since one of the three main characters barely interacts with the other two and only seems to be in the story to add unnecessary conflict. Verena, the character who is the motivation for Klem doing what he is doing, only shows up in the beginning of the story and really is more of a plot device if anything. As for any of the familiar characters from Costume Quest itself, only two make an appearance (Lucy and Everett) and they are really only there to solve an artificial problem at the last second. The best characters in this whole thing were actually the villains, who were your stereotypical jock/bullies in type of story, but they’re actually a bit self-aware and have a lot of funny moments. I wish the rest of the cast was just as good as they were, or at least half as funny.
The rest of the book is ultimately fine. The pacing is fine and it never feels like it’s too slow or too fast. The humor is very hit or miss here, with a few moments that are smile worthy. The dialogue is alright, contributing to some of the humor as well. The ending is fine as well, but the story seems to stop and not bring much resolution to some storylines like previously stated. Finally, there is one thing that really bothers me and that’s the pricing of the comic. The book doesn’t even have 50 pages worth of story or extra content and will cost you about $25 for a physical copy of it. Yes, it’s a hardcover, but the cost doesn’t equal the amount of content you get. It’s better if you get it digitally if you really want it, since it’ll cost you 10 dollars there.
The artwork is a bit different than what I was expecting. I was actually hoping for a style more similar to the series than this, but it doesn’t really take away from the comic. The characters look fine, the layouts are easy to follow if a bit generic, the coloring and inking look nice, and there are some occasional nice and amusing shots here. It’s not a bad looking book ultimately, but it’s not particularly memorable in my view either.
Is It Good?
Costume Quest: Invasion of the Candy Snatchers is a disappointment. It lacks a lot of the charm, wit, and personality that the game has and tells a very familiar tale with characters we’ve seen done plenty of times before. It has its moments, but between the forgettable writing and the high cost, I cannot recommend this. Just save your money and get the sequel (or the first game if you haven’t yet for some reason).