Costume Kingdom review for PS4, PC

Platform: PS4
Also on: PC
Publisher: Loveridge Designs
Developer: Loveridge Designs
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: E10+

Costume Kingdom isn’t exactly what you’d call original. It’s basically a Pokémon clone with a Halloween skin, and it’s all done so lazily that it’s hard to give the game any credit whatsoever.

Now, when I say that this is a Pokémon clone, understand that I’m not someone who’s played a tonne of Pokémon. Like, in my entire life I’ve played maybe — maybe — two hours of any Pokémon games, and the bulk of that was a few months ago when I decided to try out Pokémon Shield. So for me to notice that another game is completely ripping off Pokémon, you know we’ve got to be talking pretty blatant thievery.

And worse, we’re not even talking about very good thievery. This is a game where a) the monsters you’re collecting are called “Hallowmon”, and b) one of the Hallowmon is an owl-like monster called Owly. That should give you some idea of the level of originality we’re talking about here. What’s more, there also wasn’t a whole lot of work put into creating Hallowmon. You collect a team of six over the course of the game’s short playthrough, and in total you encounter around ten different types of monsters.

That’s not to say that you only encounter ten Hallowmon, total. No, you’ll spend the bulk of your time here engaging in random turn-based battles with the same ten Hallowmon over and over. It’s not clear why there are so many battles, since it’s not as if you need to train up your Hallowmon — they only go to level 20, and the XP is given so freely that you’ll be able to max out your whole team long before you’re anywhere close to the end.

This, in turn, means that the game gets absurdly easy very early on, since your team of Hallowmon is so overpowered compared to everything else you encounter (save for the final boss battle, which I’ll get to in a moment). In fact, not only are you overpowered compared to all the other Hallowmon, there’s no limit on how much energy your attacks use up, which means you can just use your most powerful attack every single turn. I’m all for easy games, but Costume Kingdom takes it to ridiculous extremes.

The game also has a few other major failings that need to be mentioned, just so you can have an idea of how thoroughly bad it is.

First, the camera is atrocious. It doesn’t quite know what to do when you walk behind a wall, so it just stays trained on the wall, and you can’t see yourself at all. Thankfully you can usually just continue walking and come out the other side, but every so often I’d have to wiggle around my thumbstick just to come back into view.

The other bizarre thing about Costume Kingdom is that you can finish the game without actually beating the final boss. I’m not going to spoil the ending, but right at the very end you come to a diverging path. Take one side, and you take on the final boss — who, it should be noted, is significantly more difficult than any other enemies you’ll have faced in the game to that point. After losing to him once, I decided to see what lay on the other side, only to discover that I’d accidentally blocked off the other ending. You can’t make multiple saves here, and if you go back to the main menu you’ll find the end game blocked off entirely, which means you’re only other option is to start over from scratch — which, given how thoroughly lousy everything here is, wasn’t the most enticing option.

Really, just about the only thing Costume Kingdom has going for it is that there’s no Pokémon on the PS4 (though, I’ll note, there is a Digimon game or two). So if you’re insane and want to experience Pokémon without going to the trouble of buying a Switch, I guess this is the game for you? That, however, would be an absurd course of action, since Costume Kingdom is very, very bad. Save yourself the trouble, splurge on a Nintendo system, and just get Pokémon instead, because this game certainly isn’t worth anything.

Loveridge Designs provided us with a Costume Kingdom PS4 code for review purposes.

Grade: D