Crash Bandicoot is back and better than ever!
As a gamer in general, we all have at least one classic game at the back of our heads that began our spiral down the rabbit hole. And no matter how games we encounter subsequently, nothing can take away that feeling of nostalgia of having spent hours as a kid without a care in the world.
For some people like Sal, it was the Castlevania series from the good old days, while for others it was just a simple mutated bandicoot that could spin. So when I got my hands on the newest Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time for review, I couldn’t wait to see how it was going to live up to its glory days! So further ado, let’s dive right into it!
What is Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time?
Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time is a callback to classic platforming games with previously established elements, and as well as the inclusion of new components that make it so much more than just another entry in the series.
Developed by Toys for Bob and published by Activision, the game brings us back to our beloved spinning bandicoot, Crash, along with other familiar characters from the franchise to save the multiverse by closing off dimensional rifts.
All in all, it seems simple enough, right? All you have to do is spin around and save the day, and that’s the end of the game; well at least that’s what I had assumed before really getting into it.
Honestly, I didn’t play much of the games in the Crash Bandicoot series. I’ve tried it a couple of times before but not to the point of investing my complete attention.
So my expectations for the current game were somewhat simplistic as I thought it was going to be a fun and breezy playthrough because come on, how hard can a platforming game be right? Well, as it turns out, I was so wrong because it can be quite demanding and frustrating!
Characters and Controls.
Let’s start with the basics. Crash Bandicoot 4 lets you play as either the titular hero Crash or his sister Coco for the entirety of the game, with the option to change between them whenever you want to before starting any stage level. The control scheme for both of these characters is the same, which consists of jumping over obstacles and spinning to defeat foes and destroy boxes along the way.
You do, however, get to play other characters such as Tawna, Dingodile and Cortex who are designed with their very own gameplay, but restricted to certain levels only which is a bummer to be sure. Hopefully, we’ll get a chance to play them as fully-fledged characters on any maps down the road.
Here’s where the tricky part comes in. If you’re a veteran player, then you know that the game is not as simple as jumping and spinning around from point A to point B; it ultimately involves quite a bit of thinking and practice to get through these areas. Now whereas if you’re a cocky newbie, such as myself, the game will beat you down until you learn your place as though you’ve just entered a Dark Souls game.
I’m not even joking about how hard Crash Bandicoot 4 can initially be if you don’t take your time to practice. But despite that, it becomes very satisfying once you learn to overcome these challenges as a new player. As for veteran players who think that their experiences in the old games will give them the upper hand, then you’re in a for a rude awakening because the game has changed its rules!
These masks are not messing around!
As I mentioned above, the story of the game revolves around Crash and his buddies closing off dimensional rifts to save the multiverse. It eventually leads players to encounter different kinds of Quantum Masks imbued with specific powers in the game, that elevates the platforming experience to a whole new level.
The first Mask you’ll meet as you progress through the game will be Lani-Loli, that grants you the power of phasing objects in and out of existence in specific areas of the map level.
So now, instead of just making sure that you don’t hit any enemies or jump off some random cliff, you have to make sure that you are regularly phasing through obstacles and boxes as you traverse. That’s right it’s going to be such a field day for those of you who are completionists at heart with regards to collecting points in every map level.
Oh, and did I mention that there are masks in the game, as in plural? That’s right; there are still three more masks that provide you with a different kind of gameplay.
For example, the Mask of gravity called Ika-Ika flips the switch on gravity by allowing you to walk on the ceilings to get across obstacles. These new components to the game are an incredible addition to the overall experience in general and also a great way to keep veteran players engaged throughout for more.
Crash Bandicoot 4 is a visual marvel with great replayability.
One thing that impresses me the most about Crash Bandicoot 4 is how beautiful everything looks like visually and how creative the environment design is.
The characters and levels consist of brightly coloured textures with a great centre of focus on details, which leads players to experience every map differently from the one before that.
There are so many parts to each map that you could be encountering at least three different kinds of gameplay before you even finish a level! And that concept alone made me want to keep playing even more to the point of which I was going through the motions of saying one more stage, just one more before I put the controller down.
For example, you could be casually traversing the map only to find yourself next on a sliding ramp of doom that could get you killed with just one mistake or abruptly being thrown into a race of survival against a gigantic adversary that’s out to crush you.
Crash Bandicoot 4 introduces the ability to customize your character with various outfits for both Crash and Coco that are unlockable by completing missions and challenges throughout the game for gems.
And trust me when I say, it’s not as easy as it sounds. You’re going to be replaying most levels over again, to get that one tedious gem that’s locked behind with three deaths or less!
When it comes to games, most of the time it lacks in the department of replayability. Thankfully this game does not suffer from that but excels in that area. After completing each map, you have the option to replay those levels again against a time limit that’s bound to push your platforming skills to the limit.
And if that’s not enough to convince you, then the game’s unique N. Verted mode might do the trick. What the game mode essentially does is to change up existing levels in the game with a different art style and mechanics to offer a whole new experience. It’s quite an adventure, and I very much enjoyed myself on the level where Crash colours the world by spinning, yep its a thing.
The Bottom Line.
We have finally reached the end of the review for Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time, and now let’s see if it’s worth your attention. Honestly, there’s nothing more that I can say except that you should give the game a shot because it’s truly remarkable.
Be it a new player or a veteran player of the series there’s something unique for everyone to get hook on to and have an enjoyable experience. The game may start a little difficult at the beginning for some gamers, but with practice, you’ll get to appreciate everything that the game has to offer up.
A fun and enjoyable game that offers a lot in terms of replayability.
- Delightful game play
- Colourful visuals
- Intricate level designs
- Character customizations
- Replayability value
- Only two characters are available to play in all of the levels