Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time celebrates the series’ return with gorgeous worlds full of fun and challenging gameplay that lasts for hours and hours.
Crash Bandicoot fans waited 22 years for a new game in the series. Since Crash Bandicoot: Warped came out in 1998, they had to settle for spin-offs and remakes just to see their favorite marsupial.
Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time was announced in June 2020 to dangerous levels of hype. I am more than happy to let you know Crash Bandicoot 4 lives up to the expectations.
Revenge Is Best Served Cold
Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time is a direct sequel to the last game (the one from 1998). Crash locked his arch-enemy, Dr. Neo Cortex, in an interdimensional prison with his assistant Dr. Naferious Tropy. Of course, the game begins with both villains breaking out using the Uka-Uka mask. The sinister duo is seeking vengeance on Crash, with a sidedish of multi-dimension domination.
Crash and his sister Coco will try and stop the villains with the help of the four Quantum Masks. If this plot sounds familiar, it is because you must have played through it in every Crash game ever.
Truth be told, Crash Bandicoot games never excelled in their stories, but rather in their gameplay. It isn’t something to hold against the game – quite the opposite. The simple story makes Crash Bandicoot 4 feel like a genuine sequel. It is still fun to watch the bizarre and funny situations Crash faces throughout his adventure.
Jump, Slide and Break Boxes
Arguably the best part of the game is its gameplay. Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time preserves the series’s winning formula while bringing new and original ideas.
As befitting a Crash title, the gameplay focuses on platforming, breaking boxes, and collecting fruits. Crash can spin to break boxes and send enemies flying, small or big. Some enemies require a good bump on the head, and others stand on a platform you can drop beneath them by pressing a button. Having multiple ways of dispatching your enemies keeps the game fresh and adds variety to the levels.
Crash Bandicoot 4 has a stable learning curve. Every level will give you some trouble the first time you play it, but the second time around is a lot smoother. Breaking your own records provides a great sense of accomplishment that encourages you to keep replay levels until you’ve mastered them. Better results also unlock new outfits for Crash and Coco.
Even though the prizes are only cosmetic, it is still a fun way to make you want to improve yourself. Or you can choose to ignore these rewards and progress in the story. You won’t be punished for choosing to keep running forward.
In the new game, Crash gains new abilities such as wall-running, swinging on ropes and down zip-lines, and sliding on tracks. Sometimes you’ll have to run away from a big enemy that chases, you while avoiding obstacles in your way. Those parts are fun routine-breakers that pump you full of adrenaline.
Boss fights are the game’s weak points. They are not challenging in the least, and almost always follow the same pattern: Avoid their attacks by jumping, then hit some objects back at them. Boss fights do make sure you use the new masks you find, but never in a complicated or challenging way. The bottom line is they are easy and not very creative or exciting.
Boss fights may lack challenge, but the levels might give you an overdose of it. You’ll have to avoid plenty of things as run and jump, and one mistake will make you fall down, blow up, or get hit. Timing is essential, and reaching a high score will require precision and perfect control over Crash and his abilities.
Wear a Mask
The most significant innovation in Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time is the Quantum Masks. We discover 4 new masks: Ika-Ika that controls gravity, Kapuna-Wa that slows time, Lani-Loli that hides and reveals certain objects, and Akano that controls Dark Matter and let Crash glide while spinning.
Each mask presents a new gameplay mechanic, as well as a new challenge. For example, with Lani-Loli, you need to carefully time your jumps between all the appearing and disappearing platforms. Also, touching an explosive box while wearing Akano will set it off immediately.
Learning when and how to use each Quantum Masks is great fun. They are definitely a cool new addition that never feels like a gimmick forced on by the developers but a relevant and even integral part of the gameplay.
There are other playable characters in Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time, apart from Crash and Coco. One is Tawna, a hip pirate that helps the Bandicoot siblings. She controls much the same way as the main characters, with the addition of a grappling hook used to both platforming and combat. Additionally, you’ll get to play as Dr. Neo Cortex and Dingodile, each with new and exciting gameplay mechanics and new worlds to explore.
While the game lets you play new levels with the new characters, it doesn’t force you. After completing their story level, you can continue the character’s story in optional stages. But you can instead continue the campaign with Crash or Coco. However, playing these side levels adds to the plot, and you’ll get to see how these other characters got to meet Crash and what happened to them afterward.
Between the Desert and the Future
You can notice the attention to detail in every level of Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time. You’ll visit wonderful environments such as a pirate ship, a junkyard, and even a Japanese-themed world. Each one brings new and insane stuff to explore. The worlds are beautiful, intricate, and immersive.
The music is also charming and original. Each level has its own unique tracks to fit its theme. You’ll listen to chill and pleasant music on beach levels, and intense, life-or-death music in the junkyard.
Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time is a beautiful game with worlds you won’t want to stop exploring. It takes the renowned Crash formula and adds new and exciting features. It will challenge you greatly, but you’ll get to take one of the best titles of 2020 for a spin.
Developer: Toys for Bob
Release Date: Oct. 2, 2020
Our Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time review copy was provided by the publisher.Some of our posts include links to online retail stores. We get a small cut if you buy something through one of our links. Don't worry, it doesn't cost you anything extra.