Crash Bandicoot was a mascot that wasn’t missed until he disappeared. While his original developers (Naughty Dog) went on to great success, seeing constant cameos from Spyro made gamers yearn for that famous PlayStation platformer of yesterday. Toys for Bob are ready to scratch your itch for Crash with a proper follow-up, appropriately titled Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time. Yep, the name spells it out, but can Crash still go, or was he better off left in the last decade? Let’s find out.
This is one of those quirky stories that honestly is cute and fun, existing to get the player from point A to point B. When Neo Cortex and N. Tropy cause a rip in time, Crash, Coco, and other allies new and old must band together to stop them. It’s fun, its light, and it feels just like the Crash we all know and love.
Personally, I do not remember too much about the fine details of the older narratives for Crash titles, even though I only recently revisited them. Crash 4 I’m expecting about the same with, as it kind of plays like a cartoon where it may not be something that sticks with you, but it absolutely is a treat to watch as those cutscenes roll forward.
The gameplay in Crash 4 was absolutely one area I was most concerned about. Thankfully, Toys for Bob did a great job of modernizing an old favorite as this game, no matter how many gimmicks are attached still feels like a classic Crash title. The run, jump, twist, and bounce elements still are in-tact and feel great, and older players should feel right at home if they just bounced back into the franchise after 3 so long ago. Several new mechanics also work their way in, and that is where some may be a little bit hesitant to dive in.
Crash (or whoever you may be playing as) can now wear masks which gives him a special ability. One of the first is the ability to swap out platforms and objects in and out at the tap of a button, even while in mid-air. This basically adds a layer to the standard platforming, and is just in the game enough to make its inclusion feel important. That is basically what all of these masks and abilities do, which is offer required, yet still very fitting techniques to master a level, without really making the game feel weighed down by gimmick due to the limitations. What we get is a title that offers a ton of replay value through collectibles and completion efforts, with the extra masks offering new and more challenging twists on levels, even after one has cleared an area.
There already is a lot of content in the game, but the addition of collectible tapes which act as Flashbacks, time trials, and so on add immensely to the shelf life of the game, but even with everything, I still do wonder if it is enough to warrant the full price retail price-tag. Sure, Crash is no slouch to gamers and has proved his worth, but I feel that even with all its polish, Crash 4 just feels like it should have a slightly lesser price-tag for the game it is. Sure, it’s still wonderful, but there were times the constant parade of visual unlockables and eye candy made me feel that there was just a little more padding here to make it fit that larger price mark.
Visuals & Audio
Crash 4 looks awesome. Animations are fluid and look clean, and the character models probably look as good here as they ever did before. The stage designs are also nice, as are the transitions between the styles of platforming the player partake in on the fly. There is just something visually pleasing about a platformer that has this much color, with such clean visuals overall. Crash 4 may not be the Crash game to reinvent the series, but it definitely looks the part, with some fluid animations that never slow despite all of the chaos that can happen within the game.
The music is fine, and I enjoyed it. The voice acting and attention to detail that was put into the sound department is truly the star here. Stages have such a warm atmosphere due to the little effects that continuously chirp. From the crack of a crate to the screech of Crash or Coco, this well-meaning experience charms with its chipper audio and overall boisterous personality.
Crash 4: It’s About Time isn’t as much of a rebirth as it is a reminder. The Crash games were a lot of fun and many were able to get into platformers through this franchise alone. I mean, I knew a ton of kids who didn’t get Mario and this bandicoot was that kind of intro to them into that market. While I do not feel that Crash 4 does enough to knock your socks off, it is a solid and strong release that gives players exactly what they have been asking for. More. More of Crash. More of that classic style of platforming that only exists in this franchise, which should easily be looked as a new entry point for the namesake to continue on. Crash 4 is a great sequel that is sure to cement a legacy that still has a bright future ahead of it.