Let me just start this review by saying, I know that Crash is not considered an Indie game, but gosh! It’s one of my favorite titles of all time. You can’t blame me for giving my opinion about this cute little furball. Can you?
The long-awaited Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time finally arrived on consoles and … It’s about time! This title is presented by the Toys for Bob studio, which, among other titles, was responsible for the remaking of Spyro’s trilogy, Spyro Reignited.
This is a direct sequel to the adventure of Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped, released in 1998, and started right where this series left off. I still wonder why it was on stand by for so long. Crash Bandicoot is considered a kind of mascot for Playstation, although nowadays it has opened its horizons to other platforms. Which is tremendously welcome, so it leaves doors open for a much wider audience. In fact, and if we want to be a little more technical, this would be the eighth game in the Crash Bandicoot universe, but all portable spin-offs, as well as Wrath of Cortex, Twinsanity, and so on have been left out.
As previously mentioned, this title is set shortly after the completion of Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped, where the band of villains Dr. Neo Cortex, Uka-Uka and Professor N. Tropy managed to finally escape from the dimensional prison. The narrative is super fun and involves many time jumps in the history of Crash, both for the past and for the future. Sometimes it is a little exaggerated, but it is very intuitive and serves as a good excuse to change the environmental concept. These time jumps bring the possibility of playing with secondary characters, which in fact are equally fun to play, as they present different types of gameplay. For example, do you remember Tawna? Crash’s girlfriend who always appeared at the end of the “Bonus” levels? Well, in this version she appears as a playable character, a Pirate capable to use a grappling hook.
It is interesting how these timelines intertwine with the main story and super concentrated on Crash and Coco, although in most cases these side missions repeat elements from other so-called main levels.
Mechanically the design of the levels goes beyond the line between classic Crash and the mentalities of more modern level constructions. In addition to this, there are the characteristic “chase levels”, driving an overboard over the water and the cute polar bear!
As a novelty are the inclusion of new masks that have very interesting skills. Lani-Loli is the first mask to be found, on top of N. Sanity Peak. This mask has the ability to transform things in and out of reality, such as placing a platform that once appeared as a form of phantom platform. Akano Dark allows the player to perform a spin with the help of a black aura. Unlike Crash’s normal spin, a spin with this mask never ends and the possibility even to fly and reach greater distances. Kupuna Wa allows you to slow down the time for brief seconds, letting the character move in real time. Finally, we have Ika Ika the mask that allows you to change the center of gravity, up or down.
Although these mechanics are quite fun they can only be used at intervals of time and at levels programmed for that purpose, that is, there is little opportunity for the player to venture out and try other types of approach at the level itself.
The inclusion of two levels of difficulty is an interesting approach. So it is possible to please two types of players, the hardcore and those who just want to spend a good time in the company of Crash. In this regard, it is also easy to recommend the game to the little ones since their lives are unlimited. And yes, it is a game with a level of difficulty somewhat accentuated mainly in the more advanced levels.
There is a lot of content to unlock and get a lot of satisfaction from this process. From completing the level with less than 3 lives, collecting all gems and colored gems, to skins with characteristics from each world.
It should be noted that Crash 4 manages to raise the bar for “replayability” to a whole other level. It is possible to repeat the level but in reverse to collect rewards, such as “flashback tapes”. These flashback clubs are used in specific locations and can be played as a kind of bonus level, where the objective is to break all the boxes. I would even say that it is the right amount of balance and madness to try to unlock all the corners of a game that is painted all over with very precise jumping mechanics.
Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time is a fantastic platform game, with new mechanics that spice up your whole experience and that has a lot of secondary content that helps to fill the hours with immense fun. The very fluid animations and a breathtaking atmosphere, full of color and detail, help to create a whole comic atmosphere around so much jumping.
Now wish me luck and let me try to collect all the skins.