Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time Review
Crash Bandicoot 4 continues Activision’s string of resurrecting old IP into something that feels both fresh and familiar. The game — developed by Spyro Reignited devs Toys for Bob — strikes the perfect chord between throwing back to the original trilogy and adding new bells and whistles to differentiate the experience.
In Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time, Crash and Coco are sent on an adventure to track down four masks before Dr. Cortex and fellow baddies can get their hands on them. The masks each have special traits: Slowing downtime; phasing objects in-and-out; turning Crash into a super-spinny tornado thing; and more.
The story is told in short, well-animated skits that are fine but mostly harmless. Dr. Cortex and friends have found a way to break out of their prison with the help of some time travel mumbo jumbo, which has created time rifts and scattered the masks all around. And it’s up to Crash to set things right by going through a variety of levels set in different times and places, such as a modern New Orleans-inspired world and a 1700s pirate-themed world, snowy levels, and more.
Levels are varied and reward both precise platforming and moderate exploration, as completing certain objectives will help unlock new skins for Crash and Coco. The game is stunning, with a level of detail that goes far beyond the original games or the N.Sane trilogy. Crash 4 is really the ultimate Crash Bandicoot game: It looks and plays the way I remember it as a kid and is really just a better game. It was created by fans who love the originals, for a modern audience.
On top of a great variety between levels, the game also offers multiple ways to replay levels, including the bonkers N.Verted mode, which flips levels and gives them different effects — such as making the world dark, or neon outlines, and more. Side levels let you play as Tawna, who has a fun spinning kick and grappling hook; Dingodile has a vacuum-sucking gun; Neo Cortex’s gun can change enemies into platforms. The side levels are built to take advantage of each character’s specific tools, and they also hook up with the original timeline.
Between the core, N.Verted, side character, and “secret tape” levels, there are dozens of unique levels to explore and master, as well as Time Trial modes. The levels build on each other and use the new mask mechanics in inventive and challenging ways. Crash Bandicoot 4 is a superb 3D platformer that should be played by anyone who likes the genre.
That doesn’t mean that Crash is perfect. There are a few annoyances here-and-there, mainly around landing in specific spots. It’s incredibly easy to over- or under-jump miss a platform at times. Loading times on the Xbox One X also leave a lot to be desired, with 30-second-plus loads into what are relatively short levels. With Series X just a month away, Crash 4 should really improve in the quality of life department.
Music is suitable for a Crash game, with a few highlights — I love the personality in the New Orleans/Bayou-timed levels.
I love that it’s 2020 and Crash Bandicoot is alive and relevant again in the gaming landscape. (Dad joke alert) It’s about time.
Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time was reviewed by GamesReviews contributor Seth Roy, with a code provided by Activision on the Xbox One X.