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Game review: Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time

07 Oct 2020

Crash Bandicoot has always been one of my favourite video game characters of all time. I remember the PSOne was the first video game console my family owned, and we played the Crash Bandicoot demo to death. 

A few years later, we acquired the first three games in the franchise and we loved them all. Sadly though, I didn’t play any other Crash Bandicoot games from the PS2 onward because original developer Naughty Dog left to make the Jak and Daxter games instead. 

It wasn’t until 2017 did my love for Crash Bandicoot come back. This was because the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy remake came out. The remake was perfect and I managed to get all the platinum trophies for the game. 

As great as Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy was, a part of me wished to play an all-new video game from the franchise. Well, I have now got my wish because 2020 sees the release of Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time available now for the PS4 and Xbox One consoles. 

This game is different from the aforementioned N. Sane Trilogy. This is because developer Toys for Bob has taken over adding a new game engine, and also including a different art style. 

Crash Bandicoot 4 looks more like a bright cartoon compared to the more realistic approach seen in the N. Sane Trilogy. Not to mention Crash Bandicoot and his sister Coco look different in this game too. It’s kind of weird this game has a different style even though it’s supposed to be a direct sequel to the original trilogy. 

That’s not to say I didn’t like the new graphics though. Crash Bandicoot 4 still looks like a very gorgeous game because both Crash and Coco will have to visit many diverse locations in lots of different time periods. 

Some of the new areas the duo will visit include the dinosaur era, a futuristic city and even a pirate ship just to make a few. While there are many levels to complete, there are also some challenging boss stages that you will have to play through as well!

In terms of gameplay, Crash and Coco have the same jumping and spinning abilities as before. The game is fast and responsive, so you don’t have to worry about the jumping physics being too floaty. The only abilities that aren’t in this game are the sprint button, and there’s no bazooka here either. 

Toys for Bob also added some features to the game to make it less frustrating. One helpful feature in this game is a yellow circle underneath the characters. This yellow circle now highlights where the character will land giving you better judgment while traversing levels. 

Another helpful tool that’s new to this game is unlimited lives. Thanks to this game’s increased difficulty, you have unlimited lives. You can change this option to have limited lives, although this is only recommended for expert players only. 

Boss fights are also very hard, but there are now checkpoints during these encounters. Checkpoints during bosses didn’t exist in the original trilogy, so it’s nice they’ve been added here. You will need lots of checkpoints to defeat bosses because you will die a lot in this game!

Aside from Crash and Coco’s own abilities, the newest additions to the game are four new masks. These new masks have special powers that affect the layout of the levels. The mask named Lani-Loli phases objects in and out of the level. The second mask called Akano lets you spin and float in the air for a few seconds. 

The third mask called Kupuna-Wa allows you to slow down time which is really helpful. The last mask is Ika-Ika and he has the ability to shift gravity up or down. It takes a lot of skill and effort to master these skills, so you will have to practice a lot in order to get good.  

What I also like most about Crash Bandicoot 4 is the fact that Crash and Coco aren’t the only playable characters that are in the game. As you progress through their journey, some side missions get unlocked that lets you play as Tawna (from a different dimension), Dingodile and even Neo Cortex himself. 

Tawna is great at combat, and she also has a helpful grapple gun. Dingodile is slow, but he has a vacuum gun that makes him suck objects and shoot them out. Neo Cortex is also fun to play because he can turn enemies into useable platforms. 

Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time may also have the most content out of all of the Crash games I’ve played in the past. There are now six gems for you to collect in each level which gives this game a lot of replay value. One gem you have to earn by not dying in a level more than three times!

There are also retro levels to unlock, and an ‘N. Verted’ mode that mirrors each stage too. If you manage to get through all of that, you can also play the multiplayer modes from the main menu. One mode you have to be faster than your opponent, while the other mode you need to break more crates than the other player. 

As fun as this game is, the only negative thing I can say about it is it’s the difficulty. This is by far the most difficult Crash Bandicoot game I have ever played! I thought the first game was challenging, but it’s easy compared to this. 

Even though I managed to finish the main story, it might take me a very long time in order to get 100%. It will also be a tough mission to earn all of the trophies in this game too…

Despite the game’s increased difficulty level, Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time is still a very fun game to play. It is a worthy addition to the franchise, although you will need a lot of skills and patience in order to truly finish the entire game. 

Verdict: 8.5/10