Crash 4 is so incredibly satisfying to play and has wonderfully reinvented the platformer for a new generation.
With wall runs, time travel, and everything in-between, Toys For Bob have found a fantastic way to make this feel like a Crash Bandicoot game you grew up with and help it find a place in 2020.
The game expertly moves from the over the shoulder camera angle we recognise, but just as quickly plays with side on views, front-facing shots, and even cameras that pan outwards as you run to your destination.
It’s About Time is a true sequel in every sense of the word. It’s a continuation of Crash’s story, with characters getting new opportunities to shine, familiar locales re-appearing, all while making the experience feel special and new.
I already talked about the options to play as different characters – each with their own unique abilities – and also how the environments are always unafraid to throw up new challenges to keep you on your toes.
As I mentioned, the time travel mechanic doesn’t just work in terms of taking you back to a prehistoric era to confront Dinosaurs, you also work against one another as Crash and Cortex, and see some random, unexpected time hopping to link the story together.
But something I didn’t have a chance to try before was the game’s unique take on boss battles. The Crash games have had some creative efforts in the past, but nothing like you’ve seen here. One boss battle, in particular, has a distinct Guitar Hero feel to it as you fight against N Ginn in something of a mass concert. You have to dodge certain obstacles, while hitting enemies back at N Ginn on his massive set of drums.
It is, quite honestly, one of the best things I’ve seen in a game this year in terms of its creativity, its challenge, and epic production values. It’s not quite up there for me in terms of Rayman Legends Castle Rock – which, arguably, is the greatest level ever made in a platformer – but it shows you how far the Crash games have come and how much respect Toys for Bob have for this license.
It’s in the best possible hands, folks. You could not have asked for a better, more worthy sequel. And sure, there’s some problems. Most notably, the fact that this game is probably pushing my current gen consoles to its limits and needs to be a more next-gen experience. There’s some frame rate dips, my fan is going super wild, and the resolution could definitely benefit from being a bit sharper.
But I have had so much fun with this game. In true Crash fashion, I’ve also had some frustrations, too. It’s all part and parcel of the experience and this certainly does not let up for a challenge. If you want every crate, if you want to nail every side level, collectible, and see everything, you have got your work cut out for you.
But one thing became abundantly clear to me when I rocketed my way through Crash 4, I don’t want this to be the end. I want the Crash license to keep coming back for more and more. I want Toys for Bob to keep working on this franchise and taking it to heights it’s never even seen before. Because there is absolutely, 100% still a place for the Bandicoot in today’s market.
There’s a lot in here to keep you playing and like most enthusiasts of the series, you won’t be happy until you’ve unlocked everything. You might even say that the game is harsher than you remember – there’s an arguable point to be made there. But let’s just say, you won’t feel like the game has got any easier over time. Well, someone might.
My only other criticism is some levels do feel a little samey at times. At times, it can feel like you’re retracing some of your steps but with a different visual lick of paint – though most levels have their own flair of creativity.
The cold hard truth is that Crash Bandicoot 4 has been worth the wait. I’m a very happy, excited, and appeased fan, even though I’m already eager to see more. I just hope we don’t have to wait quite so long for a Crash 5.
It’s About Time is my favourite platformer of 2020 and it’s not even close. Mario, I do love you dearly, but Crash 4’s take on merging something old with something new is clearly all I want from the genre right now. Toys for Bob understand this franchise better than we ever could have hoped and it shows.
+ It nails everything you love (and hate) about Crash Bandicoot
+ Suitably fantastic level design
+ Stunning visuals
+ Tons of content
– Some levels feel a bit repetitive
– Some performance dips
Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time is now available on PC, PS4, and XO
Code kindly provided by Activision