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Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time

Posted by GG Goblin On October - 14 - 2020

The title says it all.

 
While the Crash Bandicoot series may be firmly in the rear-view mirror for original developers Naughty Dog, the demand for a new game in the series insisted that someone else take up the mantle. There have been many a spin off, but a fourth main series game was demanded and so Toys For Bob, of Skylanders fame, stepped in and turned their hand at Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time. Cleverly making reference to the fact that it has been too long since a sequel, alongside referring to the games’ time twisting plot, Crash Bandicoot 4 offers a nostalgic slice of platforming joy alongside some more modern ideas and a nice selection of twists to keep players guessing.

 


 
Those looking for the nostalgic hit will immediately want to know how difficult Crash Bandicoot 4 is, and they will likely be pleased to know that the game is quite brutal. While the variety of different gameplay sections will offer more or less difficulty for players, the core platforming gameplay with Crash or Coco, who can be switched between, is just as tricky as players will remember. There is a need for precise platforming in the game that makes a mockery of the floaty jumping of the main characters, and progression will come down to playing sections over and over again until it is done just right. This is something that always used to be the way with platforming games, and it was frustrating yet enjoyable. Tricky games now lean more towards the just frustrating and lead to players throwing controllers across the room and never returning. With Crash Bandicoot 4, the game gives players just enough to make them realise that they can complete a difficult sections with enough attempts, and so they don’t mind repeating things over and again.

 
Checkpoints are available through levels, meaning that the player will not have to go all the way back to the start when they fail. That is depending on whether they chose the classic or modern difficulty. While modern will allow the player to restart from checkpoints as much as they wish, the classic mode only gives the player a certain number of attempts before they are sent back to the start of the level. Not for those with a delicate constitution.

 


 
This will all tick the box for those looking for the nostalgic hit. The level design is nice and varied, jumping from one setting to the next in keeping with the time twisting plot, and everything looks so bright and colourful, with a slick presentation that proves that nostalgia or not, this game deserves to be on today’s consoles. The slightly floaty jumping and the wild spinning attacks do exactly what the fans would expect. However, t in these modern times there needs to be more than just retro gameplay to keep players interested.

 
And Crash Bandicoot 4 has it in abundance. Perspective changes will present the player with new challenges as they progress through the game, as will more dedicated sections, such as rail sliding. But the game goes further than that by offering Crash and Coco whole new abilities through a collection of special masks that the player will gradually unlock. Each mask offers a new ability that will be essential in the upcoming areas, and as more masks are collected, combining the abilities will be essential. One mask will give the character a longer but less easy to control jump, and also the chance to break reinforced crates. Another will slow down time for particularly tricky platforming sections. Phasing objects in and out of existence is the third ability that will lead to many a frantic jump, and then there is switching gravity, allowing our heroes to run on the ceiling for some more mind-bending times.

 


 
As if this were not enough to keep the gameplay fresh and interesting, there are even the occasional section where the player will have to control completely different characters with their own abilities. Tawna comes with a grapple hook that allows for further traversal between platforms, but otherwise controls more or less that same as Crash. The other two characters, N. Cortex and Dingodile are much less manoeuvrable and will take some getting used to, but each come with their own gimmick. Dingodile has a vacuum gun, while Cortex is able to turn enemies into platforms. As with all of these extra additions, some will hit with some players more than others, but it is all about the variety and Crash Bandicoot 4 never gets old.

 
The game won’t end for a while either. The main game can probably be completed in under ten hours, depending on how much hair-pulling and rage-quitting goes on, but that will not be where the fun stops. Collectibles and optional objectives are always going to pull players back for more, but finding Flashback Tapes will lead to playable Flashback levels that are a bundle of fun, but simply finding the tapes will be a test for many players. Then there are the N. Verted levels to play, which mix up previous levels with new visual filters or adjustments to the layout. In all, finishing the main game will still leave ample content to keep Crash fans happy for a long time to come.

 


 
Crash Bandicoot 4 is the 3D platformer that Crash fans have been waiting for. More than that though, it is also a great game in its own right and should appeal to anyone who enjoys a tricky platformer. The developers have taken what made the original Crash games great and added their own flavour, and the result is platforming gold. The difficulty may put off some players, but anyone with a passing interest in platformers should pick up Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time because, well, it is about time.

 

 ★★★★★★★★★☆ 



 

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