Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time

Developer: Toys For Bob
Publisher: Activision
Release Date: October 2, 2020
Platforms: Xbox, PS4 (review)

Crash is back, and I don’t think it’s a stretch to say this is his best game in the franchise. The First time I played a Crash Bandicoot game was at a friend’s house, back in the day. It was a strange mix of fun but frustrating. I had minimal experience with games up to that point. I spent most of my time playing NFL Gameday. But boy, my eyes were opened that day. Crash actually introduced me to the wide world of mascot platformers; from there, I discovered games like Spyro, Jak and Daxter, Sly Cooper, and even Mario. I had never played a Mario game until I saw Mario Sunshine at a Best Buy kiosk many years later. Who knows where I would be without Crash Bandicoot. And while some wouldn’t consider the old Crash games “Great,” you can absolutely say this one is. 

Toys for Bob, the game studio behind the Crash N Sane Trilogy, took everything they learned from that project and brought it to life in a modern-day rebirth for Crash. Platformer games have come a long way since the last actual Crash game, and keeping up with games like Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze, Celeste, and Mario Odyssey is a tough hurdle, but Toys For Bob comes pretty close to that high bar.

If you’ve played a Crash Bandicoot game before, then you know what you’re in for. Its the same run and break boxes set up, but everything here is a bit more streamlined. The quality of life improvements do not go unnoticed, especially with the N Sane Trilogy not far behind in our minds. The controls for the game also feel like the perfect balance of tight and floaty. You want enough wiggle room to land where you’re aiming but even enough lift to get you to that next ledge. While thats not to say I didn’t contemplate tossing my controller a few times for landing on the wrong green explosive box a few too many times. Still, the loading screens after death are so short, and the checkpoints are so forgiving that it’s easy to ignore the small issues I had early on in the game finding my footing. 

Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time' to add deviously difficult new mode

The addition to the classic Crash game play are the masks, and how they can change the way you maneuver each level. as each level progresses, each use of the mask becomes trickier and more mind-bending. for example one use of the masks is to essentially become the Tasmanian Devil and constantly spin enough to jump far away platforms or take out tougher enemies. As of writing this, I have yet to complete the game mostly because the game becomes much more challenging as you go along, which might seem like an obvious statement, but given the tone and humor throughout the game, you might assume it’s a game aimed at kids. 

The game’s look and style of each new world is another feather in this game’s cap. It is not content to just stick to classic Crash nostalgia. The game branches out into some really well designed and developed looking worlds. Off Beat being my favorite so far. It’s also the first world that I felt challenged by the platforming. But it looks so fun and inviting that I couldn’t help but push through. The contrast of bright city lights and night sky along with the parade and festivities. All while going on in the background, show just how much care was put into each level. 

The charm that made the original Crash games stand out back in the day is still there, and while video games have evolved over the years to tell great stories or be more bombastic. I can’t imagine a Crash sequel being any better than this, honestly. Unless you just want to create a whole new game in a whole new genre, but at that point, why bother calling it Crash? This game eats, sleeps, and breathes Classic Crash Bandicoot while also being a well-balanced modern game. So if you’re introducing someone to Crash, I’d probably start with this one and then show them the “N’sane” trilogy after that. 

Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time hands-on -- Time to get excited |  VentureBeat
Snow Globe Livin’

It is essential to know for new fans that you don’t need to gather everything on your first run through. the first few levels, I would agonize over every lost box or missed Wumpa fruit. Playing like that simply isn’t fun unless you’re trying to be a completionist, and in the later levels, it’s virtually impossible to get everything. It takes a while to get the hang of controls, and it takes even longer to master. Activision is usually derided, and rightly so, for there approach to consumers. Still, I’m a big fan of these nostalgic trips down videgame history and the love and care they obviously receive from these developers. Now they don’t do this out of the goodness of their hearts. No company does, but It just goes to show that this kind of market is available for video games. A platformer by a big publisher can still be excellent. And Toys For Bob should feel great about the addition they’ve made to the Crash franchise. 

Score 9/10

• More than Nostalgia.
• So Much Too Do And Collect
• Vibrant Worlds

• Ending is almost too difficult