The title says it all as it is about time that we had a new Crash Bandicoot game out there and not just another remake or remasters as Toys For Bob could have done. Instead, we got the fourth numbered one here for the PS4 and Xbox One to bring us all back into the franchise or introduce new gamers to it. Yes, we know there have been many in between now and then but this one actually has the number four with it. That is if it is worth your time and money to do so. That is why we are back here one more time with a new review and this time for Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time.
It looks like all of those bad guys are back up to bad things again and causing some issues in the universe. Not even just one universe or timeline but multiple here and it is up to Crash and crew to collect the masks and get things back in line. All while smashing boxes and collecting the various fruits and gems that are out in the world. Thankfully, there is going to be some help from all over and not just the two main characters we normally expect here.
For those that are not fully up on what Crash Bandicoot generally is, it is a platformer that focuses a bit more on the precision jumping and smashing along the way. It can be tricky to master, but that is generally part of the fun of the franchise. Sadly, this brings me to my first big gripe about the game as the controls are a bit floaty and loose while trying to require us to be completely accurate in so many cases or have to go back to the most recent checkpoint. It is not something that breaks Crash Bandicoot 4 here, but it is something that makes the frustration levels jump to an all-high very fast. Especially when failures come about due to this and not specifically our skill. Personal skill does factor in, but I found that not being the thing that made me want to throw my controller more than the inconsistent controls for the game.
Slightly building on this, it looks like there is nothing much in this Crash Bandicoot that helps us along the way to make this a non-issue. Even when new mechanics and skills are introduced here, they are only for very specific sections of a level or for a very specific character and nothing more. Thus forcing us to have the only way to try to master is to build muscle memory for yet another game to try to get those perfect runs on levels. Not impossible but that is where the true grind for Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time feels like it slides in. Sometimes to the point where it is better for the sanity to completely put down levels that are not required to progress than actually give them a try. I am looking at you Flashback Tapes…
While the controls might be a bit rough around the edges, the level layout and design in Crash Bandicoot 4 is something of a marvel to look at and try to move through. Almost to the point where you can forgive some of the faults as going through each of them, you can find new challenges or hidden things in the areas. I am not talking just different collectibles and items needed to finish the game, but other little nods and details that mostly get forgotten in other games out there. Things like hidden clues for other elements in the level to actually being able to play your own music in levels that offer up the platforming of Crash Bandicoot 4. It was these little things that helped distract and kept me engaged to fight through to see where things were going to lead.
Another great choice here for Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time was the inclusion of the various other characters from different timelines or allegiances out there. Most of the time they are in there for an ex Machina scene in the story but also with their own levels to play through. Some of which build into certain events that Crash and Coco experience but without much of an explanation mixed in. These levels offer up some explanation and alternate ways to play the core levels and it helps keep Crash Bandicoot 4 feeling a bit fresher each time. Even if some of them are a bit trickier due to the controller issues and lead us back down that sad issue yet again. Although I do have to say that Tawna and Dingodile give some of those character actions I wish would unlock for others as we get further in.
Lastly, and I was iffy on this one, there are multiple ways to play Crash Bandicoot 4 with different variations that can offer up a bit more fun. Things like having an inverted mode and classic mode in there offer up a different way to try to experience the levels. Sometimes this makes them easier, in my experience, and sometimes almost unplayable. Almost. It adds a new challenge to keep us coming back and that is just something that may games out there just do not do very often anymore. It was a nice and refreshing thing to see and give a go after each new variation opened up on Crash Bandicoot 4. Just writing about them makes me want to dive back in and try to get more boxes and gems to get to the coveted 100% completion of the game.
There is no doubt that Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time has some issues and things that can drive gamers mad as they play the game. Sometimes it is just our skill, but sometimes it is just how the game is and could be fixed with a few new updates out there. Going into the game knowing that, you should be fully ready to try to complete all of the levels and story along the way. Even if you will be wishing to play more of the side characters every now and then instead of Crash and Coco. This would not be a full Crash Bandicoot title if you could do that but it would be nice. Nonetheless, it is a solid entry into the franchise and fully worth the time and money to go all-in for the game. It will keep you coming back to try to do better but just be sure to know you might throw a controller now and then.
I give Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time 17 Hidden Gems on the Hidden Gem scale.
Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time — Launch Trailer
Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time was remastered by Toys For Bob and published by Activision for the PS4 and Xbox One on October 2nd, 2020. A PS4 copy of the game was provided by the publisher for reviewing purposes.