Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time is a platforming game developed by Toys for Bob and released in 2020. It is a sequel to the original Crash Bandicoot trilogy developed by Naughty Dog and released for the original PlayStation during 1996-1998. As a fan of the series, I instantly wanted to play a new title in the series, as it was promoted as a return to the originals.
Crash Bandicoot 4 consists of linear levels across various dimensions/settings including prehistoric- and futuristic dimensions. While the goal is to get to the end of each level, each level also has other things to do. For example, every level contains a specific number of wooden boxes to break. If every box is destroyed, a clear gem appears at the end. Clear gems can also be hidden in the levels, for example in hidden paths. These facts apply to the original trilogy. This similarity of levels is important for me as a fan of the series.
While the basic movement of playable characters Crash Bandicoot (literally a bandicoot) and his sister Coco (both play the same way) retains the elements from the original trilogy with a double jump, spin attack, slide attack, and body slam. There are small movement additions such as wall running and rope swinging that shift the gameplay, as the player must time the jump on ropes and jump on wall running walls to avoid falling into the hole and death.
Crash Bandicoot 4 introduces the Quantum Masks that grant Crash and Coco new powers at specific parts of a level. One of the masks, named Ika-Ika can flip the gravity upside down to allow walking on the roof. Other Quantum Masks powers include, for example slowing down the time to jump on the fast-moving platforms. These powers feel natural while playing as they are only one button click away. Each Quantum Mask also has its own personality which makes them interesting. For example, Ika-Ika has a split personality.
While the original trilogy focused on Crash and Coco, there are now more playable characters. One of these is Tawna, Crash’s girlfriend from the original trilogy, although now an adventurer from another dimension. While Tawna moveset also includes a double jump, body slam, and kick attack replacing spin attack, it also includes a grappling hook that can be used to stun and defeat enemies, break boxes out of reach, and cross large gaps. New playable characters make the Crash Bandicoot 4 feel fresh compared to the original trilogy. However, each new playable character only has a couple of story levels, others are optional. More story levels with new characters would have been interesting, as I did enjoy playing as them.
Crash Bandicoot 4 plays smoothly and is fun to play. I would recommend it for anyone interest in platforming games. The plot is not the main point and therefore, no previous Crash Bandicoot experience is required for enjoyment. It can however be challenging, particularly for those trying to achieve 100% completion.
Developer: Toys for Bob
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Release Date: 2.10.2020
Header Image: “Front Cover.” Contributed by リカルド・フィリペ. https://www.mobygames.com/game/crash-bandicoot-4-its-about-time/cover-art/gameCoverId,687229/
First Picture: Promotional pictures of the game from PlayStation Store https://store.playstation.com/en-us/product/UP0002-CUSA19035_00-CB4STANDARD00001
Second Picture: Screenshot from the game cutscene, taken by the author