The crazy bandicoot is back, and this is the true sequel that fans have been waiting for! Crash Bandicoot 4 It’s About Time is here and it takes up the story from where we left Crash at in Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped. The Doc is back again doing what he does best, trying to rough you up and get rid of you. However, this time around we must battle him through time and dimensions!
First things first, gameplay. The moment you jump into Crash 4, it’s like you never left and everything comes flooding back and before you know it, you are jumping, spinning and grabbing those juicy apples! The levels that are in Crash 4 are linear as you play, but they do change between side-scrolling, forward running and those fun run sections where you are being chased while avoiding all the hazards as you clear the area. In some of the levels you visit you will jump on a jet ski of type vehicle that has thrusters and you will need to jump and boost your way through the level while avoiding whirlpools and mines etc…
As you progress through the game you will come across ancient dimensional masks, or Quantum Masks as they are called. Each of these masks will imbued Crash with powers, like phasing through objects, slow down time, change gravity itself and the power of Dark Matter. These powers will help him finish a certain part of a level or fight a boss and my favourite Mask is Akano, which will give Crash the power to spin violently after a jump to hover in the air and glide from one platform to another. This spin can also be used to break Locked Crates and knock back certain coloured projectiles. It’s a really cool power to have and makes jumping more fun.
In Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time, we not only get to play as Crash and Coco, but we now get three extra characters to play with. You meet these new friends on your travels through the game. There is Tawna, she uses a grappling hook that lets her reach higher ground, smash apart boxes from a far and even stun enemies. Then we meet Dingodile, who has a not so very nice restaurant, and he has this cool vacuum gun. With this gun he can suck up boxes, TNT boxes and barrels and shoot them back at the enemy, plus he can also use this gun to jump across or I should say hover across larges jumps. The final character we get to use is none other than the legend himself, Dr. Neo Cortex! For those of you who have yet to reach this part of the game, I won’t spoil how this comes to be. Dr. Cortex can use an aerial dash and his weapon he has at his disposal lets you gel enemies.
Each of the new characters you can play as, have their own levels to partake in. Some of their levels can be left until later in the game, but there are some that are compulsory due to the story that is being told.
The first thing that stood out for me in Crash Bandicoot 4 was how the whole game design looked. From the levels to Crash himself, everything has been given a more cartoonish look. The game at times is vibrant and alive and this is more evident when you reach levels like the festival level. It’s here where you see the festival being celebrated by ghosts and skeletons, who can be seen around the level playing musical instruments and having a good time, either in the background or as the hindrance to Crash as you progress through the level. Jumping across the level trying to avoid ghosts playing music and skeletons popping out of jack in the boxes. There are coloured lights everywhere, music playing and giant parade balloons in the background! Sometimes, I would find myself getting distracted by what is happening around me, especially on the faster sections when you are sliding past on the rails. Everything in the level is just a crazy fun ride! During the level you will have Cannon Men that you jump inside, and they will shoot Crash towards the next section of the level.
In Crash Bandicoot 4, you get some amazing levels, and the crazy boss levels are just down right insane fun! You also get bonus levels on top of that, with the tried and tested bonus levels of collecting so many boxes and apples in them, but again there are a few extra too. There are videotapes that you can find which are recordings of Dr. Cortex experimenting with Crash that sees you playing out challenges and requires skill with Crash to finish them perfectly, some of which frustrated me quite a bit! Also, once a level has been completed you can do the level again in inverted mode. This is the same level but in a mirrored reality and everything, including the colours get muddled up. These inverted levels also have their own apples, gems, and skins that you can collect too. All in all, you get about 40 levels to play with, so there is a lot to keep you coming back for more.
Crash Bandicoot 4 also offers up a Classic Time mode which is where you need to complete a level while breaking boxes so that the clock stops, and you must do so without dying. There is also a Battle mode where 2-4 players can locally play. There are two modes here with Checkpoint Race and Crate Combo. The first has you and your competitors race each other to the end of a level, but there are numerous checkpoint boxes to smash along the way. The player who gets to the most checkpoints first wins overall. In Crate Combo each player is aiming to break as many crates in a level as possible. With each crate you destroy, you earn points to the value of the next crate, but the combo can reset if the meter runs dry. So, keep that combo going!! These are nice modes to play with family and friends on the couch, but most will probably ignore it for the amazing main game.
Crash Bandicoot 4 is probably one of the best platformers I have played on the PS4 and is right up there with Ori and the Will of the Wisps. The game offers up quite a lot for fans old and new and will have you keep coming back to it for ‘one more go’ There is a Classic mode that is on offer for the main part of the game is aimed at the hardcore fans and you have 3 lives. Once all your lives have been used up, you will need to restart the level again. In Modern mode, which is more my level of skill, you get no lives, and you are given a death counter which shows how many times you have died. If you die too many times, you will get a free mask to help you move further in the level. It’s a nice and welcomed edition that will cater for all levels of skill and will get more to try the game too.
The team over at Toys for Bob have done an amazing job with Crash Bandicoot 4 and is definitely one of the best games in the franchise so far. The beautiful character models and clever and vibrant level designs with a mischievous score, and you almost get the perfect game! However, there are times when the jumping in the game is a bit of a let down and it’s here that stops it from being that tip of perfection.
GoG Rating: 9/10