It was about time! Crash Bandicoot 4 is here and this is the first real sequel in the series after 22 years! Crash Bandicoot 3 already appeared in 1998. After this we have only seen spin-off games until the N. Sane Trilogy popped up.
The N. Sane Trilogy breathed new life into Crash Bandicoot. And Vicarious Visions and Activision managed very well to keep that old feeling. Now, in 2020 the fourth installment in the Crash Bandicoot series will be released. Crash Bandicoot 4 is not from Vicarious Visions, but this time from Toys For Bob. We know this studio from the Spyro – Reignited Trilogy. The studio is therefore not shy about exhibiting the purple mascot in this new Crash game. A nice nod to another timeless classic. Could we see a new Spyro game after this as a follow-up to the original trilogy? Let’s hope so!
Old and familiar?
Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time is released more than 22 years after the third part and from a completely different developer. Can you just manage to develop a sequel that takes the same energy as the original games? Surprisingly, the answer to this question is: Yes. The newly added elements feel natural, but offer just enough innovation to make it a sequel. A very good result, especially when you consider that most game series feel completely different when they change developers. Something that has happened with Crash Bandicoot in the past. Our favorite pouch seems to have found its ghost.
Niew in Crash Bandicoot!
The big addition to this Crash Bandicoot game are the new Quantum Masks. Each mask has a unique power that you must use to tackle the new dangers in this platformer. Crash and CoCo can both wear these masks, as soon as you put on a specific mask you have the powers that the mask brings.
With the help of Lani-Loli you can conjure objects out of and into existence. Objects are shown as a blue shadow. By activating the mask, the objects are conjured into the real world, while other objects are conjured out of the world. It is an interaction that requires you to conjure objects out and into existence on certain platform pieces while jumping.
With Akano you can keep turning around to break chests, among other things. While spinning you will also stay in the air longer, so you will need Akano to cover longer distances in the air. With Kupuna-Wa you slow down time so you can bring falling boulders to a near stop and jump over them. Ika-Ika can completely reverse gravity allowing you to walk on the ceiling to avoid hazards on the ground.
Don’t worry! Aku Aku is still there to provide Crash with extra lives and power-ups. The other masks with special powers cannot be found randomly. You will only find them if you really need them to play through a certain part of a level.
But where do the masks come from?
Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time takes place immediately after the events of Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped. Dr. Neo Cortex, N. Tropy and Uka Uka escape the time prison and tear a hole in everything that keeps time and space in place. This brings Crash and CoCo into contact with the powerful masks that can bend the laws of reality, but these are not the only helpers that the marsupials will desperately need.
Thanks to the crack in time and space, we encounter Tawna, among others. Luckily, she rushes into our reality just in time to save Crash and Coco. Where Crash and CoCo have exactly the same playing style, the new playable characters such as Tawna, Neo Cortex and Dingodile add new elements to the battle. Again, you don’t have a free choice about which character to play. This depends on the level. Tawna, for example, contains a wall jump and a grappling hook that she needs to move through the level. No other character has this ability. Neo Crotex can turn enemies into platforms with his gun, and Dingodile has a cannon that he can use to suck up boxes, suck up TNT barrels and shoot them away.
Something that Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time is above all not is monotonous. Thanks to the different characters and masks, no level is in any way the same as the previous one. In addition, there is also a new N. Verted mode for each level you have completed. In this version you play the same level, but with certain filters that affect the gameplay. For example, you have a level in black and white and everything is colored by breaking boxes.
More difficult, but not
With all these new elements mixed together, this part of the Crash Bandicoot series seems more difficult than the original games. And sometimes this is true. After the intro level, which is strongly based on the very first level from Crash Bandicoot, the pace is picked up quickly. To keep you from all the dangers, the game offers two ways to play the game. You can play in the classic way like the original trilogy, but also in the modern way.
The modern way means that you never really go game over. You don’t have a set number of lives, but always return to the last checkpoint. So you never have to start all over again. Although this is a very handy mode to play relaxed through the game, it takes away the old feeling a bit. There is no longer really the same urge to get it right first time, because I only have so many lives. The sense of danger is less, which was iconic to the trilogy. You can of course play the classic way, but why would you voluntarily make it more difficult for yourself?
In addition to the new play mode, a better shadow has been added to the game with a yellow circle around it. This allows you to see exactly where your character will land. Previously in the Crash games it was occasionally difficult to estimate where exactly you would end up because the perspectives change every time and are sometimes not very favorable for the platform.
Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time really feels like a natural sequel to the N. Sane Trilogy and the original trilogy that ended more than 20 years ago. Usually you would say that the quality of the games goes down after a trilogy because the creativity and possibilities are hard to find. This is absolutely not the case with Crash Bandicoot 4. Toys For Bob has made perhaps one of the best successors in a classic series that is renewed, but still feels nice and familiar.
After Crash Bandicoot also Spyro?
Played on Playstation 4 Pro