In a world where things seem to go wrong on a regular basis, it’s nice to know that we can revisit the past every once in a while! Yep, time travel is great. It’s great until it turns out that you’ve somehow become your own grandfather, anyway. Try and avoid that. Focus, perhaps, on time travel-themed video games instead. The last in that long-running lineage is Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time, which refers to both the fact that this is a Crash Bandicoot game about time travel and that it’s about time we got a new Crash game. Since, y’know, we’re not going to talk about any of the mutant-themed Crash games. How’s this new one, though?
All of Crash’s nemeses are defeated and life is good! Now our bandicoot hero can spend his time chilling out, enjoying Wumpa fruits and breaking boxes…right? Wrong! Of course everyone’s back – Cortex, N. Tropy, all of ’em, they’ve all come back back from the space between dimensions and they’re out for revenge against Crash and co. Their plan to get that revenge revolves around opening time tears and destroying the multiverse. It’s up to the bandicoots and their bandipals to find the Quantum Masks and save the day.
At its heart, Crash 4 looks, plays and feels like a classic Crash platformer. You can typically choose between playing as Crash or Coco, both of whom can jump and spin like they always have. Crash 4’s physics and overall gameplay are reminiscent of the older games and it’s clear that there was plenty of attention paid to ensure that this feels like a modern but authentic take on the series…and equally clear that we’re just not going to talk about games like Crash of the Titans. That’s probably for the best, really.
So there’s no mutant-jacking or anything of that nature in this game. As you progress, though, you’ll find that more advanced abilities unlock. Crash and Coco are eventually able to float around, slow time and such, expanding their repertoire while also allowing the developers to craft more interesting level designs. You’re also able to control Dingodile, Cortex and other characters, each of whom have their own unique set of abilities designed to deal with varied challenges comprised from levels that you’ve already experienced as the bandicoots.
Along with this, you’ve got alternate stages, secrets to dig up and so on. Collecting all of the boxes in each stage is just one of many bonus objectives to dig up. There’s plenty to do in Crash 4, meaning there’s a dense chunk of content beyond what you might expect from the earlier stages of the game. You can expect to spend about 20 hours bandicooting away if you don’t immediately rush through.
Crash 4 looks about as great as it plays, too. This is the kind of experience that we’d hoped to have back in the day – it’s Crash taken to the next level. I was pretty enamored with 2017’s Crash remasters from a visual and gameplay perspective and Crash 4 doesn’t slack by comparison at all. Characters animate expressively, settings are unique and interesting and, all in all, it’s as much a joy to look at as it is to play. Oh, and it’s got local multiplayer based around passing the controller, as well as a battle mode, so grab your little brother or sister and start hunting for those boxes.
It’s hard to say much else about an excellent platformer like this. In an era where everything seems to be all about remakes and remasters, it’s nice to see a classic franchise continued in such a faithful way. There’s a lot of ways this game could have gone poorly. It could have controlled like some other franchise, it could have introduced weird RPG elements, it could have done any number of questionable things…but it didn’t. If you grew up with Crash – or even if you didn’t – you’re going to have a great time exploring time and space in Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time.