Platformers, one of the most popular genres of the past, are now a rare guest on modern consoles. No, this does not mean that their number has become completely insignificant, but the lack is still felt. They were replaced by endless runners and simple arcades, and quality games, where it would be interesting and difficult to overcome obstacles for a while, are rarely made. But after the success of the reissue of the Crash Bandicoot trilogy, no one had any doubts that the series would continue and be supplemented with new games. The question is, is Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time a worthy successor to the series?
Since Nintendo’s consoles have never been super popular in our region, for many players, Crash games have been and remain classics of the platformer genre. Yes, we all heard about Mario or Donkey Kong, but we played them mainly on Dendy (and other NES clones), while the gorgeous Crash was already released on the PlayStation, amazed with graphics and gave an experience that the old games could not offer … The reissue was greeted with restrained hope, and it did not disappoint – N. Sane Trilogy turned out to be a living classic, pleased with the same familiar gameplay in a new bright wrapper, and that would have been enough if this remake had happened 5 years earlier. But in the modern world, where many people have a PC and one or two consoles in their homes, and good games of various genres are released not once a month, but ten a week, Crash’s outdated gameplay had to compete with the developments of all recent years in the genre. And although there are still few real, pure-blooded platformers, there are enough of them to understand that time has not been kind to the classics.
Therefore, Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time is a game with familiar characters, but heavily redesigned so that we can talk not about blind copying, but about the qualitative development of the series. It is a direct sequel to the series after the events of Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped, released back in 1998, ignoring everything that happened in the series after that.
We witness how Neo Cortex and N. Tropi are freed from the prison of the past, breaking the space-time continuum. Sleeping masks come to life that allow this continuum to be manipulated, and Crash and his sister Coco become the last hope for salvation of the crumbling multiverse. The plot is presented in the form of a variety of bright, well-made and very funny videos, which separately would look good in the form of a large CG animation.
The developers promised that the adventure of the heroes would stretch for about 100 levels, and they did not deceive – there are 43 story missions in the game, 43 inverted variations of the same cards (N. Verted) and 21 flashback missions. The plot tasks delight you with high-quality direction, thoughtfulness and pleasant duration, when you have not yet had time to get tired of endless running through the level, but at the same time spent enough time in it to want to go further. The scenes and time of action change very often, and at the right moments the player is faced with mini-bosses or various events, such as a long chase with obstacles, due to which the limited number of gameplay mechanics of the game begins to become boring only somewhere in the middle of the story. Then, when you want to finish at least in order to find out how everything will end.
At each level, in addition to boxes, there are gems that give additional rewards – skins for characters. But they are located in hard-to-reach places and it will not be possible to open everything in 1 passage.
N. Verted levels reflect the world and add unique filters that completely change both the gameplay and the appearance of the locations. For example, they make the world black and white and add paint only when Crash is spinning around him. Because of what the picture looks like a gray building made of cubes, on which a can of bright paint was accidentally poured.
Flashback levels are decorated in the style of old movies and tell the background of some game events, and you need to collect video tapes on them, which will allow you to open special levels with challenges.
Despite the pleasant experience of the levels, the classic gameplay at some point becomes boring. The game has one very cool mechanic that makes 4 parts stand out from the background of their predecessors – masks that make it possible to switch parts of the level in time. You see platforms around the character that are in a different time, and when you press a button, some platforms disappear, while others appear in the specified places. But the further you go, the less variety you meet. And even the opportunity to play for such characters as Tavna (uses a hookshot to move around the level), Dingodil (a crocodile with a vacuum cannon) and Doctor Neo Cortex himself (he has a blaster, and he can also fly a short distance) does not fundamentally correct.
And the rest of the mechanics, plus or minus, repeat those that were already in N. Sane Trilogy. The heroes are controlled and felt a little differently, you need to get used to jumping and there is not enough balance, proven over the years, from previous games – but these are trifles to which you can close your eyes. However, it is not at all recommended to do this, because the game looks just amazing, giving that very feeling of a living cartoon, thanks to which both adults and children like to play.
After completing Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time, a very pleasant aftertaste remains. This is a good, kind and high-quality “time killer” that lacks madness and bold gameplay decisions, which more than redeems with bright characters, high-quality presentation and simple but addictive gameplay. A pleasant hit with a summer mood for those who miss high-quality platformers and want to escape from autumn outside the window.