Sunday, October 04, 2020

"Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time" Review

Crash is back. Coming 22 years after the last numbered series entry, the spinning, double-jumping relic of a PlayStation mascot leaps into action as though the past couple gaming generations never happened.

A razzle-dazzle collect-a-thon in the tradition of PlayStation-era classics, "Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time" makes up for its lost decades with vigor and exuberance.

Building off the momentum of the 2017 "Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy," Developer Toys for Bob stays true to the original formula while introducing quality-of-life improvements, modern visuals and creative level design.

All the rail slides, improbable leaps, attacks and items to collect are back, along with a zany, time travel-centered story that has you selecting levels through a "Super Mario World"-style top-down view. 

While the silly cut scenes are skippable, there's no fluff in the playable content. Toys for Bob forged an impressive amount of creativity into the gameplay, twisting established formulas on their heads and delivering scores of thrilling set pieces.

The mainline game is the most significant draw, but not the end of the story. Controller-passing multiplayer is also here, in the form of time trials and crate smashing competitions that track scores for as many as four players. This is a platformer designed for speed runs, tricks and online streams. 

Far more than a tribute to the franchise's creaky past, "It's About Time" feels like a wholesale relaunch. They don't make 'em like this anymore, and it will be exciting to see what Toys for Bob does with its newfound momentum as Crash spins, jumps and slides into the future.

Publisher provided review code.

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