Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time Review
Help Crash and Coco save the dimensions in this platformer.
Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time is the latest game in the popular Crash Bandicoot series, which began with the original Crash Bandicoot on PlayStation in 1996.
It’s About Time is now available on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, and we had a chance to check out the PlayStation 4 version of the game.
What is Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time about?
In Crash Bandicoot 4, villains from previous games in the series, such as Dr. Neo Cortex and Dr. N. Tropy, have teamed up on a quest to take over every dimension in existence. Players will need to help Crash, Coco (Crash’s sister), and their friends defeat these villains once again in order to save space and time.
What do you do in this game?
Like previous games in the franchise, It’s About Time is a platforming game that challenges you to use quick reflexes and fast button presses to jump on and over platforms, jump across gaps in the path, avoid a wide variety of obstacles, and defeat or avoid enemies. Levels are also full of collectible wumpa fruit, breakable crates (that usually contain more fruit), TNT boxes that explode a few seconds after you touch them, and nitro boxes that you must avoid.
New to Crash Bandicoot 4 are a set of Quantum Masks that give you special abilities when they show up in stages. For instance, one allows you to shift items, platforms, and more in and out of the current dimension with the press of a button, while another allows you to quickly spin in a circle and cross very large gaps in a single or double jump.
The game is level-based, and you can collect up to six gems on most levels by completing specific tasks: gathering 40, 60, and 80 percent of the available wumpa fruit, breaking all of the crates, finishing the stage without dying more than three times, and finding the hidden gem somewhere in the stage.
In addition to regular story levels, the game also contains boss battle levels, time trials, side-story levels (including some that let you play as another character), and more, giving you plenty of content to explore.
You’re not required to earn all six gems in each level to progress through the game, but earning every gem on a stage will reward you with a new skin (costume) for Crash or Coco (you can swap between these two playable characters on the level select screen).
Crash Bandicoot 4 is a really challenging game even if you’re not going after all of the gems, and you’ll likely need to replay stages if you decide to collect them all. If you’re looking for a more relaxed gameplay experience, or you’re interested in picking this up for a less experienced player, keep this in mind.
Does this mean the game is too hard for young kids?
Crash Bandicoot 4 is rated E10+ for Everyone 10+ by the ESRB, meaning it’s deemed inappropriate for players under 10 years old. While the game is still family-friendly, it’s likely many players will have a hard time making their way through all of the levels without getting stuck (at least temporarily) on some of the trickier platforming sections, and they’ll likely have even more difficulty if they decide to collect every available gem in the game.
Thankfully, you can activate checkpoints as you play, and you’ll return to your most recent checkpoint when you die. This stops you from having to restart the current stage over from the beginning when you fall.
In addition, there are a couple of extra features here that may help stop the difficulty from being a deal-breaker. For one, when you jump, a yellow circle appears on the ground so you can track your position while in the air. This may not be important for normal, short jumps, but when you’re crossing large gaps, it’s very handy to know exactly where you are in relation to the ground below you.
Plus, you can switch between two different “Playstyle” settings at any time. The “Modern” setting allows players to always restart from the last checkpoint they reached when they die (regardless of how many times they’ve fallen), while the “Retro” setting gives players a limited number of lives. If they fail to complete a stage before running out of lives, they’ll need to restart the level from the beginning. Using the “Modern” setting means you can keep trying as many times as you need to in order to finish each level, which is helpful as levels become more difficult over time.
What’s the final verdict?
Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time is a difficult game, even for adults, and it’s easy to become frustrated to the point of wanting to take a break for a while.
Depending on each player's skill level and patience, this is an experience that can easily become more frustrating than fun, and the difficulty level may skew too high for some players to really enjoy the experience.
Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time is available for $59.99 on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The game is rated E10+ for Everyone 10+ by the ESRB.
Disclosure: Activision gave SuperParent a code for Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time for coverage purposes.