Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time
Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time is a platforming game developed by Toys for Bob (additional work by Beenox) and published by Activision, initially released for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. It is the 8th game in the main series and the 4th game canonically, taking place after the events of Crash Bandicoot: Warped.
After their defeat at the hands of Crash in Crash Bandicoot: Warped, Uka Uka, N.Tropy and Neo Cortex open a hole in the fabric of space and time that causes the multiverse to be shattered and opens the gates to many dimensions.
Why It Rocks
- Rather than continuing with Mind Over Mutant or starting from scratch, the game continues right after Warped, explaining how Dr. Neo Cortex and Dr. Nefarious Tropy escape from their dimensional prison.
- Challenging gameplay without feeling frustrating.
- You can play as Crash and Coco and you can switch between them anytime you want, even for bosses.
- Three new playable characters with their own levels.
- Tawna Bandicoot, with her hook shot that can hit enemies or far objects while also reaching far places.
- Dingodile, with his air cannon that can suck up any crate and throw TNT crates that you suck up, it also allows him to hover for a short time.
- Dr. Neo Cortex uses his ray gun to transform enemies into platforms/bouncers, and has a dash move. His levels are usually more puzzle based.
- The game manages to keep the core essence of Crash Bandicoot in tact with all five playable characters. Never is one level or one character too drastically different from what made the series so beloved.
- Creative bosses that are fun and require thinking.
- Beautiful graphics and visuals that makes it feel like a cartoon.
- The game is more story based and uses dimensional levels to advance the story. The Dimensional Map makes level progression more linear, thus advancing the plot more naturally.
- The characters themselves are all great. Never has a Crash game felt so lively and full of energy and charm with their animations, voice acting, and general personality.
- Hilarious moments in the game, such as a fourth wall gag in which Lani-Loli thought Crash and Coco had beaten Cortex more than 3 times.
- You can switch between Modern Mode and Retro Mode anytime; Modern Mode is where you play the game with unlimited lives, and Retro mode is where you play the game with limited lives like the old games.
- The game introduces the Quantum Masks that give Crash and Coco power ups and they're usually limited to make it more challenging.
- Lani-Loli is the mask of Phase, he makes certain objects appear while making other objects disappear.
- 'Akano is the mask of Dark Matter, he gives you the ability to spin endlessly while also float.
- Kupuna-Wa is the mask of Time, she gives you the ability to slow time, that way you can move on fast objects or even walk on nitro crates.
- Ika-Ika is the mask of Gravity, he switches gravity and makes you flip the direction of gravity as long as you're standing on the floor (or under a ceiling). You can also flip once in mid-air allowing for insane distances and shortcuts.
- Levels are longer now, but they don't outstay their welcome.
- Over 100 levels in the game, that's way more than the N. Sane Trilogy, which was 3 games.
- Some levels are extremely memorable, notably the level "Off Beat" which features colourful enemies, a toe tapping score, and a Mardi Gras aesthetic that 's not very common in games.
- Each level now has 6 gems in them: you get 3 for collecting 40%, 60%, and 80% of the level's Wumpa Fruit, 1 for breaking every crate, 1 for completing the level with fewer than 3 deaths, and 1 gem that's hidden in the level. The same rules apply the N.Verted variants of the levels, making it a total of 12 gems per level.
- Since Wumpa Fruit now reward you for collecting them, they will now gravitate towards the character when they are near, thus it is no longer possible to spin them away by accident.
- Multiple skins are unlockable in the game, including Classic Crash and Classic Coco and designs based on Crash's unreleased design Willy the Wombat.
- N. Verted levels, where you replay levels but mirrored and with a twist depending on the map (example: the pirate-themed levels are grey but every move you do adds colors). These also have their own gems in them, giving a reason to play them.
- Colored Gems are like in Crash Bandicoot 2, where they're well hidden and require some real thinking to find.
- Tons of references and Easter eggs to the old games, even the Titans games.
- Has a cute Easter egg to Skylanders and Spyro, as both had games developed by Toys for Bob.
- Flashback tapes, they are optional levels that are unlocked by collecting tapes without dying, and these are 2.5D levels that act as prequel to the original Crash Bandicoot. It also finally delves into the origins of Coco Bandicoot.
- The Jet Board from Crash 2 returns but now you can boost anytime you want.
- Amazing soundtrack with some of the tracks inspired by the Trilogy, making it feel that the game was actually made by Naughty Dog.
- Some levels have cool design references based on the old games, without feeling like a clone.
- The final boss is even a huge nod to the final boss in Wrath of Cortex.
- Crash and Coco can now run on walls, rail grind and swing on ropes and they're well handled despite their frequent inclusion in platform games.
- Three endings, the first requires you to defeat the final boss, the 2nd requires you to get 100% and the final requires you to reach 106%.
- Whenever you jump, your character will have a glowing circle to show you where you'll land. If you don't like this however, you can still turn it off in the Options menu.
- A cool multiplayer mode where you challenge others in amount of crates to break or time trial, can be played either coop or comp, and you need only one controller.
- Like the racing games in the series, time trials now have ghosts for you to help you in the game, and they can be turned on/off whenever you want.
- You can finally restart a level anytime instead of such feature being exclusive to time trials, like in older games.
- The game can be extremely hard sometimes, especially the Cortex Castle/Seeing Double level; the fact that the game has an achievement/trophy that needs you to get all platinum relics already shows.
- Even the crate gems are hard to get, since Toys for Bob decided to be really devious by hiding crates from view, which can be frustrating when you discover that you missed a crate or a few at the end of the level.
- Some of the more questionable design choices from old Crash games are back in full force, and are even worse here. Best example being the N.Sanely Perfect Relics; to get these, you must get the three Wumpa gems, and the crate gem without dying; this works like the gems in the original Crash Bandicoot on PS1 but harder since it is difficult to avoid death in later levels as it is. Fortunately you don't need to do this in N.Verted levels nor Flashback tapes.
- The secret in Toxic Tunnels has no checkpoints in it, which is a nightmare since in the other levels that have colored gem platforms, these acted as checkpoints after you ride them, but that doesn't happen here. The N.Sanely Perfect relic becomes perfectionist hell in this level.
- Most levels of Tawna, Dingodile and Cortex are split into 2 parts, first part you play as Tawna, Dingodile and Cortex, while the other part you play as Crash or Coco and the 2nd part is recycled from another level, which is disappointing and makes it shorter to play with the new characters.
- This also forces you to repeat certain hard moments in the game, such as the gauntlet in Cortex Castle
- Only 4 colored gems this time, which is disappointing since colored gems are fun to find this time.
- Some fans might be disappointed that some voice actors such as Debi Derryberry aren't in the game; the new voice actors are great, however.
- N. Brio's boss fight is basically recycling of his boss fight from Crash 1, while it has few differences however, such as utilizing 'Akano in Brio's monster form, but it's still the same.
- The Food Run's N. Verted style is water physics. Meaning you go significantly slower and there's a distorted water effect.
- This is at its worst in the Rush Hour stage, which is already the longest in the whole game. A long but good stage now becomes a low and tedious slog.
- The time trials were made needlessly complicated with the Triple Spin. A good idea on paper to spice up the formula, but a bit too cumbersome, especially with all the other things you need to avoid.
- The base version of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One run at an unstable, uncap framerate with the fps hovering around 30-45fps depending on location. The latter ran even worse, with the resolution being set at 900p. This is somewhat mitigated on PS4 Pro and Xbox One X as both versions run as close to 60fps as possible, although its not perfect and on larger levels, the framerate will drop below 60. Thankfully, the PS5 and Xbox Series X versions that were released on March 12, 2021, (also a free upgrade for players who purchased either version) run at native 4K Resolution and at a solid 60fps.
- 106% completion can be draining for many players. Unlike the previous games, you're not missing any critical information by not doing it, but going for it is the bulk of what the game has to offer, and because of how challenging it is with the hidden boxes, hidden gems, perfection relics, and time trials, it will be a stressful task.
Despite the criticism from some fans about the redesign, the game received positive reviews from critics and received critical acclaim from fans, with praise going for how the game was able to bring new elements to the series without changing much and also because it didn't recycle the old games' formulas like many past entries, it was also praised for the new gameplay, the masks feature, for bringing Dingodile in as a playable character and for continuing the series with Crash 3.
- It's best if you don't bother breaking crates for gems until you played all the levels at least once (and their N.Verted versions as well), that way you may understand the levels more.
- Dingodile's gun can suck up any crate, including nitro crates, so be careful.
- The new circular shadow in the game will help you a lot when you jump, especially when floating with Akano
- Do not bother with the relics until you beat the game at least once, as it will unlock a spin ability that will help you go faster
- Neo Cortex can transform enemies into platforms/bouncers, but he can also return them back to normal again, so use that in case you turned enemies into platforms/bouncers in the wrong position.
- Two of the four levels containing the coloured gems have subtle hints on how to obtain them, by way of carvings within the environments.
- If you find a hidden gem in a level, don't expect it to be in the same place in its N.Verted variant.
- The game has the title it's about time due to the game focuses on time travelling and because It is the first main game in the series since Crash: Mind over Mutant in 2008.
- The game was dedicated to the memory of Aku Aku's original voice actor, Mel Winkler, who passed away earlier in the same year.
- The reason why Vicarious Visions wasn't at the helm for this game is because they were working on Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1+2.
- Maurice LaMarche and Jess Harnell could not provide the voices of N. Brio and Crash respectively due to them working on the Animaniacs reboot. They are voiced by Roger Craig Smith and Scott Whyte instead.
- The game is called Crash Bandicoot 4 even though in Japan, Wrath Of Cortex was also known by that title.
- This is the first game in the series where the Japanese cover doesn't use the Japanese Crash design.
- It is the first game in the series since 1999's Crash Team Racing that Coco was not voiced by Debi Derryberry. She is now voiced by Eden Riegel, previously the voice of Jane Austen in Saints Row IV and Gat Out of Hell, and Sherry Birkin in Resident Evil 6 and Operation Raccoon City.
- The background music that plays during the Flashback Levels is the original soundtrack from the PS1 games, minus the third game. Could be seen as a saving throw for players who were disappointed that it wasn't in the N.Sane Trilogy.
- This is the first Crash game to include foul language, especially Dingodile's use of the word "bastards", among other mild swears. This is why the game carries a PEGI 12 rating in Europe.
- According to the opening cinematic, Cortex and N. Tropy have attempted to escape their prison 22 times, which also happens to be the number of years that have passed since Crash Bandicoot: Warped was released.
- The physical game comes with a Crash themed tote bag when bought on Amazon.
- Additional work by Beenox.