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    Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time review

    Need to know

    What is it? A return to Crash’s glory days (with a number to match).

    Expect to pay £35/$40

    Developer Toys For Bob

    Publisher Activision

    Reviewed on AMD Ryzen 7 1700X, Gigabyte RTX 2080 Super, 32Gb RAM

    Multiplayer? 2-player offline

    Link Official site (opens in new tab)

    Everyone’s favourite jorts champion has only recently become a PC gaming convert, but he hit the ground running and is looking better than ever. This is a gorgeous cartoon platformer that plays like something out of the genre’s golden age, but with some welcome quality of life improvements. 

    Jumping to Crash 4 from the N.Sane Trilogy works excellently, as it carries on directly from the third game, Warped. The return of the classic numbering and time travel shenanigans feel like a reflection of developer Toys For Bob’s mission statement: bring back classic Crash. Dimensions have been shattered, meaning that Crash and Coco—both play identically—need to run through quirky takes on real-life historical settings, all the while evoking the series’ glory days.

    It’s a great excuse to thrust our bandicoots into a diverse bunch of themed stages. You’ve got it all, from the classic beaches and jungles, to pirate ships, jazzy New Orleans swamps, and of course slippy ice flows (complete with the return of the rideable polar bear). Most of the time you’re running away from the camera on pretty linear paths—though as you’d expect it changes to a side-on camera sometimes, and you’ll have to run towards the screen for the odd chase sequence. There’s a new default option that gives you an easily readable shadow to make jumping extra clear, while another ditches lives in favour of tallying your deaths, which still feels penalising enough—and you’ll get rewards for deathless runs. 

    Crash visiting New Orleans

    (Image credit: Activision)

    It really doesn’t need the padding—there’s already a wealth of challenges to complete, including alternative N.Verted versions of every stage in the game. These add visual gimmicks, like one that only reveals the full outline of your surroundings via echolocation when you spin. On top of those, you have hidden Flashback challenge levels—bespoke crate busting marathons with a VHS filter, set before Crash escaped in the first game—time trials, hidden gems, and the devious task of destroying every crate (which feels a tad /too/ masochistic in most stages, even compared to the original trilogy).

    Sometimes it can be a bit too frustrating, much in the way the series has always been, but often those challenges are optional. You don’t have to smash every crate. You don’t have to make that tricky, gravity-defying leap just to snag those extra wumpa fruit. You don’t have to shave a few seconds off your best dash though a stage. But you want to, don’t you? Just because it’s there, and sometimes it just feels good to crash and burn.

    As seen on PCgamer

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