Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time (PC) Review

By Athanasios 26.03.2021

Review for Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time on PC

Old-timers and old-school aficionados live in the perfect era, as many classics from the past keep coming back, either as simple ports on new systems, or as remaster and remakes. The Crash Bandicoot line of games got its very own "resurrection" after a long hiatus, with the more-than-decent N. Sane Trilogy, which send veterans and newcomers back to the past, with a neat, meaty package, whose success enabled the creation of the title at hand - but does Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time add anything new to the recipe, and does it manage to fix some of the series' flaws? After a thorough look at the Switch version, here's one more, this time for the PC.

Crash is back, thus it's time to run, jump, and spin on a variety of stages, destroy crates to gather juicy fruit, and avoid all sorts of baddies and traps in a series of levels that will test your skill, especially when you go back to them to try to gather all gems, or get a better completion time, something that is as addicting as it is crushingly challenging. In other words, it's the same thing all over, which - mostly - isn't a bad thing as Crash Bandicoot was always a series that that kept things simple, yet fun. That being said, some changes would definitely be more than welcome after 20. Freaking. Years! So, it's time to look at the brand new additions, and whether they are enough.

Say what? The plot? What about it? It's one more Crash Bandicoot entry, so expect the typical colourful team of bad guys doing their thing to become world emperors of something, with Crash going against them because… you know… reasons. Obviously, the story isn't the focus here, and few, apart from - very - young gamers will give a damn about the many cut-scenes on offer. The plot, which revolves around dimensional rifts, or whatever, is there just to provide an excuse for all the time traveling that will ensue. Thus, similarly to Warped, the third mainline title, Crash will get a chance to go to various periods, with their own unique theme, enemies, traps, and so on.

Screenshot for Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time on PC

Essentially a 3D-ish platformer that, bar a secret here or there, is completely linear, CB4's action is platformer 101, having players deal with enemies and traps, with timing being the main weapon here. For the most part this is the same exact experience as before, with almost nothing new to show off. After a few levels, however, some brand new mechanics make their entrance, starting with a mask that lets you phase platforms (and even crates) in and out of existence; a simple thing that can be quite challenging in certain spots, where Crash must jump from moving platform to moving platform, and at the same time handle whether there's something below his feet or not.

There are a few more things here, like a mask which turns Crash into a constantly spinning tornado that can break open locked crates, defeat enemies easier, and reach more distant platforms; there's also one that can slow-down time to avoid fast-moving enemies, or land on fast-moving platforms; and, finally, Crash can now do a neat, Prince of Persia-like (remember that?) wall-running move. Here's the thing, however. These aren't power-ups, but they are forced on Crash the moment he reached a certain spot in a level, so, cool as they might be, they don't necessarily alter the gameplay that much. At the end of the day, this is just another Crash Bandicoot game, and nothing more than that.

Screenshot for Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time on PC

Ok, so this doesn't reinvent the wheel. Is the wheel still fun to use, though? To put it simply: yes! To answer a bit less simply: yes… but not everyone will like it the same. Fans of the franchise will definitely enjoy their time here. This is a Crash Bandicoot game alright, and not a cheap imitation. It's pleasantly challenging, with the difficulty curve being a bit steeper, and yet there are no torture-a-thons like in the very first instalment (die, bridge level, die!), and as is customary, part of the fun is collecting gems by breaking all crates, gathering as many fruit as possible, and finding secrets, with gems unlocking additional skins for Crash and his sister Coco to wear - and there are many.

Finding all gems isn't the end. One can try out the Time Trial mode on each level to compete in the Leaderboards, or do it all in reverse (a mode than unlocks a bit late into the adventure). There are also some special challenge levels which are undoubtedly veteran-only material, and there are a bunch of stages that can only be played with Tawna. Crash's de-bimbo-fied friend, has left behind her cheerleading days, has become a badass punk/pirate (still extra curvy, though), and plays a bit differently, as her levels make use of her grappling hook and wall-jumps - too bad, she isn't a character that can be used anywhere else, but its great she is there, as she breaks the tedium between the normal levels.

Screenshot for Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time on PC

In conclusion, Crash Bandicoot 4 is very entertaining, has a very high replay value, and, yes, it is definitely a looker; a beautiful, vibrantly coloured Disney cartoon… although the new, design of Crash lacks the 2000 spark (yep, such a phrase exist) of the original. Sadly, this is far from a perfect entry, as it has its fair share of flaws. Jumping can still feel a bit floaty at times, and trying to 100% the game can become insanely aggravating due to how the perspectives are actually even worse than before, increasing the challenge by tenfold, making Time Trials especially irritating, as its easy to ruin a perfect run by judging a distance wrongly, and exploding because a single polygon of your body touched a green box of death.

This isn't a small issue. Viewing angles are what make or break these platformers, and this probably has the worse ones yet in the franchise. The yellow circle beneath Crash's feet, which is much better than a shadow, helps a bit, but it won't do much in those situations where you need pinpoint accuracy and excellent timing. The levels themselves tend to be a bit longer than they used to, as well, raising the chances of getting annoyed by a particularly difficult spot. The good news? 'Modern' mode lets you play with infinite lives at no cost, making this playable for people who aren't that experienced with Crash Bandicoot, without that meaning that this is now a casual-friendly piece of cake, of course.

Screenshot for Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time on PC

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Crash Bandicoot hasn't changed much, and that's - mostly - a good thing. Some more substantial additions would be more than welcome, as the new things on offer feel underused here - like the mask abilities and the extra playable character, which can only be used in very specific spots and/or levels. The replay value is once again very high, first due to the many collectables, and, second, because of the "your skill is the limit" Time Trial mode. As expected, Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time remains as challenging as its older siblings. Mostly because this is…well, Crash Bandicoot, but sadly this also happens because of the much worse perspectives. Fixable by a patch? Hopefully, yes, as it lowers the fun factor quite a bit.

Developer

Toys for Bob

Publisher

Activision Blizzard

Genre

3D Platformer

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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