Following from the success of Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy, developer Toys For Bob have come up with a new sequel to the series that encompasses what we love about the original trilogy, adds in some fresh new elements that blend seamlessly with the classic material without feeling like a cheap cash grab. The new levels and ideas this game brings expand on the source material delivering a game that noone expected would be this good.
The premise is very familiar. Crash is relaxing on N.Sanity Beach when Dr Cortex and Dr N.Tropy use the power of the Uka Uka mask accidentally rip a hole between dimensions and start taking over. This time you travel through dimensions and across time collecting different masks that grant you a whole host of powers to get through each level and defeat the Doctors and their evil creations.
Crash isn’t alone, Coco is along for the ride, you can also play as Tawna who has her own side levels from the main story (not essential to finish the game) do offer a variety of side levels and using Tawna’s hook shot, you can access other parts of the levels that Crash and Coco cannot reach. Additionally Dingodile and his terrible Aussie bogan accent is playable, again there is a great mix up of gameplay in this mode and his weapon that rips through levels is a lot of fun.
While the platforming is largely the same from the original games. it is as frustrating and difficult to control as the original trilogy. The 3D platforms can be easy to misjudge a jump, a spin or double jump and a massive change in the way your lives are allocated makes the game almost feel like you are cheating. In the original games you get an allotment of lives (generally 3 at the start of each world) and then by collecting apples (100) you gain an extra life. In this game, the counter just shows how many lives you lose, so you can die as much as you want (I got up to 26 deaths in one level!) and you won’t get that horrid game over and then have to start the whole thing from scratch.
Crash is still the most fun character to play and utilising the different masks that you collect in each level allow you to do different moves that will help complete the level. One mask lets you phase items in and out of existence, this was definitely the stand out. Being able to avoid things like TNT and Nitro boxes, Some of the most fun I had was speed running through a level, pulling platforms in and out of the world with the mask. Once you get a rhythm going it really is a lot of fun and this is where the replay-ability comes in. Aiming to get the gems in each level can be done via time trials and the more you know the level, the easier it is to beat.
Visually the game is on par with the N.Sane trilogy. The colours and character designs really pop in glorious HD. The world map is highly inspired from Crash Bandicoot and the way you navigate around by grinding a pink orb of light. In addition to the platform levels, Tawna’s story levels and boss battles, you can also access rewind tapes that are designed for you to collect each box. These are definitely the biggest challenge of the game and can take a lot of time to complete.
Developer Toys for Bob have done what we imagined impossible, delivering a new Crash Bandicoot game in 2020 that both honours the original and also manages to help push the franchise forward, bringing Crash and co. back into the gaming spotlight where they deserve to be. While platforms are definitely not for everyone and there could have been a little bit more spit and polish on the gameplay side of things, it isn’t a huge detractor for fans of the original games, who will, like myself, love this game and rejoice that Crash is officially back.
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