PLATFORM: PS4 (REVIEWED), XBOX ONE | RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Following the success of Crash’s remastered N-Sane Trilogy and Team Racing, everyone’s favourite bandicoot finally gets a proper sequel in It’s About Time. The story is unimportant (something about masks) but the gameplay and level design is classic Crash. That is to say, classic Crash with a modern twist. Crash and Coco now have access to four Quantum Masks, each with its own unique power set; phasing objects in and out of existence, slowing time, reversing gravity and creating dark vortexes.
In addition to its Quantum Masks, It’s About Time also introduces three newly-playable characters – Tawna (Crash’s one-time girlfriend), Dingodile and Neo Cortex himself. Popping up in their own bonus levels, these too have their own distinctive new gameplay styles and weaponry. It’s About Time is constantly reinventing itself and its own gameplay, never content to sit and rest on its laurels. Crucially though, it always feels like proper Crash Bandicoot; in its sense of humour, gorgeous, creative level design… and controller-crushing difficulty.
Although there’s nothing to infuriate in the same way as the first game’s “High Road” level, sections of gameplay will have players flinging controllers and abuse at their television sets. The 3D platforming adds an extra layer of difficulty to some of the jumps and hurdles. Leaping from teeny-tiny platform to teeny-tiny platform has never been more frustrating – especially given the unforgiving rate of fire and the inflexible camera. Thankfully, this is alleviated somewhat by the addition of an optional “Modern” gameplay mode – infinite lives per level, doing away with those pesky “Game Over” screens.
The first proper Crash sequel since 1998 (we don’t count The Wrath of Cortex, and neither does this game), It’s About Time finds the franchise in fine form. Exhilaratingly fun and frustrating in equal measure, it delivers the full Crash Bandicoot experience. It is, quite literally, about time.