Here are some First Impressions to the gameplay demo for Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time. And to those who are interested in our exclusive interview with Paul Yan, the co-head of Toys for Bob about Crash Bandicoot 4 you can check it out here.
A brief summary about the game so far is that the events of Crash Bandicoot: It’s About Time comes after the third installment of the series Crash Bandicoot: Warped. Dr. Neo Cortex , N.Tropy and Uka-Uka were last seen stranded in an inter-dimensional void.
And after countless failed attempts, the trio had successfully made their escape, but at the cost of ripping an Evil-Scientist-sized hole in the fabric of space-time. The only ones that can stop them from total dominion over the multiverse are of course the two lovable marsupials from N. Sanity Island and the friends they make along the way.
Crash and Coco are back as they spin, jump and wump on conflicts of cosmic proportions. Watch as they discover unexpected allies, fight against enemies that are larger-than-life and gain powerful new abilities with the help of Quantum Masks that are necessary to be united to restore order and balance to the multiverse.
The whole game’s visuals look really refreshing with this new artstyle. I love how they went for a more painterly look rather than the classic semi-realistic fur and water of the N.Sane trilogy. Which in my opinion makes the game look a lot better. And the sound direction from the background music to the sound effects such as the crate-breaking sounds the game has, gives a pretty feels-good vibe throughout the whole time I was playing the demo.
The gameplay demo offers different levels, each of them located around the mid-way point of the overall game. Play as Crash in two levels which are: Snow Way Out and Dino Dash. The demo also offers players to play as Dr. Neo Cortex in an alternate view for the level Snow Way Out.
Demo level 1 – Snow Way Out
In the level Snow Way Out, our marsupial friends find themselves in The 11th Dimension of the year 1954. The level overall looks absolutely breathtaking, and that’s not because of the freezing temperatures! The characters from our lovable marsupial protagonist to all the zombie fishermen enemies trying to stop you dead on your tracks in this map just oozes personality.
The map design just looks super clean. From the details to the color design palettes. In this snowy mountains, the player has to ascend to Dr. Neo Cortex’s lab while they face off against zombie fishermen and to put a stop on whatever evil plan the Dr. has in store this time. The controls are also really smooth and responsive which offers an overall enjoyable gameplay experience.
This level introduces one of the quantum mask that will help you out – Kupuna-Wa.
Kupuna-Wa allows the players to slow down time to overcome some of the time-based obstacles that are scattered throughout the map such as timed Crates, fast moving platforms, enemies and exploding Nitro Crates. Speaking of the Nitro Crates, those got a slick new redesign which makes them have a minimalist touch. This time-slowing mechanic brings a fresh new gameplay experience that was certainly a change of pace. It is definitely a welcomed addition! From the time-stopping elements that the Quantum Mask Kapuna-Wa provides, as well as the time-based platformer obstacles, to the hidden areas filled with additional wumpa fruits is just so passionately made that players such as myself, would definitely love along the way.
Along the way, Crash will have to avoid an exploding ship in their path (check out the Cortex’s timeline to see the events that lead to this scenario!). In this level, players can also opt to enter the optional Bonus Path for some extra challenges, as well as clocking in some additional game time (especially if you’re a completionist).
Demo level 2 – Snow Way Out Dr. Neo Cortex alternate view
Another level that this demo offers is the alternative view of Snow Way Out where you get to play as Dr. Neo Cortex and his completely different playstyle that he offers to the table!
In this alternative view of the level Snow Way Out, Neo Cortex will be emerged as a playable character which is certainly a new experience for players since this is the first time that we could play as the antagonist of the game.
Play as Cortex in the level with his own set of skills. Players can utilize Cortex’s mid-air dash and transform enemies into solid and/or bouncing platforms to overcome the obstacles. Speaking more to Cortex’s abilities, it was definitely refreshing to experience from the playstyle that Crash has. His ability to transmute living objects into platforms for his advantage, was at first surprising to see. But it really fits in with his evil scientist and scheming personality which is a nice touch overall.
The dialogue that Cortex says when you play as him was super fun to watch and really immerses the player into his shoes…. or boots? Will you be able to put a stop to Crash and his meddlesome ways? Probably not.
After reaching to the point where the timeline converge, players then take back control and finish the level as Crash. The game will then introduce all the new types of crates and updated crate placements (or boxes if you go by the first game) that provide a fresh new challenge.
The final level that the demo offers is the level called Dino Dash.
Demo level 3 – Dino Dash
On the hunt for the next Quantum Mask, Crash and Coco dash their way to the Eggipus Dimension of the 88 Million B.C.B. In this level, Crash and Coco must navigate their way through vicious flora and fauna as well as look out for the T.Rex chasing them down before they can progress to the next stage. But of course, you don’t have to do it alone!
Meet Lani-loli, the other new Quantum Mask that helps you along this level.
With the help of your new met buddy, the player is able to phase objects in and out of existence. By using this power on crates and hazards along the path, rail grind your way through this perilous level filled with pre-historic vines, dinosaurs and molten lava.
More into the rail grinding mechanic, it was really enjoyable to do so since while you do it, you get to take in all the beautiful scenery as it fully immerses the players into this primeval timeline! And to whoever’s idea to add in the section of having to slide in between the obstacles with moving platforms or that you’ll drop and fall into lava, do you like to see us suffer? But it’s probably just that I’m way too much of a beginner to time that section right. Either way, that part was the most fun and challenging part in my opinion!
The parts where the T-rex chases you while you maneuver your way through the level whilst saving your own fur, gives the level thrilling and nail-biting moments.
And once again, players (or completionists) are able to go through the optional bonus path for additional content.
Modern Mode & Retro Mode
Two different game modes are also introduced in Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time, for players to suit their individual playing needs. Players can opt for either Modern Mode or Retro Mode when they start a new game.
A main difference between Modern and Retro mode is that while in Modern mode, the stakes are lower because players can just continue from the last checkpoint. Whilst fans of the N.Sane trilogy might prefer this more because it sticks true to the old formula of having limited lives and can gain more by collecting Wumpa fruits.
Casual players (such as myself) might prefer Modern mode over the Retro mode because in Retro mode, once you run out of lives, it’s game over for you and you either have to choose to restart the entire level or to return back to the main menu.
Another difference between Modern and Retro mode is that in Modern mode, the Extra Lives Crate will be replaced with Golden Wumpa Crates which gives out a larger amount of Wumpa fruits than the regular crates. Players will also notice that the life counter has be replaced with a death counter which keeps track of the amount of times you have died in a single level. A nifty feature that can be used to compare it with your friends to determine who has more skill!
As a First Impression overall, although it’s still a demo, the game has done an absolutely positive job of improving visuals and the gameplay mechanics. The buttons feels so responsive, the abilities that the new Quantum masks provide is just so well-made. The platformer section to me, offers both a challenging and engaging gameplay as some of the time it’s frustrating to play but in a good and exciting way! The demo so far feels really well polished although there are at some times where the loading time when the level set-ups can be a bit lengthy.
Veterans and new comers alike will definitely enjoy this new entry to the Crash Bandicoot franchise when it releases on October 2nd 2020!
More information of the game can be found here.