Crash can flip. He can spin. He can slide. He can crawl. He can even land flat on his face if you so desire. And, above all, he can amuse you for hours. Crash Bandicoot, a new game for ExEn phones, rocks my world. The gameplay is tight, the graphics are pretty, and the replay value is high. Every now and again, a game draws me in so deep that I'm forced to play it for a disgusting amount of time. This is one of those games.
Crash Bandicoot spans 18 levels over four distinct worlds, making it the longest game for ExEn. Despite its length, Crash Bandicoot is never a chore to play because its gameplay is just awesome. Most of the levels consist of collecting apples, Crash's food of choice, and jewels, two of which are to be found in each level. In addition, Crash must avoid obstacles, such as endless pits and the TNT crates that populate each level. TNT crates, like almost anything that violently explodes, can be used as a tool but can also be deadly. Often, Crash must jump onto TNT crates in order to reach higher areas of the levels, triggering the three-second explosion timer in the process. Sometimes Crash must purposely trigger the TNT crates in order to get past them. You also have to watch out for the "giant exclamation point" boxes. Hitting these boxes causes other boxes, which were previously only phantom outlines, to appear. Sometimes a TNT box must be used to trigger an exclamation point box.
Although there are numerous baddies throughout the levels, the main challenge for Crash is to collect goodies without accidentally falling into one of the endless pits or landing on spikes. In terms of falling into pits and being impaled, the game is totally unforgiving. You'd think that they might have been able to meet you halfway on the bottomless pits, but no such luck. There is no respawning or extra lives in Crash Bandicoot, making it, despite the cartoony graphics, more realistic than most first-person shooters. With so many goodies to collect, the challenge is to play a perfect game, not just to survive. Even after completing the game, you'll want to go back and find all the jewels and apples you missed in each level.
Crash's graphics are beautiful. The game's backgrounds are terrific, if a bit repetitive. Each of the four worlds has its own unique look to go with its unique gameplay features. For example, the second world, Aku, looks like an Aztec city replete with huge statues of deities, whereas the third world, Uka (Aku spelled backward for whatever reason), is mountainous, icy, and full of moving platforms.
Crash Bandicoot is a really rewarding experience. As Ferris Bueller said of his limited-edition 1969 Ferrari, "If you have the means, I highly suggest that you pick one up." Though somewhat dated at this point, it's certainly the best game available for ExEn and is a killer mobile title overall.