Crash Bandicoot 4 Review Roundup: What Critics Think Of The 90s Icon's Return
Crash is back, and critics are happy to see him.
Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time has arrived on PS4 and Xbox One, and...well, it's about time. This direct sequel to 1998's Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped picked up right where the series left off, complete with a punishing difficulty and a lot of running into or out of the screen. Yes, the other games have been effectively erased from the canon via some clever story decisions.
This is actually, technically, the 8th Crash Bandicoot platformer, if we put aside the numerous handheld spin-off titles. Wrath of Cortex, Twinsanity, Crash of the Titans, and Mind Over Mutant are all being ignored here, with Crash Bandicoot 4 returning the series to its roots and following on directly from the classic PlayStation trilogy. It's what most fans likely wanted, anyway.
Reviews have been coming in, and by and large they're heralding Crash Bandicoot 4 as a sharp, fun return for the character and series, which was originally developed by Naughty Dog (Uncharted, The Last of Us). While some reviews have skewed more negatively than others, the game is sitting on an 86 on GameSpot sister site Metacritic from 32 reviews. For 3D platformer fans, there aren't many more games you'll see score higher than that. Even Super Mario 3D All-Stars has a lower aggregate score.
The game, which features new competitive and co-op modes, is from developer Toys for Bob--which previously handed the excellent Switch port of Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy. Despite the switch in developers, critics seem united in believing it feels very close to the original games. Oddly, the game actually isn't on Switch. It's possible a port could be coming later.
Here are some of the reviews Crash Bandicoot 4 has received so far, including GameSpot's own.
GameSpot gave Crash Bandicoot 4 an 8/10 in its own review. "Even more so than playing the N.Sane Trilogy, which literally remade the original Crash games from my youth, playing Crash 4 felt like getting back in touch with the series," reviewer Mike Epstein wrote. "It's an injection of new ideas into now-classic gameplay that surprises and delights, even as it feels like a homecoming. Truly, games like this are why we come running back to long-dormant franchises with open arms."
- Game: Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time
- Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One
- Developer: Toys For Bob
- Release date: October 2
- Price: $60
GameSpot -- 8/10
"Even more so than playing the N.Sane Trilogy, which literally remade the original Crash games from my youth, playing Crash 4 felt like getting back in touch with the series. It's an injection of new ideas into now-classic gameplay that surprises and delights, even as it feels like a homecoming. Truly, games like this are why we come running back to long-dormant franchises with open arms." -- Mike Epstein [Full Review]
Destructoid -- 9/10
"Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time is a strong return for the series, and a showcase of what might have been if we got a true follow-up to Crash 3. I sincerely hope that Activision entrusts Toys for Bob (and Vicarious Visions) with the keys to the Crash kingdom from here on out. I wanna see more of the little guy." -- Chris Carter [Full Review]
Game Informer -- 8.5/10
"In many ways, Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time feels like a game that shouldn’t work. Single-player, mascot-driven, hardcore platformers are few and far between these days. Moreover, most franchises born in the mid-‘90s have had to continually reboot themselves to match the tastes of an ever-changing market. At its core, Crash 4 remains rooted to the old way of doing things, but that’s not a bad thing. The visuals are cleaner now and Crash has a few new gimmicks, but if you squint, Crash 4 looks like the same old platformer you’ve always loved." -- Ben Reeves [Full Review]
IGN -- 8/10
"Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time is both respectful of the series that came before it while also giving it the modern update it needed with new gameplay, depth of character, and a beautiful look. Toys for Bob just gets Crash. Its fresh new ideas, from big gameplay additions like new playable characters to supplementary but no less enjoyable aspects like the N. Verted mode to quality-of-life improvements like the shadow circle under Crash’s jumps, all now feel as natural to Crash as though they’d been there all along." -- Jonathon Dornbush [Full Review]
"The graphics, the art direction, the enemy design and the sound really can’t be faulted. It’s a shame, then, that some of the level design choices don’t really pair up with the engine Toys for Bob has built this love-letter to 90s platforming games in. Loose and floaty physics, an abundance of different mechanics that often feel part-baked, and some design choices that feel sadistic – rather than simply difficult – leave this approach to Crash Bandicoot feeling less like a true sequel, and more like a licensed spin-off." -- Dom Peppiatt [Full Review]
Polygon -- No Score
"It’s impossible not to at least respect the experiment of Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time. It’s a sequel that’s 20 years late, and to honor that idea, Toys for Bob seems to have made the best-looking HD PlayStation 1 platformer of all time, complete with all the frustrations that gaming has outgrown in the last two decades. Who knows — perhaps in one of the other dimensions that Crash travels to in the game, there’s a world where Crash Bandicoot gets a modernized update that brings the series into the present. But in our world, Crash 4 is stubbornly stuck in the past." -- Austen Goslin [Full Review]
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