Remember the Crash... THE CRASH OF THE TITAAAAAAANS!!!
Unlike the Legend of Spyro series, using the series to bring the icon back to its roots and create a deeper story, Crash has a simple story of "Neo Cortex is now attempting to take over the world using his next greatest plot". There's not much to boast in terms of plot for Crash of the Titans, but the characters keep the presentation from being boring. Neo Cortex, Nina, Aku-Aku, and the rest of the gang are all here with fitting voice actors and an amount of humor that gives the game a fitting personality.
The first thing you'll notice about Crash when you start the game is how much the game pushes the DS's graphical limits. The 3D world of Crash looks very good and the animations are very fluid and the stages are wide and detailed. The character models are also well detailed and some characters including Crash have some really cool new designs. The number of enemies also adds to the variety with and each one with its own voice actor and individual design. Wasn't a needed feature, but was a very good gesture on the part of the developers to prevent the game from feeling repetitive.
In terms of sound, the sound is fitting to say the least, but not really that memorable or noteworthy to add or subtract points. The music fits well with each scene and there is even a laugh track in cutscenes that give them that sitcom feel. The voice acting is also well done, Neo Cortex sounds like a stupid, but devious villain, Nina sounds like a teenager who wants to usurp her uncle, and Crash sounds like a wild thing who wants to get through all danger in his way to defeat the final boss, which is added to the feel because he only speaks in grunts and yelps.
So you might wonder, how does the game play? Is it like a watered down version of the console game itself? No, Crash of the Titans on the DS is a whole different experience in terms of gameplay, and can be great fun to play on the go. Controlling the DS game is as follows: You use the control pad to move around in 8 different directions, press the Y button to do a light attack, the X button does a heavy attack, the A button does jump and pressing it twice lets you do a double jump, B lets you interact with the environment, such as talking or activating something, and finally, the L button lets you dismount an enemy you've jacked (more on that later) and R lets you block enemy attacks. These are just the basic controls, and there are several advanced moves throughout the game, but you need to purchase some of them in order to be used. They include the usual ones Crash is famous for, the Board Smack (A then X), the Hover Spin (A then Y repeatedly), and the slide (A then hold R).
The controls might sound long on paper, but in practice, they come quite naturally. The game also makes sure to distinguish itself as a DS game by adding in many DS functionalities. You use the stylus to flick Aku-Aku across the screen to jack a paralyzed enemy (once you've attacked it enough, doesn't work for minor enemies though) and use it to your advantage with its abilities. There are six different stylus and touch screen features, the first being flicking with the stylus, spinning the crank by moving the stylus around in circles, blowing into the DS microphone, simply tapping the large button, rolling the giant enemy across the area like a ball, and finally using the slider to move from side to side.
The controls are simple, and the game itself allows players to use these functions to a satisfying degree. The level design consists of going from point A to point B while trying to meet certain goals. The main stages require you to find Tiki masks, get a certain amount of mojo, and finding one of the power crystals to gain access to the bosses. There are three points in the game where you get the chance to play as Nina Cortex and turn cute fluffy animals into evil mutants, which play much like Crash's stages, but with a ray gun that can be recharged by winding the crank.
There are also side quests that come in the form of rail grinding on Aku-Aku, sliding the Pandebra across the stage, rolling the Armydillo through the turnpikes, which you can play to get more mojo, and collect more masks, and just have fun playing. Collecting mojo allows Crash to purchase his abilities at Crash's sister in between the levels, and he can improve his attacks, his health, his defense, and other stats. You can also play a mini game called Pachinko with the mojo you earn, which you do by flicking the lever and getting the mojo to enter a slot amidst many pegs to unlock character art, concepts, items, etc., and try to earn back the mojo you used.
There are only two problems with the game, the first being that the camera is fixed to one angle and cannot be moved at all. When proceeding forward, there are no problems with the camera, but if you want to backtrack to a certain area, you'll have to avoid accidentally walking or jumping into pits. The only other complaint is that the game is fairly short, seeing that it only has a grand total of 21 levels that can be completed quickly by experienced players (3 Nina levels, 8 platforming levels, 8 side stages (Really easy to beat), and two final levels) and then there's not much to do afterwards except try to get all of the items for completionists. Those complaints aside, the game is very well done.
Is this game worth getting? It depends overall on what you're looking for and if you're willing to check it out of your own free will. If you're an old time Crash fan who can accept the evolution of a series, there's a good chance you'll like this if you check it out. What's even better is that it's a Crash experience on the go and just provides a great deal of fun. If you're just a platforming fan in general who wants to try something new from New Super Mario Bros., there's a great deal of fun to be had here with its variety and control schemes, and for a $19.99 price tag, it's a pretty sweet deal. Look out, cause here comes the Crash of the Titans!