Crash Bandicoot has enjoyed a glorious return to the limelight these past few years, starting with Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy and then with Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled. But now, after a round of remakes, it’s time – at long last – for something new again. With the upcoming Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time, that’s exactly what we’re getting, and it’s no surprise that quite a few people are very excited about what the game might have in store for us. In this feature, as we look ahead to its imminent launch, we’ll be talking about some key details that you should know about the game. Without further ado then, let’s get started.
Crash Bandicoot 4 is by no means the fourth mainline game in the trilogy, but its name makes it abundantly clear what its placement in the series’ timeline is. Retconning everything that happened after Naughty Dog’s original trilogy, It’s About Time is set directly after the events of Crash Bandicoot: Warped. As you might remember, the end of that game saw Neo Cortex, Uka Uka, and N. Tropy being caught in a space-time prison, and as It’s About Time begins, after many, many attempts to do so, the three of them finally manage to break out. In doing so, however, they expose a multiverse. In order to restore order to the multiverse and put a stop to the impending doom brought about by their actions, Crash and Coco must travel through the multiverse and find, unite, and work with four Quantum Masks to set things right.
Oh, and speaking of masks…
Masks have always been an important part of the Crash Bandicoot franchise in several ways, and that’s going to be true for It’s About Time as well. Crash and Coco will be traveling the multiverse to gather four Quantum Masks with which to set things right, and each of them is going to have unique and interesting gameplay applications, which players will use not only to defeat enemies, but also to solve puzzles and platforming challenges. What exactly are each of these masks going to do though? Let’s talk about that for a little bit.
MORE MASK DETAILS
Of the four masks in the game, developers Toys for Bob have so far talked in detail about three. Kapuna-Wa is the Mask of Time, and with her equipped, Crash and Coco can slow time down and make platforming challenges a little easier. Then there’s Ika-Ika, the Mask of Gravity, which (as its name suggests) can be used to flip the direction of gravity, literally turning levels on their head. Finally, there’s Lani-Loli, the Mask of Phase, which can be equipped to phase various objects (such as crates and obstacles) out of existence. We do know that the fourth mask is called Akano, but what it does isn’t something that the developers have talked about yet.
Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time will feature multiple playable characters, and all of them are going to have unique movement options and abilities. Crash and Coco will be the stars of the show, of course, but there are other notable playable characters as well. The ones that have been revealed so far are Neo Cortex and Dingodile. Whether or not there are more in the game that the developers haven’t yet revealed remains to be seen.
CRASH AND COCO
Crash and Coco will make up the bulk of the game, as you’d imagine, and you can expect them to move the way they always have- with lots of jumping, sliding, spinning, zip-lining, wall-running, and what have you. Interestingly enough, players will be able to swap between Crash and Coco at any time, even during levels, which means you can play the entire game (or at least the levels where they’re playable) as whichever of the two you want.
Neo Cortex is going to be different to play as than Crash and Coco, obviously, with a greater focus on strategizing rather than skill-based platforming, entailing the usage of gadgets to overcome obstacles and challenges. He can use a ray gun to transform enemies and obstacles in the environment into platforms, which he can then jump on and use to his advantage. Unlike Crash and Coco, he cannot double jump- but he does have a a sideways dash ability, which one would imagine will be used for dodging attacks and what have you.
Those familiar with the original Crash Bandicoot trilogy will find level design in Crash Bandicoot 4 to their liking- rather than putting players in large open sandboxes, levels in Crash Bandicoot 4 will be linear, tightly designed platforming challenges. And it seems like the game is leveraging its multiverse premise as much as it can to provide some solid variety in terms of environments and how they’re designed. So far, we’ve seen pirate ships, futuristic cities, mountains flowing with lava, icy landscapes, old forests, and much more.
OVER 100 LEVELS
Crash Bandicoot 4 seems to have things nailed down in the level variety department, and it seems things will be no different in terms of quantity either. There will be over 100 levels in the game, which is quite a lot. Just to put things in perspective, that’s more levels than there were in all of N.Sane Trilogy put together- which means there’s going to be more than enough content to keep players busy. In fact, there’s going to be even more stuff beyond that to try out…
Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time also features a mode called N.Verted Mode, which is a mirror mode of sorts. Developed by Beenox, the developers of Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled, in the N.Verted Mode – which is unlocked when you finish the game – all levels are completely transformed in various ways, from the aesthetics and art style completely changing to new objectives and mechanics being put in p;ace. For instance, one level is transformed into black and white, and Crash or Coco bleed colour into the surroundings every time they spin. Players then have to use the coloured sections of the level to find the right path forward.
There will be even more optional content to dive into beyond the N.Verted Mode. Crash Bandicoot 4 will also feature flashback levels, which will see Neo Cortex experimenting on Crash in his test chambers. These levels will see players going through these test chambers by solving puzzles and overcoming technical obstacles. Interestingly enough, completing flashback levels will also reveal bits and pieces of the series’ lore and backstory to you, which could be interesting… but could also be a complete disaster. Let’s hope it’s the former.
Of course, Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time is going to be all about platforming- there will be some set-piece boss encounters as well. These will include fights against a mix of returning and new characters, with N.Gin having been confirmed as a boss that players will take on in the game. Developers Toys for Bob have also said that the boss fights, which will often have multiple phases, will be more challenging than what fans of the original trilogy will remember. What that entails remains to be seen, but we’re always down for well-designed challenging boss encounters.
Cosmetic customization might not be something everyone cares about, but a lot of people do- and if you’re one of the latter, Crash Bandicoot 4 is promising to have you covered. There will be multiple different skins that each character will be able to equip in the game, and from what we’ve seen of them so far, their designs seem to be on-point.
Of course, when a game has skins, that usually goes hand-in-hand with microtransactions. That, apparently, won’t be the case in Crash Bandicoot 4, with the developers confirming that all the skins in the game – other than the ones locked behind pre-orders – will be unlocked through gameplay itself. It should be said that Activision often release games without microtransactions, only to add them in following release- whether or not that happens here as well remains to be seen.
POSSIBLE PC, NEXT-GEN, AND SWITCH VERSIONS
When Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time launches on October 2, it will be available on PS4 and Xbox One, but will it be coming to other platforms as well? Well, the answer to that question remains unclear for now- but it seems likely nonetheless. Mention of a Switch version has been found in the code of the game’s official website, while Activision have also said that they’re evaluating more platforms for the game. Given the fact that N.Sane Trilogy and Spyro Reignited Trilogy both eventually came to Switch and PC (and the fact that CTR launched on the Switch day and date), it’s entirely possible that It’s About Time will make its way over to those two as well. Additionally, given how close we are to next-gen console launches, it’s hard to imagine that a major AAA release like Crash 4 won’t be coming to the PS5 and Xbox Series X as well.