You’re right…it’s about time!

Crash feels like a mascot that everyone knew, then he went on an extended vacation with a different family, then came back feeling like he never left. I still remember playing the original game before Mario 64 released and thinking it was the most amazing platformer ever created. Activision has finally given us a proper Crash sequel. After the success of the remaster trilogy and the return of Crash Team Racing, everyone’s favorite marsupial is finally getting the proper numbered fourth game in the franchise. It feels like he never left.

One of the things that the Crash games following Naughty Dog’s trilogy failed to capture was its pure design. Sure, Crash and his pals were wacky, but the games that followed those games were generic platformers. Activision pegged Toys for Bob to bring about the proper numbered sequel, which makes sense considering they are the ones who crafted the excellent remastered trilogy. Crash 4 feels like those original games, not only in its core game play, but also in the excellent level design and challenge.

MSRP: $59.99
Platforms: XB1 (reviewed), PS4
Price I’d Pay: $59.99

Crash 4 feels like it could have followed those original games. The levels are linear with a pinch of exploration. They are designed with getting 100% of everything, which in turn rewards players with an unlockable skin. Getting that 100% on each level though is quite the challenge. The Crash games always teetered on the ideas that anyone can finish the level, but only the true masters can fully complete it. I loved the challenge. The fact that they offer up a new skin for a playable character for each one is a nice bonus.

Speaking of playable characters, we of course get Crash and Coco, but there are also a host of others. Tawna is a new character that uses a grapple hook. I really enjoyed these levels as it added a new dimension to the classic game play. Neo Cortex and Dingodile are also featured as playable characters. Their levels are not as smooth as the rest due to their lack of agility in platforming. Once these characters are unlocked it opens up side missions that take place during the events of the Crash and Coco levels. It really is a unique mechanic that keeps things fresh.

Speaking of levels there are a variety included in Crash 4. The standard platform levels are here as are the vehicle ones and of course the new characters bring their own flare. In addition, Toys for Bob has introduced a new mechanic called Quantum Masks. These masks add new tweaks to the game play. One example is switching on and off platforms by tapping the trigger. This leads to some truly challenging platforming sections.

Crash has always been known for its difficulty, but it was always in the sense of full completion. Anyone can jump in and complete the levels, but truly mastering 100% was controller-breaking at times. Crash 4 walks that line perfectly. Toys for Bob has also added two modes for people to play. The traditional mode means the lives system is in place. Die enough times and the level is started over. This mode is called Retro. The Modern setting just counts the number of deaths and adds it as a requirement for completing the level 100%. This is a great system and makes being able to just ‘finish’ a level more attainable for everyone.

One thing that can be said about Crash 4 is that it is packed with things to do. There are the main levels and side stories with new characters. Each level offers an unlock for 100% completion. There are secret areas in each level and even a host of super challenging puzzles locked in time rooms. The game also has a pass and play mechanic that is a real throwback to classic gaming on the couch. The rules can be set to deaths and such giving players a chance to play with friends. The game is simply packed to the gills with content that should keep players busy for a long time.

This is also a gorgeous game. While the lack of HDR is disappointing, the colors are still magnificent. The game has a look of Saturday morning cartoons and the characters are extremely well-animated. The level design feels like it could have been created by Naughty Dog themselves and everything here is just a pleasure to play. The voice acting and music are spot-on. This game had a budget and it shows. I am glad to see Crash get the love and care he deserves.

Crash Bandicoot 4 is a game that has been a long-time coming. Toys for Bob have really captured what made the original games special, while also modernizing it and delivering their own stamp on the franchise. Fans of the original finally get the sequel they deserved, and it feels good to live in this renaissance of PSOne-era games making a comeback. I hope Crash continues to live on and we don’t have to wait as long for Crash 5.

Review copy of game provided by publisher.

  • Tons of content
  • Feels like Crash
  • Beautiful characters and levels
  • Level design
  • Skins locked behind perfection
  • Lack of HDR
Written by
Ken is the Editor-in-Chief of this hole in the wall and he loves to troll for the fun of it. He also enjoys long walks through Arkham Asylum and the cool air of Shadow Moses Island. His turn-ons include Mortal Kombat, Metal Gear Solid and StarCraft.