Exploring the familiar yet evolved platforming of Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time

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Exploring the familiar yet evolved platforming of Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time

16 things we learned from playing Crash’s latest adventure, from Quantum Masks to a playable Cortex.

Over ten years have passed since the last new Crash Bandicoot game, which is more than enough time for my crate-smashing appetite to grow. Yet while I still love jumping back in for some classic Wumpa Fruit-collecting romps, the platforming genre has continued to evolve over the past decade. And while I’m more than ready to spin, leap and explore some more, the twisted creators at developer Toys For Bob have updated much more than the whirling marsupial’s good looks. This is a sequel in every sense of the word. 

Separate from the hands-on session, exciting new details were announced for Crash 4 during last week’s State of Play. Crash’s iconic adversary, Dingodile, stomps into It’s About Time as a playable character, wielding a potent vacuum cannon to dish out destruction. N. Verted mode also made its debut, which injects zany replayability into Crash 4. Splash color into a whitewashed world, navigate an underwater traffic jam, and much more. Check out the State of Play Crash 4 blog for a Wumpa-load of new info.

Meanwhile, pull on your jean shorts, oversized red sneakers, and prepare to learn how Crash Bandicoot 4’s gameplay both continues the series’ legacy and evolves the beloved platforming of the original PlayStation trilogy and remastered N. Sane Trilogy.

1. Time-tested platforming – Despite the game’s robust evolution, the gameplay fans fell in love with is still intact. Running, spinning, jumping, and bouncing off crates is still core to the game.

2. Double jump – The handy, life-saving ability to jump in mid-air returns.

3. Bandicoot tune up – This may be the best that controlling crash has ever felt. Bounding through stages has a satisfying sense of momentum without sacrificing precision platforming.

4. Hang time – It could have been my imagination, but I found it easier to course correct jumps in mid-air, resulting in more precise landings.

5. Shadow Precision – Crash’s shadow is a clean yellow circle with a bold outline, which helps dial in precise jumps.

6. Belly flop – Crash has access to this ground pound maneuver to smash hapless crates beneath him.

7. Magnetic Fruit – Collecting delicious Wumpa Fruit is even more satisfying now, as Crash automatically collects them when he’s near.

8. Quantum masks – New to this sequel, Crash can find and use powerful masks for sections of levels. Activate these mystical powers by pressing the Triangle or R2 buttons.

9. Slow time – One mask (Kupuna-Wa) causes the world and enemies to slow to a crawl for a limited time. Tap into this to slow tricky bad guys, pass erratic hazards, or cross falling platforms.

10. Phase Control – Another mask lets Crash phase objects in and out of existence. Want to remove an obstacle out of the way, or need a platform to reach new heights? Try phasing!

11. Running towards the camera – Classic chase sequences return! During one sequence, Crash ran towards the camera as a hungry T-Rex gave chase. The camera appears to be more zoomed out this time, allowing more time to see and avoid upcoming obstacles.

12. Healthy challenge – Even with your tuned up platforming skills and new Quantum Mask powers, bring your platforming A-game. Toys For Bob didn’t shy away from classic platforming difficulty. 

13. Modern vs. Retro Mode – Old-school purists can choose Retro Mode, which restarts you at the beginning of a stage if you run out of lives. Modern Mode is still challenging, but always restarts you at a checkpoint while counting up your total deaths.

14. Bonus levels – Speaking of challenge, puzzle-like side-scrolling Bonus Levels return. This time, utilize Quantum Mask powers like slow-down to master tricky sequences and collect all the crates.

15. Dr. Cortex – Fans get to play as Crash’s longtime nemesis – no go-kart required! Lacking Crash’s agility, the evil scientist relies on an horizontal air dash and blasting enemies into solid and bounceable platforms. The result is a more cerebral, puzzle-like platforming experience.

16. New perspective – Playing as Cortex also reveals unique perspectives on stages Crash already cleared. For example, you may discover Cortex was responsible for a surprising explosion in a stage you previously played. 

Crash unleashes his furry-ous return when Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time hits PS4 October 2.

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