Crash Bandicoot™ 4: It’s About Time – A Hands-On Look at the Game

The Activision Games Blog walks through three levels – two Bandicoot experiences and one alternate timeline Neo Cortex stage – to give you an idea of what to expect at launch.

by James Mattone on July 24, 2020

Crash Bandicoot™ 4: It’s About Time is coming on October 2nd, 2020 to PlayStation® 4, PlayStation® 4 Pro, and the family of Xbox One devices from Microsoft, including the Xbox One X.

Yes, we’re fur real: Crash is back, and it’s about time… Or more specifically, our bandicoot is here with his friends to protect the space-time continuum across the multiverse!

A New Mechanic Right on the Menu Screen

Before even hopping into one of the three levels, the main menu allows for a choice between Modern and Retro modes.

As we explained in the reveal blog, It’s About Time allows for a choice on a small, yet significant, setting: lives, or more specifically, the limitation of them.

Playing on Modern mode allows for a seamless experience where you can keep trying on a level until completion.

Those who love the “good ol’ days” of platformers can pick Retro mode, which limits lives. If you lose too many, it’s game over.

Either way, the game will still count deaths – every single wacky, and cartoonish punishment to our beloved bandicoot (and those nasty villains too) – so regardless of your chosen mode, try not to perish too much!

Chilling on Snow Way Out

The first experience of this hands-on look is Snow Way Out, set in the 11th Dimension circa 1954. During the demo, this level teaches basic mechanics of how to play the game. Movement, jumping, spinning, and wumping are all taught before you get into real danger.

Another mechanic taught in the level’s beginning involves a Quantum Mask known as Kupuna-Wa, AKA the Time Mask, who upon activation, slows down time on everything except Crash. Again, like moving, jumping, and spinning, there is a quick optional practice moment before the real test begins:

An exclamation point (“!”) box and four outlines of boxes appear before our bandicoot. If the “!” box is hit, the four outlines turn into real boxes for only a single second. Activate Kupuna-Wa, to expand that single second, and see if that bandicoot can smash those four crates in time to get that sweet, sweet Wumpa fruit inside.

The elements seen in previous Crash games are all here. You’ll encounter temporary platforms, TNT and Nitro Boxes, enemies that will destroy bandicoots in the wackiest ways possible, and plenty of Wumpa fruit to collect and boxes to break, both within the main path and the optional Bonus Path.

Mid-way through the level, the story progresses; Crash and Coco have caught up to the nefarious Doctor Neo Cortex in this zombie frozen fisherman village. Unfortunately, he had enough time to rig a ship for a massive explosion… And while his timing was way, way off, he at least sent ice chunks cascading down waterfalls to make these bandicoots' lives more difficult.

And so, our heroes continue to jump, spin, and wump across platforms like before, while also using the powers of Kupuna-Wa to slow down enemy attacks or falling ice platforms for safer passage.

Dino Dash with Crash (and Coco!)

We pick up the story with our heroes now within a dimension set millions of years in the past to the age of dinosaurs.

This level represents another iconic part of the Crash experience: chase sequences. At first, our bandicoot platforms through the Jurassic era, which involves harmlessly hopping on a few friendly herbivores eating their lunch and is introduced to Lani-Loli, another Quantum Mask who shifts platforms, obstacles, and boxes in and out of the current dimension on command.

After a gnarly grind on some vines, our bandicoot reaches a checkpoint, breaks down a wall of bones, happily scoops up a few Wumpa fruits… And then is ambushed by a Tyrannosaurus Rex!

The chase is on and players will have to quickly rush downhill, avoiding pit traps and mushrooms that slow their movement speed. Then, when it all seems hopeless, rocks fall and block the dangerous predator from enjoying a carnivorous orange snack with a pant and sneaker garnish.

Following the chase, our bandicoot shrugs and has a momentary thought of who could have caused that – perhaps a friend or foe? – before pressing forward through an active volcano and two more chase sequences towards the finish.

Snow Way (Out)… You Can Play as Neo Cortex?

The final hands-on experience Snow Way Out, this time from the “Cortex Timeline.” Because It’s About Time, we get to explore alternate perspectives. In this instance that perspective is none other than the villainous Neo Cortex continual nemesis to Crash and Coco.

Remember the Snow Way Out ship Neo Cortex exploded?  This version of the level is an “alternate timeline path”, which is akin to the secret levels in previous Crash games. Objectively, it’s a bit tougher than regular levels and allows you to relive how the doctor’s plans went wrong en route to the ship explosion. After completing this path, you regain control of Crash or Coco and you’ll play the main level’s second half, albeit with different crate placements to ramp up difficulty.

Mechanically, N. Cortex is different from our Bandicoots – instead of a double jump, he can turn enemies into platforms or gelatinous cubes to bounce on. He can also dash on the ground or in mid-air to cross chasms that would otherwise send him to his doom. And in typically wacky fashion when he perishes, he turns devilish compared to Crash’s angel.

If you can nail his unique playstyle through a difficult level, you can see just how he flubbed the timing on that explosion and gain some serious Wumpa fruit for your reserves.

Both levels feature fresh yet familiar art style that truly embraces the “time”. Toys for Bob has brought the environments to life while keeping that zany Crash spirit intact.

Whilst it’s beautiful to look at, admiring the scenery for too long will cause our Bandicoot to act natural, like stretching, ruffling their fur, or snapping a selfie using their smartphone.

Y’know, as Bandicoots do in the wild.

Pre-Orders Live Now

Think it’s about time you play this new Crash Bandicoot experience?

Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time will be available for the suggested retail price in the U.S. of $59.99 on October 2, 2020.

Purchasing the game digitally will grant you the Totally Tubular Skins (available at launch), which puts Crash and Coco into some digs that shows off their radical roots.

If you also think that It’s About Time an original Crash game gets released, pre-order the game now at www.crashbandicoot.com/crash4. If you need time to watch the Announcement Trailer, this will tide you over:

For more information on the Crash Bandicoot™ franchiseplease visit www.crashbandicoot.com and follow @CrashBandicoot on InstagramTwitter and Facebook, as well as developer Toys for Bob on Twitter and Instagram.