“Nunchucks? They're not even Aussies!
This might shock you: I'm not a fan of the Crash Bandicoot series. I know that doesn't make sense, because I'm British, and we in Blighty love mad marsupial as much as we love pie and mash and rewarding corruption... To be fair, I'm not a fan of Neither does Britain. My general mood towards Crash is rooted in my dislike of "in-screen" platformers. There's a special place in the underworld for people who have decided that platformers need to make the transition from the tried-and-true horizontal layout.
Personally, I find it bizarre that a genre based entirely on the perfect measure of distance would choose to change its camera perspective in such an ungodly way. And while 3D Mario titles get away with it - thanks to their smoother gameplay pace and large open areas - Crash Bandicoot seemed intent on capturing the same blistering speed and channeled action of a Sonic the Hedgehog, but with a whole new perception of depth. problems, adding elements of frustration and false difficulty to the proceedings.
Yet, as technology advances and visual clarity improves, this has become a little less of an issue in modern 3D rigs. It took many years, but developer Toys for Bob transformed me with his excellent Crash Bandicoot 4, which won me over with its fiery world, infectious personality, creative level design, and fun, wholesome aesthetic.
I finally found a Crash Bandicoot platform game that I like to play. It was time.
Toys for Bob not only did a fantastic job with the fourth numbered entry in the classic Crash Bandicoot franchise, they also went to great lengths to ensure Nintendo fans weren't left out with the new Switch port of the following. For the most part, Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time has made a very successful leap from its PS4 and Xbox One brethren, and only suffers from minor limitations that aren't too intrusive to gameplay.
Performance-wise, Crash 4 runs a cap of 30 FPS at 720p resolution (docked). When docked, additional anti-aliasing effects are added to smooth out the visuals' seemingly lower polygon count. But whether played on a large or small screen, Crash 4 maintains a very stable frame rate, even during the adventure's chaotic boss battles. While some may balk at the ceiling, 30 FPS suits a cartoonish adventure of this nature and doesn't distract from the constant action. Loading times are passable, and the Crash 4 Digital Edition weighs in at 9,4GB.
Powered by Unreal Engine 4, there's a very distinct step back from its console counterparts when it comes to Crash's colorful visuals, with reduced lighting, shadow and particle/water/time effects. While the Switch port of Crash 4 certainly offers less flashy visuals than, understandably, the PS5 port, I don't think these effects will be drastically "missed" by anyone unaware of their existence. There are some tough graininess and translucency issues, especially during cutscenes, but nothing that distracts from the gameplay itself.
Once in handheld mode, the anti-aliasing effect is removed, providing sharper edges to improve visual clarity for the small screen. Of the two options offered, I personally found Crash 4 more enjoyable in handheld mode, which is surprising given the intricacies of the game's tight jumps and meticulously detailed world.
For the most part, I take little to no umbrage with the Switch port's latency or visuals - except perhaps for the aforementioned translucency issues, which can look a bit ugly during certain cutscenes. Ultimately, Crash 4 is a great game played in bed or 'on the go', with neither the port's technological limitations nor the Switch's small screen being a real detriment to the overall experience.
While I'm not here to review the game itself, it bears repeating that Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time is an engaging, captivating, and entertaining action adventure. The new sequel is packed with awesome characters, enemies, and worlds; the script is legitimately funny; there are plenty of bonus stages and side quests, and each world is beautifully detailed and features creative settings, chases, and boss battles.
As for my personal issues with the franchise... Well, I've fallen on the lookout for a lot of deaths based purely on depth perception, with even the telltale shadows not offering enough visual information to take some leaps of faith. . But, with the exception of a gruesome dinosaur chase sequence, the more distracting elements of on-screen platforming seem greatly reduced from their predecessors. Crash 4 is difficult at times, but I would rarely call it unfair. And when it's at its best, it's nearly impossible to knock down.
Toys for Bob really took off with this franchise, hopefully securing the future for Crash, Coco, Tawna, Dr. Cortex and their friends. Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time for Nintendo Switch is both a great game and a brilliant port, and while it might not be the best way to experience this joyful adventure, it's worth checking out. .
[This port report is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]