Nintendo consoles, by nature, have something somewhat unexplainable (a “je ne sais quoi”, as the French would say) that makes platform games a lot more charming on it. Perhaps it is a mixture of nostalgia with the most playful visual identity of the Japanese brand, but there is something there, which has an effect even with the games starring mascots from rival brands.
‘Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time’, the most recent iteration of Activision’s marsupial adventures (which was once a PlayStation symbol when it was made by Naughty Dog) was originally released in October last year for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, but now it has versions for PC, PS5, Xbox Series X and Nintendo Switch – the copy we evaluated in this review.
We already talked about this game here in Digital Look – and much of what was delivered in the versions for the past generation has remained. The plot is a direct continuation of ‘Crash Bandicoot: Warped’ (which can be played in the recent compilation ‘Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy’. After years as prisoners, villains Neo Cortex, N. Tropy and Uka manage to escape by creating a space-time failure.
After the effort to escape, Uka falls into a deep sleep, but N. Tropy, based on the villain’s feat, creates a machine to open more portals in space-time to move around various dimensions. Now, Crash and Coco have to save the day again. Fortunately, they will have help from the Quantum Masks, awakened after the changes made by the escape of the villains in other dimensions. They ensure that our heroes are able to change reality to get through the levels.
Compared to its rivals, the Switch will always lag behind in graphics terms – for the simple sake of hardware. To bring ‘Crash Bandicoot 4’ to the Nintendo console, the developers of ‘Toys for Bob’ had to reduce the frame rate from 60 to 30 per second, and decreased the resolution to 720p (540p when in portable mode).
This difference in performance can be felt much more in games that rely on ultra-realistic graphics, but ‘Crash Bandicoot 4’ has a cartoonish look that makes these cuts smooth in the player experience. In fact, only if you played the PS4 and Xbox One version a lot will you notice any difference. If you lose in graphics on the one hand, you gain in portability on the other: your ‘Crash’ match can accompany you wherever you and your Switch go.
Considering that the game has 30 main stages, combined with another 20 or more levels of hidden “flashback” and several collectibles distributed throughout the scenario (if you want to complete 100%), being able to take the game anywhere is a huge advantage. Especially in the “modern” game mode, with its infinite lives that allow you to return to the last control point whenever you fail. So it is possible to repeat more complicated parts over and over again until you reach your goal (which is almost always breaking that last unreachable box)
‘Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time’ is a solid game with a retro feel that makes it one of the best platform games today. Its version of the Switch maintains these characteristics, but exchanging graphics performance for portability and the fun factor inherent in the Nintendo console. If you don’t have the game on any other platform, the version of the Switch is a good choice, which may make you enjoy it better than if you had restricted to a console plugged into a TV.
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