Crash: Mind over Mutant Review


At long last it’s time to play the next big Crash game. It keeps the monster hacking from the last title but changes the mechanics of how it works a bit. The gameplay is solid but the game is held back by some questionable design choices like the fact that you can’t actually fast travel between lands. So effectively you have a giant hub world but have to actually walk back and forth between each level. I’m still wondering why they would do that but we’ll go into it in a moment. For now I’ll just say this is certainly the weakest Crash game but still a decent game overall.

The game starts with Cortex coming up with his latest scheme to take over the world. He has these VR goggles that will put you into an environment that is so realistic and top tier that you can’t help but get sucked in. Even Crash’s best friend Crunch and his sister Coco were not able to resist. Crash and Aku must now try to stop Cortex before it’s too late but what can these two do without some kind of backup? It’ll be tough but either way they will aim to give this their very best shot. After all if they can’t win…who can!?

So the gameplay is your average 3D Crash style for the platforming elements. You can run, jump, spin, and even dig in this game. You have to typically get to the end of a level or beat up enemies to proceed. There are quite a few sections for combat here but the battles are never too hard. It’s the kind of game where if you die, you appear close to where you died, so you never have to backtrack a whole lot. I definitely enjoyed that at least. Nothing’s worse than having to redo a large section. For the monster jacking, you can store up to 2 monsters at a time and switch through them at will. The downside to having two monsters is that you can’t play as Crash which makes some of the platforming impossible. So typically you will want to stick to one monster which is the perfect setup. Particularly if you pick the Hedgehog as one of them since he’s so fast.

When you’re going through all of the back tracking, it’s very helpful to have someone like this at the ready. When you defeat an enemy you are given the option to take control of it or keep on going. Don’t worry about not taking the right one, any area that needs a specific ability will warp an enemy to you in those instances. So it’s a fun enough gimmick although it feels like we’ve gone far away from the original Crash structure. It’s fun getting to fire off energy blasts and slow down time so the monster abilities are always fun. The slowing down time aspect is quite powerful so they make sure you don’t get to control those monsters until the end of the game.

So lets talk about the backtracking since this mechanic did not work. Basically the island is so huge that it connects to around 6 areas. I want to say in real time if you had to travel the whole island it would probably take you around an hour or so. Fortunately you never have to do that in one time but say you beat the desert world, you’ll be told to go back home. From there you have to head to the school then home, then back to the desert, etc. Most games would have a teleporter or something which would be incredibly useful here. Unfortunately this was not included for a gag. At the very end of the game one of the villains mocks Crash for running around the whole game and quickly whips up some teleporters.

Yes, you gain the ability to fast travel to any point at the final level in the game. By this point it’s so late that it doesn’t actually help out a lot. I suppose if there are some good post game content to play through then it would be nice but this should have been around for the base game. Trust me when I say this would have been incredibly useful to have had a lot sooner. It’s just tedious to run back and forth as well as being very time consuming. You’ll spend more time running around than actually playing the game which is really an issue here. The decision just doesn’t make sense to me.

There’s also a level up system built into the game which doesn’t seem to have much of a point. You get a little stronger and unlock new moves but I never noticed the difference and it takes a while to get level ups. So by the time you are stronger you’ll have beaten the game. I forget at what level I completed Crash but I think it was around 5-7. The game is easy enough where it won’t make a difference and so the whole mechanic may as well not even be here. As they say, if a mechanic doesn’t actually affect anything then you may as well have not had it in the first place.

Well, the graphics are good. During gameplay it all looks solid at least. The levels are colorful and everything is on point. My only issue is with the cutscenes that are going for a more experimental look this time around. Sometimes the cutscenes look like drawings where everything is as low budget as possible. Others use designs like something out of Jacob Two Two. The designs are always changing from cutscene to cutscene, Crash even looks like a Super Saiyan warrior at one point. Now that was definitely something that was a different experience. I’m not really into the experimental techniques myself so personally I think the best thing to do would have been to go with more traditional artwork. It would have just looked better.

At least you can say it does match the crazy plot though. The whole game is rather bonkers with how everyone falls for these goggles. A lot of the dialogue is so self aware it almost threatens to break the 4th wall. The characters aren’t very smart here and even the villains get humiliated by Cortex. The evil mask is certainly on the backfoot here. The scene where he is literally being milked by a machine while Cortex gloats and laughs is rather intense for the guy’s fans. Cortex is really the only villain who keeps his hype here. Perhaps this will even solidify him as the ultimate Crash villain for most. At this point, none of the others seem like they can keep up with him.

Overall, Mind over Mutants is a step down from the other Crash games but I would still call it a good game. Beyond the lack of fast travel, the rest of the gameplay is good and that’s the important thing. The soundtrack may not be too memorable but it works well enough. While the graphics aren’t very good, the story still has a good amount of funny moments and a lot happening at all times. I may not like Crash as a main character but Cortex has enough good lines for the both of them. If you need to complete your Crash experience then this is a good entry to check out. Otherwise you’re not really missing a whole lot though.

Overall 6/10

Crash of the Titans Review


It’s been a little while since my last Crash game but it’s time to get back into the action. This Crash game is also a little different from the others in that it has more of an emphasis on the combat. It’s part beat em up this time as opposed to being a pure platformer and that certainly works out well enough for me. I love some good battling after all.

The story starts with Cortex attacking Crash and the gang once again. This time he’s serious so the heroes have to really watch out or they may be taken down for the count. Coco is kidnapped though and Crunch is encased in ice so it’s all up to Crash as per usual. What will make this a little more difficult this time is that Nina is taking over the role as main villain instead of Cortex. In fact, Cortex has now been imprisoned so deep down he may be rooting for Crash as well. Crash will have to get through many different dungeons and castles in order to get to Nina but he won’t stop until he has saved the world.

It’s easy to describe the gameplay since it’s what you would expect in a beat em up. You try to take out your opponents with standard moves and power blows. In a lot of circumstances you have to defeat all of the enemies in order to proceed and other times you can skip through. While the gameplay is simple, that also makes it difficult to go forward in other cases. For example, there are a bunch of slime minions that show up in a few levels and the only way to even damage them is to use your power moves.

The issue is that the power moves take a lot of time to load up. Additionally, these minions can use parry skills to dodge your attack and land a pretty solid blow. I would really just beat these guys with luck half the time and the other half I would just end up getting wrecked. There is an item that allows you to use a one hit KO attack so I recommend saving it for whenever you see one of these guys. Keep in mind that the item does not reappear if you lose a life so be careful when you use it.

A prominent mechanic in this game is that you can also take control of an enemy you defeat. This is crucial to completing the level. When you take control of a monster, do not allow yourself to be defeated and always hop into a new monster if you’re losing health. Most of the monsters are incredibly powerful so while you have control of one of those you should be really safe.

It’s not full proof but it’ll help you out in most circumstances. Otherwise I just couldn’t find a good full proof strategy against these guys. You won’t have a problem against most of the other enemies though, just button mash as best you can and you should be all good here. It’s a fun combat system and the ability to jump into monsters reminds me of Mario Odyssey. The boss fights make good use of this as well with the final boss being rather difficult to deal with. Most of the other bosses you should breeze through.

One pro tip here is as I mentioned, sometimes you don’t have to beat every enemy. Remember those moments well because it can be the difference between winning a round and losing. There was one really intense moment when I was nearly out of health and had to deal with a lot of the fire monsters. So what I did is I just ran right past them. Just barely mind you, but I was able to jump into the tunnel leading into the next level right before they slammed me. Losing can be intense here because a game over means you go back to the very beginning of the level no matter how many sections you completed. So if this tip helps you even avoid one game over then it’s definitely worth it.

In a way because this is not a platformer it does feel a lot easier than the usual Crash games. In terms of length I’d say it’s similar. You should beat this one in under 10 hours. In terms of replay value I don’t recall running into any collectables but there are probably some things you can do with to increase the play time here. Either way the game goes for a fairly low price nowadays so you should be able to get good value here.

The graphics have aged pretty well too. The character designs are on point and the art style is really colorful. It’s all expressive and taps into that Crash energy well. I may not be a fan of the character himself but the universe always had a lot of interesting level designs. That remains true for this game as well. The soundtrack is less memorable but the tunes work well enough within their contexts.

As for Nina, she works well as the new main villain. You do feel bad for Cortex though since she is absolutely roasting him throughout the entire game. You’d think he would get a little more respect since they’re related and he was a main villain for so long but that’s not the case here. Nina is played straight but the rest of the villains tend to have their comedic moments as well.

Meanwhile Coco spends most of the game being mind controlled and kidnapped so this isn’t exactly her biggest role. It does allow Crash to step in and do the job on his own…or with a little help from the mask I should say. Crunch stays frozen so don’t expect any help from him. The game has a lot of cutscenes/cinematics so it’s a good chance to see more of the characters. All in all, it makes for a satisfying story mode.

Overall, Crash of the Titans is definitely another solid Crash installment. It’s a nice change of pace having Cortex on the sidelines even if I still prefer him to Nina. Nina gets her hype though and puts up a good fight here. If the games were to ever revamp Crash’s personality just a bit I dare say that the series could end up being even bigger than it is currently. There are just a few more Crash games I haven’t played yet so now I’m really close to the end. It’ll definitely be a milestone getting that far.

Overall 7/10

Crash Bandicoot: On the Run! Review


Whenever you think of a free to play running game you’re probably thinking of high energy titles with a ton of content and amazing replay value. The highest values of quality are associated with these titles because there’ a lot you can do with it. Unfortunately Crash ends up fumbling the ball on this one and it’s easily the weakest free runner that I’ve played. Sonic, Ladybug, and the others are all a lot better because they embraced the free to play elements while this one seems a little more hesitant.

First off, the gameplay is fine. It’s your standard auto runner so you can crouch and jump to avoid obstacles. There are power ups in the levels and even a little boss fight at the end where you have to tap the screen with precision. These are good mechanics that work well. I did not have any qualms with the gameplay. The levels are also nice and bite sized so there is a whole lot of replay value there.

What is my main issue? It’s the energy system. Now, longtime fans of mobile games will recognize that this isn’t new. A lot of mobile games have something like that to prevent you from beating all of the content instantly. The most confident games though like Pokemon Go, Godzilla, and Dr Mario have no such system. Others like Fire Emblem Heroes, Dragon Ball Legends or any other big gatcha game have it as a formality but it’s hard to reach. In those games you could play effectively with no limit for about a month and then after that you’re limited to about 4-5 hours a day. That’s fine, I’m unlikely to play a mobile game longer than that anyway and it seems like a pretty fair tradeoff.

The problem with Crash is that it’s immediate. Within about an hour you’re going to start running into a shortage of items. Your options at that point are to wait, buy the items, or play old stages to try and get more materials. Why should I need to play an old level when I just started the game though? That was my main issue throughout the game. It felt like you were always needing to go and grab other collectibles so you couldn’t really appreciate the game.

It feels greedy because most of the time your gaming experience won’t be interrupted until you’re fairly deep into the story. Imagine having to go back and raise more Pokemon in Pokemon Masters instead of blasting through all of the available levels? Or needing to go back and clear more Witch rooms in Madoka instead of continuing? That’s my issue with the Crash game, it seems like they heavily steer you towards playing a fee right off the bat rather than enjoying your free experience. If you ask me, that’s the real shame here.

Not even adding in the famous mascot “The Noid” was enough to save the game. I had already finished my playthrough of this one before he came out but let me say that he was not enough for me to change course and go back in. You would need to fix the fundamental issues of Crash’s item system first. Part of the issue is that there are several different kinds of items, materials, and levels you have to get. This should be simplified so there is only one kind of vial for example. Instead of 3 tiers to each item, make it 1.

I would also add a new player bonus like most games where clearing story levels for the first time replenishes your energy. That’s a great way to keep you playing uninterrupted for a long while and then you can really enjoy going back to clear up loose ends. I don’t see why the game decided to be so different from the other auto runners. At the very least the unique approach didn’t work this time.

The graphics are really good though. It’s clear that a lot of work went into making the game look as good as possible. The character models are really on point. They wouldn’t be out of place in the big budget PS4 games. Then the soundtrack and level designs are good. Each theme sounds good and is fittingly high energy for a running game like this. The levels all look like the traditional Crash levels as well.

In terms of replay value, there is a lot here even if we don’t count all of the material farming. The game launched with well over 50 levels and I expect new updates will bring more and more. You can unlock costumes, in game achievements and things of that sort. As with most mobile games, you can probably expect to keep finding things to do here all the way until the game eventually runs out of steam and just ends naturally.

Overall, My main issue here is just that the game feels rather greedy. You can make the case that all mobile games exist to make money since the free to play model is built on using ad revenue but some games certainly use it better than others. In a lot of mobile games you never even get tempted to pay money and it’s all rather harmless. Additionally, if there’s a mobile game you seriously enjoy and will play for 50+ hours anyway, then spending a few bucks may not sound bad. This one just won’t be that game though. I’d highly recommend playing just about any of the other free runners instead but if you have some time then I suppose this isn’t a bad bet. Getting around the time limits is really the most annoying part so if you get past that then there are the fundamentals of a good game.

Overall 5/10

Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled Review


I have to give Nintendo props for finally adding some full free games to their menu. Now, it’s not quite the same as with Sony or Microsoft where they give you a slew of games that stay completely free every month. This one was time limited so it was only free for a week or so but it’s nice to have this. It also adds a level of urgency since you have to try to clear the game in that time. It was awful close but I did manage to clear this game right at the very end of the trial period so I have to admit that I felt pretty clutch at that point. Crash Team Racing is a lot more difficult than you would expect so you definitely don’t want to underestimate it.

The game’s story involves an alien showing up on the planet and deciding that he will destroy everything. He will give the heroes a chance though. they must all compete in a bunch of races and once we have determined who the strongest racer in the world is, then the villain will fight that guy. It’s a fairly basic story that’s just so we can have some context for the races. You can tell that it wasn’t exactly top priority to have a big involved story or anything like that. I do appreciate the game giving us several cutscenes though because it does make the story feel more authentic. Each world has 4-5 races that you have to conquer before fighting the boss of the world.

The gameplay is that of a 3D racer and of course the objective is to get to the finish line first. As you drive through the maps there are items you can grab which will help you in this endeavor. Most of the items you should recognize from Mario Kart like the Paratroopa, Green Shell, etc. They are all slightly altered of course so it’s not literally the same weapons but they have the same effects. The main difference here that makes the game more difficult than your average racer is how the boost system works. In order to attain your boost you have to intentionally drift while on the map. Keep on drifting in order to boost as well as increase your base speed. So for example, if you are just driving straight in a normal way then you will be moving fairly slow. If you keep on drifting over and over as you race then your overall speed will be greatly improved. So the more you master drifting the better.

In fact, winning the game would be 100% impossible based on my experience without drifting. Even with it some races would take me over 20 attempts to conquer. I can only imagine what the game would be like on hard mode. I was impressed with the difficulty setting although at the same time it does feel like the A.I. tends to cheat at times as their cars are naturally faster. I do understand programming a racing game like this is no small feat though as you would have to either have the A.I. be too weak or too strong. I suspect it’s not a super adaptive learning process here as that would be a lot of work for a racing title.

The graphics look very good. It’s definitely a very modern game with all the trimmings. The character designs are on point and the level backdrops are all different and have a striking look to them. We also have a hub world which is a nice idea although it could have been handled a little better. You have to manually drive to each world and there are no real big checkpoints so expect a good amount of driving between worlds. It’s a super small thing to note but one of those times where a fast teleport system would have been a good quality of life upgrade.

As for the soundtrack, that part is fairly forgettable. All of the tunes are super standard to the point where they could pretty much be free domain music in a racing game. Part of this is due to the fact that most racing games do have good soundtracks though so the bar is already high. To be standard for a racing game isn’t a bad thing but I do feel like they could have added an extra tune or two that you could really sink your teeth into. Now that would have been really good.

There’s a good amount of replay value although it could definitely be in an annoying way. There are tons of characters to unlock here. The way to buy them is to use your coins at the pit shop but only a few characters are displayed a day. It’s not like the classic shops where everyone is always there to be purchased. So you may have the coins but it could take a while to get everyone. I am impressed with the scale of content though. It may not be easy to get them but there is so much to buy. I’m not even familiar with half of the Crash characters in this game, they just squeezed everyone in here. Between doing all of that and trying to unlock the secret ending there is a whole lot to keep on doing here. Naturally the online multiplayer is a factor as well.

Ultimately what holds the game back when compared to the other big racing games like Mario Kart and the Sonic ones is that the gameplay being so heavily reliant on the constant boosting can hurt. You don’t want to always have to be turning at every moment and that’s what this mechanic forces you to do. It’s a lot less peaceful than the game could be and between that with all of the items it feels like you aren’t getting to actually “race” for a good chunk of each level. This is still a good game, but I could have done without the boost mechanic.

Overall, it’s clear that a good amount of effort was put into this game. It’s nice that we have a real story and the amount of characters in the game is crazy. The gameplay may not have been my favorite but it’s still a racing title and the kind of game which will be amplified when you play with others. If you’re looking for a good racing game to check out then I would recommend buying Crash. It’s not exactly my top recommendation in the genre though so if you want an even grander title then I would recommend Mario Kart. Of course…I have yet to buy the latest game in that series myself but it’s on the list.

Overall 7/10

Crash Twinsanity Review


It’s time to look at one of the classic Crash games from the PS2 era. I knew right away that it was going to be time to give this a shot after going through the newer Crash game. It’s always fun to take a peak at the classic games and Twinsanity definitely has that charm. In some ways I would even say that the plot may beat the newer one. It definitely has a lot of fun embracing the crazyness of the series and a certain guest star’s cameo at the end of the game was brilliant. It’s not something that can be topped very easily.

So the game starts with Cortex hatching another plan of his. He dresses up as Coco and is able to even trick Crash with his disguise. It’s not Crash’s best moment but you could also make the case that it’s pretty much par for the course with this Bandicoot. Unfortunately for Cortex there are other players at work here. A pair of aliens have shown up and they want revenge on Cortex for something he did to them as a child. They certainly don’t tend to forgive and forget the way that other characters do. Cortex is basically forces to work with Crash as a result so that he doesn’t get destroyed. Along the way all of Crash’s other enemies pop up including the iconic Dark Crash. Will the heroes be able to win?

The plot is pretty bonkers but that’s part of why the game succeeds so well. Things just happen out of nowhere and the story goes crazy. Dark Crash literally jumps out of nowhere to chase Cortex and vanishes as soon as he shows up. It’s almost like how Shadow just suddenly showed up in Sonic Boom the game. Dark Crash has a pretty terrifying final scene though so he’s still someone you don’t want to mess with. Cortex certainly does look very good here so I can see why he was a fan favorite. We learn a bit about his backstory like in his school days and more of his motivations for dealing with Crash. The guy may not be a very serious Crash villain most of the time but he is still a genius so you really don’t want to be on his bad side. He can deal out quite a bit of pain when he really wants to. Even by the end of the game he still tries his usual tricks.

For a villain like Cortex you do gotta find the right blend of comedy and action for his character to work. Cortex is just skilled enough where you can picture him destroying Crash but a nice enough guy where they could team up on the regular. I’m always up for a team up so that part of the plot was definitely a blast. The ending also leaves a lot of potential for future games even if it’s unlikely. Perhaps the most emotional part of the game is that Crash clearly still wants to be friends with Cortex. he doesn’t let any of this get to him personally as seen by his attempt to be Cortex’s friend in the end. The betrayal hits really close to home as a result and you may even shed a tear.

As for the gameplay, this is your classic 3D Platformer. You jump across obstacles and try to get to the end. While it’s a simple style, the execution wasn’t nearly on the same level as what I’m used to seeing in the series. Some jumps that should be very easy end up being quite tricky thanks to the various camera angles. It’s hard to see where you’re going and in the levels where you’re running towards the screen you better have lightning fast reflexes. The gameplay changes at times when you play as a different character. I was sad that the robot style gameplay only showed up for part of one level but that was certainly fun. Maybe it just comes down to the physics engine not being very good which messes with the jumps. I don’t know, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly but making the experience a little smoother would go a long way.

The graphics are excellent here. The character animations are often way out of model but I believe it’s on purpose. Sonic DX for example was very authentic in the graphics and it just so happened that it would become very humorous in the future. For this game I think they were trying to make it as out there as possible and I would say that it really succeeded. I love the designs and mixing that in with the dialogue is perfect. The scene where Cortex’s voice cracks as he talks to his teacher mixed in with the animation was brilliant.

The soundtrack can also be pretty fun. It’s a really crazy one for sure though. Sometimes you’ll have a very tropical theme and then you’ll quickly switch to something that’s pure rock. The changes happen quite suddenly and you can never guess what the next tune will sound like. The shock value may not be enough to make this one of the all time greats, but I would definitely call it a pretty solid array of themes.

There isn’t a lot of replay value here but enough to keep you going. Each level has some gems which look like Chaos Emeralds. So you can go back to the old levels and try to grab them. The hub world is also quite large so you can have a lot of fun exploring. I almost wonder why the game bothered with the hub world since you never really get to walk around it during the story. It was nice that they put in the effort to set it up though so that’s definitely pretty neat. I suppose I would recommend giving it a shot at some point. The game is pretty cheap so it’s well worth the purchase.

Overall, Crash Twinsanity is a pretty fun game. I do feel like the gameplay wasn’t very polished though and that’s what would keep it under the main 3 as well as the recent time travel story. You gotta have clean gameplay to accompany the rest of the title. Still, it’s a fun adventure. The game may be short but you should die enough times to stretch out the length a bit. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing how Crash fares in the next installments. It’s not like the enemies are going to be getting any easier so Crash will really have to focus himself. One thing’s for sure, this Bandicoot is never afraid of charging in since he can’t understand the danger.

Overall 7/10