Power Gems 10/175
Power Gems 10/175
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.
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.
Characters Unlocked 20/53
Game Complete 38% Complete
Gold Trophies 16
Gold Keys 4
Blue Keys 0
Gold Coins 0
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.
Play Time 3h 47m
It’s time to take a look at the new Crash game that just came out. It’s About Time was definitely a title that got a lot of hype because it has been a very long time since we got a brand new Crash adventure. Throwing in time travel is always a good idea and in the press releases before the game they were showing off quite a lot of content. You really couldn’t go wrong here and not surprisingly the game is quite fun. It’s a worthy successor to the other games and continues the series on a solid note. It’s not very long but I’d say it’s about average length for a platformer. Additionally there is a lot of replay value with the various bonus levels and reverse modes present. Those’ll help this game last for quite a while.
The game starts off with the villains working to escape the pocket dimension they’re in. Uka Uka is able to break the villains out but they leave him to die. Nefarious decides to mess with the timestream quite a bit so now Crash will have to gather 4 of the legendary masks to counter this. Fortunately Crash isn’t alone this time. He has his sister Coco and a mysterious new heroine to help him out in the quest. With time travel and alternate dimensions to factor in, this won’t be an easy adventure for Crash. Cortex also isn’t thrilled at how things are going right now so expect some big things to occur as the game goes on.
The plot is fairly simple but does throw some wrinkles at you. I do always enjoy some good time travel so this helped the plot get to the next level. For the most part the game doesn’t use any big trips to the past but near the end there is one chapter that delves into this a bit. It’s also my favorite part of the game because I really liked the banter here. Time travel opens up unique situations like that which are a lot of fun. The Crash games wouldn’t have a whole lot more to bring up since the cast isn’t huge so that helped them pick the best character to do this with right away.
Crash as always isn’t the best main character but I suppose he just isn’t able to think a whole lot. He’s certainly better here than in some other titles I suppose though. It’s hard for me to call him a hero since I don’t even think he knows what he is doing but at the end of the day he does help save the world in his own way so I have to give him some props there. His sister Coco looks good here as well. She is definitely the brains of the operation and being a playable character was certainly cool. The new heroine is the best of the heroes though. She reminds the others that sometimes fighting on your own is the best way to go about things. She’s certainly been through a lot and I would have been game with having her appear more. Perhaps even as a boss fight trying to get the main characters to give up their quest. One thing’s for sure, I’m hoping she sticks around for future games.
Then we have the villains. Nefarious is the main villain here as he definitely gets the biggest role. He’s fun although he doesn’t quite have Cortex or Uka Uka’s charisma. He’s one of the weaker main villains in the series. Fortunately Cortex gets a big role either way. You can never keep this guy on the backburner. He’s always got to force himself into the plot one way or another and he definitely makes sure to do that here. In some ways you may even feel bad for him here. He’s the kind of villain that is almost pretty likable because of the fact that you know he is doomed each time but he always keeps on trying. You have to at least give him credit for his resilience.
The gameplay here is pretty smooth. The levels are 3D Platforming types where you jump past obstacles and take down enemies while approaching the goal. As Crash you can spin and double jump as always. The other characters have different moves though like how the heroine has a grappling hook and Cortex just blasts his enemies into submission. There’s also another character whose moveset is pretty different. The game helps to give you a lot more variety with the movesets this way which is a good thing. They’re all polished as well so none of them were just squeezed into the title.
The graphics here are definitely very good as you would expect. Everything is in HD and the character models+stages really pop out at you. I was glad that classic Crash was a costume option as well. That was definitely pretty neat and as soon as I unlocked that I never went back. The soundtrack isn’t super memorable but the stage themes had a lo of variety. One sad thing is if you die in a level then the character’s dialogue in the background is cut off and you don’t hear it again. I feel like you lose out on a lot of dialogue if you lose quickly. This was probably to make sure you don’t get annoyed by a line playing over and over again if you die a lot but I feel like they should have it set up so that only happens if the line is completed.
Overall, Crash 4: It’s About Time is definitely very good. It’s really a complete Crash adventure and has all of the classic elements from the first games that you will enjoy. The levels are reasonably difficult so you also won’t just breeze past each level without difficulty. You’ll definitely have to work hard at this to make sure you pace yourself and have good fundamentals. Without that you certainly won’t be prepared to conquer this title. Hopefully they keep on rolling new Crash games eventually. There’s always more you can do with the series after all. Maybe we can have the team warp to a dystopian future next time but of course we need to have Cortex on the team for a quick team up with Crash. Then he’ll see once and for all how conquering the planet could put people in danger. It may even cause him to change his ways or at least I’m sure he could trick Crash about that.
It’s time to look at another Crash title. This one is the first portable Crash title I’ve played so I was ready to see what it was like. I did see him briefly in the Spyro crossover but I bought the Spyro version so I don’t recall if you actually played as Crash at all. Well, this game is solid and keeps in most of the gameplay from the console games. You can’t help but feel like it’s a pale imitation though. The Gamecube version was already short and this one’s even shorter which is a bit tricky to get around. I beat the game in a little over an hour which is pretty crazy. I guess there is a bit of replay value to work with here, but that’s still pretty crazy.
So the plot is that Cortex has come up with his latest invention to defeat Crash. It’s a device that shrinks the planet to the size of a grapefruit which sounds like a pretty sophisticated piece of equipment. I was certainly impressed at any rate. There’s a lot of pressure on Cortex because the Mask has warned him that he isn’t allowed any more failures. Cortex does tend to fail the guy a lot so you can understand where he’s coming from, but I personally think it’s a bluff to get Cortex working. Crash doesn’t have time to worry about that though. His goal now is to find a way to restore the planet back to its original size and save the entire planet. Can he do it?
The main gameplay here is that of a 2D platformer. You jump over obstacles and smash enemies as you head to the end of the level. At first you only have a few abilities like rolling, slide, jump, and spin. After each world you unlock new abilities though including the really handy double jump. The game becomes infinitely easier once you obtain this skill. That’s because almost the whole game is built around trying to get through it with 1 jump even to the final world so you’re in a pretty good position as a result. Just be warned that the second jump destroys your momentum in the air so be prepared to not cover as much distance as you might think with the jump.
The gameplay is definitely pretty fun. I think the Crash style is good at bringing in some difficult levels that will test your fundamentals without going overboard. Even the toughest of sections will be cleared before long. The game also has some other gameplay styles here like swimming. The underwater levels are greatly improved here from the Gamecube game so I’ll give the title some props there. It’s still not quite as fun as the traditional levels though. Then you’ve got the running to the screen levels. Those still seem to be a bit luck based if you ask me since you can’t see where you’re going. They’re fun enough though.
Finally you have the aerial levels which are definitely a lot of fun. You fly through the air and blast away at all of the objects that stand in your way. It can be hard to dodge the obstacles while still landing hits on the opponents. To that my best advice is to just stay in place while blasting. You can actually deal far more damage than they can so this works in all levels until the final aerial one. There you need to move a bit. So keep in mind that you still dodge minions but for the checkpoint bosses just stand still and blast away at them. It works pretty well. There is one world boss which is in this style and that one’s pretty fun. I recommend knocking out the machine gun on the bottom first since that makes the boss a whole lot more manageable.
When it comes to the graphics Crash looks pretty good. The character models are solid and the illustrations look nice as well. They make Cortex look even sadder than usual but that’s pretty much in character so I can’t really say that there are any issues there. The level designs don’t have a lot of variety though and it feels like the game re-uses the backgrounds quite a bit. Unlike the other Crash games where each world has a theme, pretty much every world in this game is either a forest or a science lab. I think more levels would have been nice.
When it comes to the soundtrack, it’s pretty fun. I wouldn’t say that any of the themes are all that memorable though. If anything the sound effects are really the memorable part of this game and you probably won’t be forgetting those anytime soon. As I mentioned, the length of the game is under 2 hours though so keep that in mind when buying this game. You can extend your playtime a bit though by going back to all of the levels and getting all of the collectibles. It sounds like that would trigger a bonus level or some kind of extra cutscene I suppose. Hopefully it’s something good because collecting everything seems like it would be pretty difficult and take a while.
There isn’t a whole lot of plot here outside of the opening although that isn’t really unheard of on the GBA. You’re in it purely for the gameplay after all. Hopefully the next game will have a bit more story though. As for the boss fights, they were all different so that was one of the best parts of the game. The most enjoyable boss fight would have to be taking on the giant fox as he jumped from platform to platform. It was a fun idea for a boss fight and I don’t believe I’ve fought one quite like it before. I always like seeing a creative new approach to a battle.
Overall, Crash The Huge Adventure is a pretty solid Crash game. It definitely could have benefited from a few more hours of runtime but what we do get is solid. It really just holds the game back a star, but that’s all. At the end of the day if a game is fun then it’ll still earn itself more of a decent star. Maybe if it was something even more excessive like 10 minutes that’d be another story like some of the NES games, but at around 1 hour it could be worse. I look forward to seeing how N’Tranced fares. It’s listed as being a little longer than the Huge Adventure so we’ll see if that is true as my Crash marathon continues.
Game Complete 30%