A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
This third-person action game is about traveling through time to stop enemies from taking over the universe. It's a comical game that doesn't take itself too seriously. There aren't any overt messages here. You're tasked with defeating evil, which is positive (but you can play as the bad guys, too, if desired).
Positive Role Models
You play as Crash or his younger sister, Coco, in an effort to find four Quantum Masks, the guardians of space and time, to restore order to the universe. You can also unlock and play as the bad guys, too, if you like, including Dr. Neo Cortex, Dingodile, and others. The main hero, Crash, seems like a good guy, but there isn't any depth to assess his true character.
Ease of Play
The game's easy to pick up and play, even for beginners. Tutorials teach moves early in the game (with on-screen prompts).
Violence & Scariness
There's cartoon violence, but no blood or gore. There are cartoon weapons used by the bad guys, such as pistols and bombs, plus explosive TNT crates. Crash and other characters can smash into rocks, fall off a cliff, or get "killed," which causes the character to disappear (to imply death). Much of the combat is reminiscent of Road Runner or Bugs Bunny cartoons.
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Products & Purchases
There are references to other Crash Bandicoot games and nods to other PlayStation titles, like a Spyro the Dragon floatie seen on a beach or a Mardi Gras balloon in another level. There are no downloadable content (DLC) options. This is the latest chapter in the Crash Bandicoot franchise.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time is an action adventure game for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. This is the latest game in the Crash Bandicoot franchise, and it even references other games like Spyro The Dragon. You play as marsupials, Crash and Coco Bandicoot, out to collect masks to stop enemies from tearing about the universe. You can also unlock and play as some of the other characters, including a couple of the bad guys. There's plenty of animated cartoon violence, but nothing that should concern parents as it's not realistic, bloody or gory. But there are cartoon guns, bombs, explosive dynamite crates, and more.
Is It Any Good?
Fans of the original games (released as a trilogy in 2018) and newcomers alike will fall for the charm of this colorful platformer. While it remains faithful to what made this series so popular -- accessible gameplay, responsive controls, imaginative (and varied) environments and high replayability -- Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time introduces clever ideas, multiplayer support, and a ton of collectibles, secret areas, and more. As you embark on this time-traveling adventure -- with the story told through several cut-scene sequences -- you'll visit worlds ranging from Road Runner-like desert environments and futuristic cities to prehistoric lush jungles and underwater scenes. And it's not just a cosmetic change, but the goals and many of the gameplay mechanics change as well to keep the gameplay fresh. The quantum masks you find, when activated, will also give you new abilities in the level, which adds even more fun. At the end of each level, you'll see how many items you've collected (in case you want to go back and do a better job), while also unlocking Time Trials, extra costumes, and more. And why not go back and play as Dr. Cortex, Dingodile, Tawna, Coco, and others? Each character adds something new, too.
While the game can be picked up easily by younger or novice players, some levels may frustrate you as you die again and again (hopefully after crossing a Checkpoint) until you master the moves or timing just right. While you might want to throw you controller on occasion, it doesn't make you want to abandon the game altogether. Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time is the sequel gamers want: It doesn't mess with the original formula but provides enough new features and variety to keep you engaged for hours on end.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.