Crash: Mind Over Mutant
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this game is a satire. And while it can be a joy-inducing 3-D platformer game, the camera is static. That means younger kids and some older kids may be somewhat stymied by the inability to look around to find certain collectible items. Kids will experience mild cartoon violence including punching and shooting, but there's no blood. Parents will appreciate the anti-commericialism theme.
What's it about?
Fifteen games ago, Crash Bandicoot took the video game world by storm as Sony's mascot for the original PlayStation. For a while in the 90s, the strange, fearless Australian marsupial's popularity rivaled that of Sonic and Mario in the platformer department. But once Naughty Dog, the original developers, left the gamemaking to others, the franchise suffered. CRASH BANDICOOT: MIND OVER MUTANT offers a brand new parody that pits the protagonist against his goofy nemesis, Dr. Neo Cortex, a mad scientist who invents a PDA device that controls the thoughts and actions of mutants and bandicoots alike. For some reason though, Crash is immune. But his pals Coco and Crunch are not and they have become evil beings. Crash must save them and the rest who live on his island.
Mind over Mutant is a satirical running, jumping, and hitting game. As you move through Wumpa Island on varied missions that are all about the evils of too much consumerism, Crash talks to residents who have a '!' over their heads to garner gameplay information and move the story ahead. You have two attacks, one more powerful than the other as you block, dodge, and whack enemies, and collect what's inside crates to (most often) increase your health. You'll find lots of fun powerups and when enemies are defeated, you collect Mojo, which strengthens your resolve against some very huge and dominant bosses, called Titans.
Is it any good?
Perhaps the most innovative twist in the game is your ability to take over the Titans by stunning them, jumping on their backs, and controlling them as if you were a parasite who suddenly manipulates the host being. You'll sometimes have to work at this, but once you get them, you can shrink them down and put them in your pocket to use as a kind of arsenal. Titans also have impressive super attacks which you must use with prudence since one move drains your health meter for a while.
There's a good deal to like about the game, including the parody of comic books and the television show South Park. The voice acting is full of personality, and is on par with what you would hear in, say, a Pixar movie. And taking over those Titans is a ton of fun. But the camera is too static for nook and cranny exploring in a game that's just not that different enough to warrant complete glee on the parts of gamers. Because you can't look around, you'll inevitably miss surprises that are tucked away. Also, the game can display some noticeable jerkiness and slowing when a few characters are onscreen. Nor is there online play, just two player coop. Finally, you should be able to save the game a bit more frequently than you're allowed to do.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about what it would be like to take over someone's mind and body. If you could take over anyone's mind and body, whose would it be? What went into your decsision? Can you think of another game or book that is a satire?