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Crash Bandicoot is more than just a household name – he was the PlayStation mascot in the ’90s. Naughty Dog’s stellar platformer gave Mario and Sonic a run for their money – just take a look at Crash’s early Playstation ads. It’s been almost 22 years since Crash Bandicoot: Warped came out and ever since Vicarious Visions brought its magnificent remake The N.Sane Trilogy into the equation, a proper sequel seemed more than likely. Finally, the long wait is almost over as we are approaching the release of Toys for Bob’s Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time. Thankfully, I did have the chance to try out the pre-order demo courtesy of Activision. From what I’ve played, this just might be what we have been waiting for all along.

Modern Classico

The demo consists of 3 levels of the game that showcase different powers of Crash and heck I even got to play as Neo Cortex for some portion in the third level –  it clicked with me. Completing these levels was no easy feat though, thankfully there are two playstyles to choose from – the modern mode and the classic mode. While things can be pretty challenging with limited lives in classic mode, the modern mode features a death counter with infinite lives without bending the learning curve that it takes to master its dynamic platforming.

The Snow Way Out

Speaking of levels, you start with the Snow Way Out which is an ice level that features Crash using his time-slowing abilities- thanks to his Time Mask. The ability to slow down moving ice blocks for a short period allowed for intricate and emphasized platforming. Despite these powers, things remain pretty tricky when it comes to making timed jumps.

There is also an alternate timeline featured for this level where you get to play as the villainous Neo Cortex who comes along with a whole new set of powers. He can freeze fishes and penguins alike and turn them into jelly-like trampoline – making some of the impossible jumps possible. The dash mechanic for the crazy scientist works quite well and it kinda makes him superior to his nemesis Bandicoot.

Besides Cortex and Crash, I didn’t have the chance to play as Coco as the demo does not feature her as a playable character. But as confirmed by the devs, Coco will have her own levels as she did in Warped once the game releases.

Dino Dash

The second level of the demo – Dino Dash presented me with some of the best chase sequences of the demo. The level is set in pre-historic times and Crash uses a Phasing mask to phase in and out of objects in this path while sliding off the long and luscious tree branches. But that’s not all – as you might have guessed it, there are dinosaurs and Crash has to flee from them jumping across moving platforms staged on top of melting lava.

This level felt quite long as well and I died a lot during the chase sequence. It felt very rhythmic and emphasized as I had to slide off of a platform moving in the opposite direction while dodging the obstacle from above, then jump on to the next one and do it all over again. And when that part got over, the T-Rex started chasing me and I had to jump off collapsing platforms while doing double and single jumps in mid-air. It did get tedious at times but I liked the challenge it offered.

Demo Impressions

Despite having only 3 levels, the demo offered a great deal of insight for what’s to come. With all the time-bending and phasing powers things are looking bright for Crash yet again. The levels offered me a great deal of challenge, all the platforms were moving at all times. If you are accounted to de-emphasized platformers like Knack, this game will give you one hell of a run. As for me, it did give me a hard time at the start but by the end, I did learn to stick with it. Besides this, the performance on my PS4 slim was pretty great – there wasn’t even hitch when it came to the framerate. Overall, the demo ran pretty smoothly and is pretty fun unless you fall to your death numerous times over and over again.

With that being said, I cannot wait for Crash’s long-awaited return when he lands on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on October 2. You can pre-order the game to play the demo right now.

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