Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time is a platformer developed by Toys for Bob and the eighth installment in the Crash Bandicoot series. It is the series' first original platforming title since 2008's Crash: Mind Over Mutant, and is a direct sequel to Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped, using a similar art style to Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy (though with some changes in character design).
In the aftermath of Warped's events, Dr. Cortex, Uka Uka, and N. Tropy were left stranded in time and space with no way out... but of course, that didn't stop the villains from trying. After decades of fruitless attempts, they eventually escape their makeshift prison. But there's even worse news— namely, the fact that in the process, they tore a hole in the space-time continuum, which not only exposes an entire multiverse, but puts all of it at terrible risk. Crash and Coco Bandicoot catch wind of this disturbance and set out to fix it by traversing the many universes to gather the four Quantum Masks; their powers will not only repair the rift, but aid the two on their journey. All the while, Cortex and his associates endeavor to stop them so that the multiverse can be theirs for the taking. Where will this adventure take them? One thing's for sure: it's gonna get weird.
It's About Time for tropes:
- The '90s: The time period that Crash and Coco are living in. Emphasised by the use of "The Rockefeller Skank" in the announcement trailer.
- Adaptational Badass: Most times, Cortex doesn't really fight without some sort of gadget enhancing himself. Here, he full on platforms as a player character, with the gadgets used being supplementary ones; a laser that creates platforms, and a booster that briefly gives him an air dash.
- And Your Reward Is Clothes: Completing various challenges and collecting gems awards you with various skins for you to change Crash and Coco into.
- Another Side, Another Story: Some levels are ones that Crash and Coco go through, but from the perspective of Cortex, who actively tries to get rid of them by triggering some background elements.
- Anti-Frustration Features:
- Since collecting enough Wumpa fruit in a level now has its own reward, fruit collected from breaking crates will now automatically gravitate towards Crash, and unlike previous games, Crash cannot spin fruit away.
- There is now a bright yellow circle beneath Crash and Coco whenever they jump to show where they're going to land.
- The game introduces an alternate "modern mode" which grants infinite lives and continues, making level progression more beginner-friendly.
- Anti-Gravity: Ika-Ika, one of the Quantum Masks shown in the trailer, allows Crash to shift his gravity and walk on walls and ceilings.
- Arrange Mode: N. Verted Mode is essentially this, as the levels are not only mirrored, but also have their visual presentation altered, the physics are changed in a specific way for each one, and all the Wumpa Fruit are replaced with a new collectible known as Bumpa Berries.
- Art Evolution: While the base art style of the game remains the same as the N. Sane Trilogy, trailer pictures show that the main characters' designs have been tweaked slightly.
- Crash's mouth is covered in light-orange fur like the front of his body, rather than pinkish skin. His mohawk is more exaggerated, being large tufts of fur rather than a shorter split line. His ears are also slightly bigger and his teeth smaller, complete with other tweaked facial features that make him look more handsome and less goofy than in previous games.
- Coco's face is also furred like Crash's, and her mouth is positioned on her snout instead of below it. She wears goggles on her head instead of a flower, and her overalls now have a heart-shaped patch on the right knee.
- Cortex looks mostly the same, but his hair now wraps around his head instead of being two separate tufts.
- N. Gin's head went from a skull-like shape to something slightly more rounded, and one of his arms has a mechanical glove over it.
- Dingodile now has green crocodile scales going all the way up his spine as opposed to just on his tail. He also has a black vest, blue jeans with a patch on the knee, and is overall more bottom heavy.
- Bullet Time: Kupuna-Wa, one of the Quantum Masks shown in the trailer, allows Crash to slow down time to dodge obstacles or enemies.
- The Call Knows Where You Live: After the previous game, Dingodile retired from villainy and set up his own diner at a bayou. Unfortunately for him, he gets dragged into the action once again, when said diner gets wrecked and he falls into a dimensional hole shortly afterwards.
- The Cameo: In Snow Way Out, Penta Penguin appears frozen in a block of ice in the water, although unlike past appearances, he's a rockhopper penguin as opposed to a more standard one.
- Canon Discontinuity: If calling it Crash Bandicoot 4 isn't enough indicationnote , the reveal trailer confirms that It's About Time takes place directly after Warped and before any of the post-Naughty Dog games. That's on top of Crash and Coco claiming they only stopped Cortex three times at the end of the trailer. Though the developers have stated in an interview that the post-Naughty Dog games still exist in some form and may have some impact in Crash 4's adventure.
- Doomed Hometown: Downplayed; the scientists' space-time meddling leads to Dingodile's diner being destroyed.
- Double-Meaning Title: The subtitle "It's About Time" refers directly to the time-hopping premise of the plot but also the fact that a new game in the traditional Crash Bandicoot style, or in fact a new game in the series in general, has been long overdue.
- Good Morning, Crono: Crash, who is sleeping on his couch at the beginning, gets woken up by Aku Aku. Loudly.
- Grind Boots: The reveal trailer shows Crash grinding and hanging off of rails.
- HeelFace Turn: According to the State of Play trailer, Dingodile went through one and opened a diner. It being destroyed plays a role in his story arc.
- Hollywood Cyborg: The timed exclusive Serious Upgrade skins on the Playstation 4 version turns Crash and Coco into these.
- Huge Holographic Head: Cortex taunts the heroes using a holographic projection of his head. The trailer shows that his hologram is tinted green, whereas in Cortex Strikes Back it's semi-transparent but colored normally.
- Interface Screw: The brand-new N. Verted Mode completely alters the visuals and adds variants to the gameplay, such as spinning to splash color paint on a black-and-white stage.
- Kubrick Stare: N. Tropy gives one of these in a cutscene.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: A cutscene shown in the reveal trailer jokes about how the game takes place before the many games developed after the PlayStation trilogy.Lani-Loli: How many times have you beaten this clown anyway?
Lani-Loli: Really? Only three?
Lani-Loli: Funny. Seemed like more.
- Mask of Power: This game introduces four new mask characters, dubbed the "Quantum Masks" on the game's official website. Rather than providing extra hitpoints like Aku Aku, they act as special power-ups for the level. The reveal trailer shows the effects of the green mask, Ika Ika (the ability to shift Crash's gravity onto certain surfaces) and the gold mask, Kupuna-Wa (the ability to slow down time and speed Crash up). Gameplay from press demos demonstrate the effects of the blue mask, Lani-Loli (the ability to phase between worlds and turning certain objects and obstacles on and off).
- Mythology Gag:
- Just like the original fourth game in the series, It's About Time introduces four different living masks as supporting characters, as shown in website art and the trailers. Unlike the Elementals from Wrath of Cortex, the Quantum Masks in this game are on Crash's side and grant him special powers.
- Alien engineer enemies in space-station themed levels are Gasmoxians, the same species as Crash Team Racing villain Nitros Oxide.
- One setting visited is a post-apocalyptic wasteland with graffiti all around, similar to the Rustland theme from Crash Team Racing: Nitro Fueled's Megamix Mania track.
- Crash's shoes have treads on the bottom shaped like paw pads, not unlike his sneakers from his design first seen in Crash of the Titans. Coco meanwhile has goggles resting atop her head, referencing her own Mind Over Mutant design.
- Crash's pants are very similar to his scuba gear from Warped.
- The game starts on N. Sanity Beach, just like in the first game. In addition, the purple surfboard seen there bears a tribal tattoo pattern, and the fridge has "C R U N C H" spelled with fridge magnets.
- One of the unlockable outfits seen in the State of Play trailer is Crash's biking costume from Warped.
- Dingodile owning a diner goes all the way back to the motorcycle levels from Warped, which featured Dingo's Diner on the side of the road. The same diner was also featured in the Nitro-Fueled version of Dingodile's home track, Dingo Canyon.
- Powered Armor: The reveal trailer shows that the Quantum Masks convert themselves into suits with Tron Lines to grant Crash their powers. Instead of covering his face like Aku Aku does, the Quantum Masks stick to Crash's back while he's using the suits.
- The Power of Rock: N. Gin's boss battle has him control a robotic drummer.
- Promoted to Playable: After appearing as the non-playable Big Bad of the N. Sane Trilogy, Cortex is now a fully playable character in his own right for the first time since Twinsanity.
- Dingodile becomes playable for the first time in a main game, trading his flamethrower for an air cannon.
- Sequel Escalation: Compared to Warped. While the former's theme was time travel, this game naturally expands it to an entire multiverse.
- The N. Sane Trilogy allowed players to play as either Crash or Coco with the ability to switch between them in the hub sections of each game. This game, on the other hand allows players to switch between Crash and Coco at any time, even in the middle of a level.
- Certain levels in Warped changed Crash and Coco's outfits into those fitting whichever time period or environment they were in, like a biker or an airplane pilot. Here, a lot of costumes can be unlocked and they can be used in every level.
- Sneeze Interruption: In Cortex's version of Snow Way Out, he sets up a big pile of dynamite inside a ship, which he intends to detonate when Crash walks on it. However, he sneezes due to the cold weather and hits the button too early, which is why, in Crash's version of the level, the dynamite detonates before he gets to it.
- Totally Radical: Buying the game digitally gives you "Totally Tubular" skins for Crash and Coco, deliberately throwing back to the 1990s which the game takes place in.
- Villain Protagonist: Some sections have you playing as Cortex.
- Weapons That Suck: Dingodile has traded in his Flamethrower for an air cannon. Not only can it pull objects towards him, but it can push him up into the air to cross large gaps.