Titles speak volumes (with exceptions given for films like Michael Clayton) and Crash of the Titans lets you know right from the start that Crash Bandicoot is back for another silly, spoof-filled platforming adventure. The honesty of the game itself is welcome because it doesn’t try to appeal to literally every demographic under the sun. It never takes itself seriously, it wants players to be entertained, and the whole ordeal can be finished within a day’s playtime.
When is the last time you found all of those elements mixed together in one game?
It would help matters greatly were the game an epic adventure or even a monumental step forward for the franchise, but this is not the case. Once players take control of Crash they’ll find themselves facing off with an ever expanding army of increasingly weird mutants spread across an island littered with platforms and shiny objects to collect. It never deviates from this either, so once you play the first mission then rest assured you have pretty much played them all.
But the fun of the game is just that – you know what to expect so it feels like comfort food. It may not be particularly original or healthy for you, but it is relaxing and sometimes at the end of a long day that’s what matters more.
The world of Crash Bandicoot is a colorful world indeed. Even at night, the ethereal blues remind one of how James Cameron shoots night sequences in his films… alright, I’m being a snob. The game looks cute and the color pops in a big way, but it doesn’t make the PS2 break down crying uncle.
The main characters and especially the enemies are all expertly designed and created. A shout out goes to the designer of the Scorpilla, a cross between a pissed off Silverback gorilla and a scorpion, because that thing is wicked to control. The levels are well done, limited in scale though they are. The game creates no illusions that it is anything more than a linear platformer, but the world surrounding Crash is bright, colorful, and packed full of details.
The voice acting in Crash of the Titans is not simply atrocious. If it were, then it would be something players could at least tune out. But when the villain turns out to be an over-amped drama queen cranked up to an 11, and the rest of the cast speak in either platitudes or phrases so simplistic any third grader could come up with a better comeback, then the sound score suffers. Why?
Because when the reviewer suffers, the game must suffer. It’s the Yin-Yang of reviewing anything be it games, movies, art shows, fashion, or my sock drawer.
The sound effects are rather cheery, to be perfectly honest. While Crash runs through each level smashing, fighting, and collecting everything in sight, the sound effects are filled with a similar energy that borders on infectious. Thus this reviewer was confused because while playing the game I enjoyed listening to both the effects and the groovy music for each section but the second any of the characters started speaking I would hurl myself across the room at the remote.
Hindsight being what it is, I probably should have put the remote on the couch next to me but I’ll do better next time.
The controls are pretty solid and responsive for the most part through the game, which is helpful considering the speeds Crash eventually attains. You move with the left thumbstick and the right thumbstick moves the camera. The good news is that the camera is in a fixed position behind you the entire time so you don’t have to mess with it getting stuck on the level. Pushing on the right thumbstick slightly pans the camera right and left or up and down, but that’s all.
Jumping comes from the X button, the light attack is the square button, a heavy attack is the triangle button, and jacking a stunned enemy is achieved by hitting the circle button at just the right moment. The game always tells you what button to press at the exact moment you need to press it, exactly like God of War. Crash can also air grind by jumping into the air and hitting the R1 button.
The grinding part is where the controls aren’t the most responsive. Crash essentially snowboards across a level, down a chute, or into enemies but it feels like you’re swimming against the tide when you try to turn him from the direction he is headed. He will stop or turn around, but it is neither quick nor easy. This about the only knock I had with the controls, though considering how much of the game features air grinding one would believe this would have handled better.
As previously mentioned, Crash of the Titans is about as straightforward a video game as any I’ve played this year. Right from the start, you know everything there is to know about it and about what to expect. Minions of all shapes and ever-increasing sizes, dozens of platforms to hop between, tons of sparkling jewels to collect in order to power up fighting moves, it is all here and ready to go.
The game does ramp up the difficulty the further in you get, with more and more minions pouring into the combat arenas with several pals who tend to be bigger than previous enemies. I cannot point to a single instance where the difficulty went from easy to through-the-roof-insane and it does manage a nice progression as Crash grows closer to the head bad guys.
Crash runs, jumps, fights, and collects things. Each mission can be replayed upon the initial completion and Crash is graded on how well he performed. There are three things players need to keep in mind through each level and those are watching out for hidden spy camera robots, the number of combination hits Crash throws, and the number of smaller minions Crash defeats. Completing all three nets a gold statue and satisfaction that you have played a video game before. Kudos. In addition to the statues, there are a number of collectibles and unlockables per mission and some of them are exceedingly well hidden.
In the end, it all boils down to whether the game is fun or not and the answer is a resounding yes. Crash of the Titans is over the top, silly, and straightforward, but it isn’t trying to cure cancer and the developers knew that. It makes for a fun, if forgettable, weekend rental where you will walk away with a bigger smile than you might expect.
With plenty of collectibles and secrets to unlock, Crash of the Titans has a great deal of things to do. If you are in to collecting every single thing in every single level, then this game will help scratch that itch. Crash has tons of new moves to discover, each level has secrets worth hunting for, and the concept art and other unlockables are actually enjoyable to look at. The length of the game is somewhat short, even on the highest difficulty, but completing a mission lets you replay it. The game is somewhat refreshing because while short it is fun while it lasts.
Crash of the Titans is an extremely silly platformer when you smash things and collect lots of shiny jewels. There’s no great mystery here, no depth, no riddles, and very few puzzles. The game is up front at least regarding this and how it is there to let players have fun. It is commendable in a way since you know right from the outset that this is a game where you can just play. It is a lot of silly, good natured fun that, while not long in duration, provides a good time. If you’re looking to kill an afternoon with gaming, this is a solid choice.