Question. What has orange fur, oversized blue trainers and likes to eat wumpa fruit in between jumping around floating platforms and collecting concept art? It's Crash Bandicoot. You all knew that, of course. Second question. What has orange fur, oversized blue trainers, rocks tattoos on both arms and spends his free time jacking animals? Um, it's still Crash Bandicoot, bizarrely.
Crash Is Punk Rock
Besides the expected image overhaul, which has thankfully fallen short of giving Crash 'attitude' by arming him with embarrassing one-liners, it's the ability to 'jack' animals that helps distinguish Crash Of The Titans from the usual everyday platforming fare.
It sounds rude but the truth is family friendly. While you still spend the majority of your time bouncing from hovering platform to hovering platform, using only your shadow to guide you away from another infuriating instant death, there are puzzles and bosses thrown in that need something extra. It's an excuse for you to find the most powerful creature in that area, punch him in the mouth until he's stunned, then jack him by jumping onto the back of his head and taking control. Different creatures have different abilities - some are good fighters, some can destroy pillars and some can shoot distant targets with the bizarrely named Gambler's Hand, which, oddly, doesn't involve any gambling. Or even a gambler.
It sounds like a way of disguising the
old 'find the blue key for the blue door' routine, as you're instead forced to hunt the big creature to smash down the big wall. Fortunately, the creatures are always nearby the puzzle you have to solve, so it's more a case of figuring out what they do, rather than where to find them lazily scratching their backsides. In short, less hunting, means less frustration, means more fun, means you're happy.
Solving the puzzles is actually pretty good fun too, whether you have to smash up nearby pillars to defeat bosses or hit distant targets to open doors. They're not an absolute barrel of laughs to the point where you'll be calling up friends, saying "hey, come round my house, let's do these Crash puzzles!" but they're infinitely more likely to raise a smile than a couple of lonely hours spent with the Bumper Book Of Sudoku.
Creature jacking aside, Crash Of The Titans conforms to all your standard platforming clichés, it's just done in a slightly more competent and polished manner than the also-rans that clutter up the genre.
The Great Book
Just barely complete long leaps of faith
and Crash will cling to the ledge by his fingertips before hauling himself to safety. Leave Crash alone for long enough and he'll go into canned 'comedy' animations. The concept art that you can unlock is still uninspiring and completely pointless. It's every cliché in the Great Book Of Platforming Law, plucked from its tattered pages and wrapped up in a competent, polished package.
It's safe to say that Crash Of The Titans isn't going to send the games industry spinning off its axis with shock and horror with its rampant innovation or startling creativity. Instead, it just offers you a familiar hand through comfortable, well-worn territory. Whether you want to join Crash or not depends on how many times you've played a coin-collecting, platform-jumping, art-unlocking platform game over the years.