The name “Crashlanders” has a nice ring to it, don’t you think? Or at least that’s what I though a few years ago, convinced Activision would eventually seek another gaming icon to spice up its toys to life series.
If you’ve been following Skylanders Imaginators on its road to release then, chances are, you will have spotted a certain bandicoot pop up here and there. He’s far from being the main drive behind this latest instalment, though his inclusion is more than a throwaway cameo.
Those who pick up a copy of the game on PlayStation platforms will be able to go out and buy an official Crash Skylanders figure to whack on their portals. Within seconds he’ll appear in-game, ready to throw down with a familiar set of moves.
It’s hard not get drawn in by the actual toy design itself. Over the years, Toys For Bob have continued to refine their sculpts, focusing on bigger, more dynamic characters that look more like action figures. They’ve also moved away from the slightly unattractive glossy finish found throughout its earlier Skylanders product range. Crash in particular has a matte texture that, while more prone to scuffs and marks, looks far better in terms of quality.
To fit in with game’s sizeable roster, Crash needed a suitable element and battle class. Given his wild nature and jungle abode, the life element was an easy fit, as was the brawler battle class. Starting out, his base move set consists of punch and spin attacks as well as a handy slide kick. As you level up, however, he’ll call upon his witch doctor chum Aku Aku for help as well as an assortment of TNT crates. Overall, he’s not terribly versatile but still fun to play nonetheless.
Of course, what most fans will want to know is whether this is the same Crash Bandicoot we fell in love with all those years ago. In response to that, there’s no straightforward yes or no. Although his voice – amounting to little more than incoherent grunts – is grating at times, I found his portrayal to be fairly accurate. Naturally, there will be others who aren’t so keen on the redesign, though few will lament some of Crash’s more recent iterations.
Dr. Neo Cortex also makes a notable appearance as well, both in-game and as a playable character. He looks and sounds almost exactly how fans of the old platformers will remember and, like Crash, never feels out of place when placed alongside other Skylanders.
There’s also a PlayStation-exclusive level to look out for. Dubbed “Thumpin’ Wumpa Island” it’s the ultimate Crash Bandicoot homage with plenty of familiar imagery and an awesome boulder chase. The island pulsates in sync with the game’s soundtrack as its denizens prepare for an event that only happens once every twenty years. (Get it?)
If you’re torn between which version of Skylanders Imaginators to buy, the bonus Crash content on PlayStation should help make your mind up. Aside from having a neat looking pair of figures lining your shelf, there’s a warming sense of nostalgia you simply won’t get playing the game on Xbox One or Wii U.