Neo Cortex is back to his old tricks in Crash Bandicoot: Mind Over Mutant and it is up to Crash to solve the mystery and save the day again. Cortex has created mind control devices, with the help of N. Brio, that allow him to take control of both mutants and bandicoots. Lucky for the residents of Wumpa Island, Crash can’t be controlled by these devices and sets out to save the day with some help from his sister, Coco.
Magically, Crash can manipulate the mutants that are being mind controlled and jack into them and make them do his bidding to beat the baddies. This is where the “Mind Over Mutant” tag-line comes from. The mutants you take control of in the game range from bat type creatures to slime, armadillo, ghost and more. You will probably be playing at least 50% of Crash Bandicoot: Mind Over Mutant as one of these creatures. By adding this to the game Radical Entertainment was able to add more variety to the gameplay that may not have been possible if you were just Crash Bandicoot the whole time.
The storyline for Crash Bandicoot may sounds like a lot of other games you have probably played, but it is told with long animated cut scenes that are animated well and funny. The cut scenes even contain different animation styles and it seems like the developers hired different animators to create their version of Crash and his friends for each of the different scenes. Crash Bandicoot: Mind Over Mutant is actually pretty funny throughout the game and you will hear spoken dialog between the good and bad guys that will make you laugh. The voice acting throughout the cut scenes and in-game conversations is definitely polished and entertaining.
Mind Over Mutant’s music is light-hearted and fits within the wacky world of Crash Bandicoot. It is all instrumental with a synthesizer style to it and it should appeal to a broad group of people that like rock, techno, dance, theatrical, and other styles of music. It wasn’t distracting and you should enjoy listening to it while you played. Plus, if you don’t like the music then you can use your own custom soundtrack if you buy the Xbox 360 version of the video game.
Crash’s sound effects are also well done and as expected action platformer. You will here Crash Bandicoot spinning around and throwing punches and kicks, plus grunts, groans, and screams from the bad guys as you take them out. The sound of crates busting open and mojo orbs being collected is also a common occurrence and they all sound good. I don’t have much to complain about when it comes to the sound and music in Crash Bandicoot: Mind Over Mutant.
The graphics are another part of Mind Over Mutant that are well done and the backgrounds even have a watercolor style to them which fits into the Crash Bandicoot theme. Though, I have to admit that some parts of the game look a little plain and don’t seem to have that much detail, but I think it is more because of the camera being zoomed out rather than an actual problem with the graphics engine. The game has a very cartoony look to it and I think they went with a simpler graphics style to bring this animated world to life. The one thing that did seem a little limiting at times was that you cannot control the camera angle. This problem mostly sprung up when you were running at the camera as you back tracked through the levels.
This back tracking leads me into some of the parts of Crash Bandicoot: Mind Over Mutant that I didn’t like. The game has you playing in a somewhat open world that is on rails and this means you will have to traverse the levels in both directions. Don’t be surprised when you have to do the same switch puzzle to flip a block of ice at least four or five times to get from point “A” to point “B” and then back again. This back and forth process got a little old and it almost seemed like they did this to extend the length of the game. It started to seem like it was easier to make you play the levels both ways instead of making new levels. It is funny, but later in the game the one bad guy even says something like “you idiots have probably been running back and forth across the island” after he gives you access to a teleporter. This makes this part in the cut scene funny because you have been doing that, but it also lets you know that the developers knew that the running back and forth might get old.
Crash: Mind Over Mutant’s controls are decent, but I didn’t really like having to rotate the left or right analog stick to use Crash’s spin attack. I found it hard to pull off when I needed it and ended up using Crash’s kicks and punches instead, since I never knew if the spin attack would work on my first try. The rest of the controls worked well and each of the mutants you control were easy to adjust to and start using. There are even some mutants that allow you to aim with a cursor on the screen to fire and that control scheme worked well too.
The game features a two-player co-op mode that allows the second person to take control of Coco or control a floating mask that floats next to Crash. The second player controls Coco the same as you control Crash, but when in mask mode you follow along with Crash and are able to shoot chickens and a more powerful projectile if you spin the analog stick around five times. My wife and I tried this mode for a little bit and it was fun, but it got a little confusing when both of us were on the screen and trying to battle and take control of the mutants. My wife ended up staying in mask mode most of the time as we progressed through the levels. This co-op mode is a nice touch and allows a second player to join in on the action instead of having to just sit there on the couch next to you watching.
Crash Bandicoot: Mind Over Mutant is a hard game for me to score. It is a decent game and has good graphics, sound, and well done cut scenes. It also has a funny and entertaining story, but I just never could really get into it as much as some of the other popular platformers on the market that I have played. The game also got repetitive on occasion because of the going back and forth across the map. I enjoyed playing Crash Bandicoot: Mind Over Mutant, but it just didn’t do as much for me as some of the other games in the genre that have been released recently. If you are a Crash Bandicoot fan then you should enjoy the game and playing it brought back memories of the original PlayStation game. If you like platforming games and have tried some of the other popular ones and you still need more platforming goodness, then Crash Bandicoot: Mind Over Mutant might be worth checking out.
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