Not finished yet but I don't see my rating going up or down over the rest of the game. An improvement over Crash 1 (can't speak to 2/3). The little moveset tweaks with the...hookshot woman..? Are pleasantly fun, subtly changing the way you view the levels enough to remove some of the fatigue that playing entirely as Crash has.
Still, the checkpoint structure in some ways feels less like a way to pace out the levels, than a hack for how much trial-and-error is required to learn the obtuseness of some obstacles. That obtuseness is created by too-shallow camera angle making it hard to judge depth, a problem which I thought we could have solved by the end of the 1990s! Yet it still plagues this game all over the place, from the chase sequences to the occasional enemy placement. That being said, the platforming and attack hitboxes are fairly generous so it's nothing a few retries can't fix, but it is still annoying because of how Crash level design tends to work (very precise sequence of inputs and timings to get through obstacles - thus if you fail at the end of a level design segment, you have to go all the way through the same boring inputs to try the end again.) This is especially annoying in the crate challenge levels (The flashbacks), which have interesting, difficult ideas, but often sandwich 3 or 4 ideas together in a segment before hitting a checkpoint.
When the levels feel good, there's a nice rhythm to levels and it's fun to see what the developers have done with visual theming (although it can be hard to read the environment at times.) Overall a mixed bag so far (with more good than bad) but the more tedious stuff (The time challenges, 100% crates) are optional which is fine (although it'd be nice if timed challenges were segmented rather than resetting when dying at the end of a stage.) Stages maybe feel a bit long, too...
Reviewed on May 18, 2022