|System: DS, X360, PSP, PS2, Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Radical Entertainment||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Activision / Blizzard||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Oct. 07, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Platforming as Crash also has some problems, mostly stemming from the games controls. As with most platformers, pressing B will allow you to jump and pressing it again once airborne provides you with a double jump. This allows Crash to reach higher platforms and jump larger gaps than would otherwise be possible, or at least it should. Trying to perform a double jump in Mind Over Mutant is sketchy at best, sometimes working like it is supposed to, while other times it feels like the game just completely ignores your second button press. Since much of this game requires precisely timed and executed double jumps, the fact that the games inability to register these necessary button presses causes you to fail becomes insanely frustrating.
Also falling into the frustrating category are the games treasure platforms and boss battles. Players will likely find treasure platforms while exploring levels, each transporting Crash to a timed run for a chance at an extra outfit. These outfits not only change Crashs look but can also affect gameplay by providing bonuses such as quicker attacks and higher jumps when worn. However, due to their extreme difficulty and the games constant double jumping issues, many are next to impossible to finish within their time limits. Boss battles dont fare much better, as they typically require you to use the most recently found mutants special ability to succeed. If your mutant happens to die before you are victorious, you will likely end up dead and need to replay through earlier levels to grab another mutant before giving it another go. Oh, and did I mention that the bosses are often cheap and typically deal massive amounts of damage with each attack.
For a DS title, Mind Over Mutant does an admirable job graphically. Similar to the style found in New Super Mario Bros., the game is a 2D platformer with fully polygonal character models. The mutants, Crash, and his many foes all look good even though their animations are extremely repetitive. Unfortunately, the choice to go with 3D characters frequently results in the game chugging a bit when there are a few on screen, which can also contribute to making jumps and attacks all the more impossible to time properly.
All these problems detract greatly from what would otherwise be a fairly enjoyable platformer. Most of the games levels are well designed, with plenty of hidden routes, treasures, and shortcuts to be found. The game even includes a few tacked on mini-games that are somewhat entertaining distractions and can be played with up to three friends, provided they all have a copy of the game as well. But in the end, Mind Over Mutant gets more wrong than it gets right, leaving anyone who picks up the game with nothing more than the aching feeling of buyers remorse. While I want Crash to recapture his glory days as much as any fan, his latest DS outing feels more like a missed opportunity than a return to form. If you like Crash, I would suggest avoiding this portable version and checking out Mind Over Mutant on a console instead.
CCC Staff Contributor