|System: PSP, DS, X360, PS2, Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Radical Entertainment / Virtuos||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. 21, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Crash does a lot of running, jumping, and punching throughout his quest. If a platformer can nail these mechanics, then it's already more than halfway toward a great game. However, it's in these basic fundamentals that Mind Over Mutant falters. One hang-up is the framerate it never is stable, continually slowing down and then only slightly ramping back up. This results in a delay between your button presses and Crash's actions. Not only does this interaction feel sluggish, it spells death plenty of times usually in the form of a missed jump. The lag in play is compounded by a weird decision to use the analog nub for two of Crash's critical moves: the spin attack and high jump. You have to twirl the nub in a circle several times before he can initiate these moves; it comes off as awkward, making it hard to perform game essentials. Why couldn't the developer map those moves to a two button combination? It would have definitely toned down control frustration.
Attempting to play off its platform deficiencies, Mind Over Mutant allows Crash to jack Titans. Once jacked, Crash can ride these beasts around levels. All of them have special abilities, like freezing water, allowing for safe passage. Some of these Titans actually add to the gameplay such as the orb-looking creature that can perform telekinesis. Others feel unnecessary, merely adding brute strength and look like they've been taken from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Tokka and Rahzar school of design.
Sonic has gold rings, Mario has coins, and Crash is all about the mojo. Whenever you hit certain levels of mojo collection, Crash is rewarded with either new moves or stat upgrades, such as increased strength. This mojo leveling system carries over to the Titans Crash controls as well. It's an interesting idea, but falls flat. Collecting plain old stuff was tedious back in the heyday of 3D platformers (the Nintendo 64 and PlayStation era), so merely attaching a new reward to it doesn't make it any more interesting.
Two things happen when a series has been going for as long as Crash: they either settle into a groove, giving gamers one successful title after another, or fall into a rut, diluting a once fruitful pool of creativity. With Crash: Mind Over Mutant, Radical Entrainment has shown that it can deliver the goods in the cutscene department, but this is a review of a game, not a non-interactive cartoon. Crash, a once center stage mascot, plays like an exhausted hero of yesteryear, and it may be time for him to take some time off the video game scene to recollect his once keen gaming senses.
CCC Freelance Writer