Crash Bandicoot's The mutant's latest DS outing is a competent platformer, but just barely.
Prior to playing this game, I reviewed the Wii version of Crash: Mind Over Mutant. While I was playing it for the DS, I was reminded of one of the big concepts of the game that bothered me: the mutants. In both versions, you are not encouraged to ever play as Crash Bandicoot, the supposed star of the game. You can’t beat bosses as Crash because you need to find a mutant. You can’t get through this level because you need a specific mutant. The title character is nothing more than a pilot, which is a fundamental design flaw that almost ruins the game.
However, despite its focus on mutants, Crash: Mind Over Mutant is a competent 2D platformer. There’s nothing innovative about it, but it is an enjoyable platformer that can be played in short bursts. The controls, which are introduced during a nice pop-up tutorial, employ simple button commands and different moves for each mutant. The touch-screen doesn't do too much besides act as an ever-present menu screen, used to switch between Crash and whatever mutant you're using at the time.
Mind Over Mutant's levels are separated into different worlds, with each one culminating in a boss fight. Players choose a level on an overworld screen, much like Super Mario Bros. 3. The level design isn’t anything special, offering little in the way of surprises and getting boring quickly. You can usually just jump through the levels as Crash very quickly, but this tactic must be abandoned when you’re forced to slow down and control one of the extremely sluggish mutants. Again, the mutants are too much of a focus, dragging down the entire experience.
Crash: Mind Over Mutant is a competent platformer. While it leaves much to be desired in terms of depth and level design, fans of the titular Bandicoot or starved DS platform lovers may enjoy it. Others should pass this one by.