box_crashbandicoot In my opinion, Crash is one of the less appreciated kid-gaming characters out there.  Sure, we've all heard of Sonic and Mario, but Crash the Bandicoot?   Why not ?!

Crash of the Titans is the first Crash title that I've played (though my boys have played others) and I think I look forward to this one almost as much as my son. 

Sidebar Rant -- why are so many "family games" single-player only?
As I have shared before, I am constantly on the look out for truly Co-Op games that are family friendly.  There are so many family titles (especially the movie licensees) that boast multi-player, only to find out that the main storyline is single-player only, and there are some afterthought mini-games that are up to four players.  Some recent examples, all of which I would recommend for 7-10 year old single-players who liked their respective movies are:
 

  • Wall-E
  • Kung-Fu Panda
  • Bolt

All three do a really good job of taking you back to the movie and letting you be your favorite hero/heroine.  But none of them are multi-player, so their shelf-life in my house are somewhat limited.  These tend to be great for a few weeks after we've watched the movie -- and then they are less interesting.  

  • In Wall-E, you play as both Wall-E and EVE.  So, why not let mom/dad or a sibling play side-by-side?
  • Kung-Fu panda had the Furious Five backing him up.  Let us be one of those? 
  • Bolt has Penny, and you get to play as either of them during the levels - why not at the same time?


OK ... enough of the tirade.  Maybe now, you'll appreciate why when you find a really interesting Co-Op that is kid-friendly, you should embrace it and play till your thumb is sore and your achievement points are 1000 higher than when they started.  And with Crash - you can do that.

box_wallebox_kungfupandabox_bolt 

Overview
In Crash of the Titans (CotT), you are the beloved Bandicoot, and your arch nemesis, the evil Neo Cortex has once again decided to wreak havok on your world.  He has taken control of numerous small creatures and mutated them into his sinister minion.  All of them are cartoonish and not really scary, but lots of fun to wallop on.  When you beat up a bad creature (or many plants), you get magic orbs called mojo which serve to automatically amp up your new abilities.  You can either breeze through the levels or thoroughly whomp on every plant and creature in sight - depending on the fun-loving bandicoot in your family.  Along with Crash for Player-1, you have "Carbon Crash" (duplicate) for Player-2.  So, player-2 doesn’t have to play a wimpy sidekick, nor an all powerful parent character that is unbalanced.  Which brings me to my happiest part of this game - Co-Op. Crash-jacked

Very Innovative Co-Op
What makes the co-op in this really "innovative" (and you don’t get to say that often) is that one of the co-op modes (and default setting) is called "leap frog".  In this mode, every time that you jump and then land again, control switches from Player-1 to Player-2.  This can be lead to some chaotic battles when you are jumping and fighting - and both players have to be on their game the whole time.  

Of course, you can also switch to "backpack" mode where the majority of the time, both players can play at the same time, though other times, one player jumps in the others' backpack - usually for sliding or obstacle areas between battles.  This is especially helpful when one player is not as good on obstacles as the other.  The kid can get in Dad's backpack to get through the jumps and slides, and then both go back to playing again.  Or in my case, I jump in my son's backpack because after all of his Sonic games, he just has mad skills for some obstacle types so why not just let him do them (and it makes him feel good that he's doing it totally on his own).

How the Game plays
As you go through the game, you'll mostly beat up little bad guys.  But as you meet bigger monsters, you'll "jack" them -- as in "hijack".  As you beat on them, a dizzy star meter fills above their head.  If you stop when they are completely dizzy but before they explode into magical mojo, you can jack them, meaning that you jump on their shoulders and now control them.  Very handy for knocking through large obstacles and other key gaming events.   In fact, in bigger battles, it goes something like this:

  1. Start by beating on the small bad guys that rush you first
  2. Then, you and your co-player can team up to beat on one until it is dizzy
  3. One of you then jack's that one.  Sure enough, more of the biggies are coming too
  4. You who jacked the monster then whack on one of his friends until he is dizzy
  5. Then, your co-player jacks that one
  6. Now, you are both controlling biggies - so whack on the others.  And if you find a biggie monster that you like better than what you are currently riding, just whack it until it is just dizzy enough - and then jack over to it
  7. Repeat as needed while Giggling and Whooping.

Crash-COOP

Recommendations and Other Thoughts
It is full of action and a really immersive world of beautiful graphics.  Though I must admit that Crash does not entirely fit my normal "ideal family game" in that you are walloping on bad guys the whole time - so for those that oppose even "Tom & Jerry" style violence, this one is out.  And it doesn't have a TV show or other medium outside of the games. 

On the plus side, there are other Crash titles, including those for original Xbox which does play on the Xbox 360 courtesy of compatibility mode.  And most notably, since Crash of the Titans is already about a year or so old, its sequel "Crash - Mind Over Mutants" is already released (which appears to have the same style).  So, after my son and I finish CotT, you can count on us getting CMoM and you'll hear about it here when we get started.

As always, thanks for reading...