Disclaimer: This review is of the Nintendo Switch version of  the game and was played primarily in docked mode. This copy of the game  was provided free of charge by the developer for review purposes.

When Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy was announced for the PS4, long-time Playstation fans were both shocked and amazed. Finally, a developer was going to give Crash Bandicoot  the love it was missing for so long since the IP was acquired by  Activision. However, the more incredible thing is that for the first  time, the entire Crash Bandicoot trilogy would be available on  non-Sony platforms. Particularly, die-hard Nintendo fans could finally  experience the trilogy on a Nintendo console. Aside from the fact that  Nintendo has claimed the head of another former rival mascot (first  Sonic, now Crash), portability for these games is also something that’s  great to have in theory.

The Switch port has everything intact from the PS4 version, along  with all additional content that was added after release but now with  portable capabilities. It’s nothing too special, but for those who’ve  never gotten to experience one of pioneers in 3D platforming, it’s a  very good treat.

Presentation that defines how remakes should be done

Image from Activision

Vicarious Visions, a developer with a long and storied history of  making shovelware, handheld ports, and Skylanders, does some impressive  necromancy reviving the long-dead Crash Bandicoot series. Considering the developer previously worked on the less-than-impressive GBA Crash Bandicoot  games, it’s clear that the developer’s history with the series  encouraged them to turn the remakes up to eleven. Each remake has  impeccable animation, sound design and music that brings the beloved  bandicoot back in a big way. Crash and Coco especially are incredibly  well-animated, with tons of personality into their faces and movements. I  may not personally be a fan of the Crash Bandicoot soundtrack,  but it’s a pretty faithful recreation. Then again, that’s all the same  from the original PS4 release of this title. What does the port add to  the experience?

The main draw of buying the game is either not having played it  before or wanting to play it portably on Switch. As someone in both of  those categories, this port has a lot of value. The main drawback is how  the game runs in portable mode. Although they put effort into making  the game run as smoothly as possible, menus are slow and choppy, and the  game runs at a lower framerate in portable mode. The game doesn’t  necessarily feel worse to play, but it is noticeably worse looking in  portable mode compared to docked mode. If that’s a dealbreaker, then  it’s not worth buying again for those who’ve played the game on PS4. The  experience is still definitely worth having for those who own a Switch  and haven’t played the game before.

One great game, one good game with flaws, and one game that’s absolutely infuriating

The best part about the N. Sane Trilogy is the fact is  contains three games for roughly $40-$60. That’s a pretty sweet value  for those looking for some bang for their buck. It should provide plenty  of game time, though some of the games are longer than others, and some  games are artificially lengthened by their difficulty.

Image from Activision

Each game is roughly the same platforming experience. Crash Bandicoot is a 2.5D series at its core, not really true 3D like Super Mario 64.  The levels are a series of 3D corridors and “2D” sections, based more  around getting through the level as efficiently and as cleanly as  possible, picking up any collectibles along the way, rather than  exploration. It’s a very welcome retro experience, and as someone who  loves retro platformers but never played Crash Bandicoot, it’s an  absolute joy to get to play these games.

Yet, the games are all fairly inconsistent, and especially as a whole  package it’s obvious which games are newer than the others. Even if  levels were selected at random from each game, it’d be pretty obvious  which ones belong to which game based purely on level design. Here’s a  quick overview of each game individually:

Crash Bandicoot: This game is a rollercoaster of  emotions. There’s something that just feels wrong with how the game  plays. It’s likely due to the fact that designing levels for a 3D space  was a new thing, and things like precision platforming sections were  still being done when the controls did not suit it. The game starts out  pretty standard, but the player doesn’t get very far before they are  given difficulty spike after difficulty spike. Even those who are  experienced with retro platformers will get curb stomped by levels in Crash.  It’s frustrating to the point of madness, but it is also very  satisfying when a level that has caused double-digit game overs is  finally conquered. This game is not for the faint of heart, and I would  actually recommend playing this one last, after getting accustomed to  the Crash formula and general level design.

Image from Activision

Crash Bandicoot 2: This game is the best of the  three. It provides a reasonable challenge, a variety of good levels, and  entertaining character moments that were missing from the first game.  Some levels start to feel pretty samey as the game progresses (in  particular, any of the sewer levels), but the game overall feels so much  better to play than the first. If there was a game to start with of the  three, it would be this one. Just trust that there isn’t much deep Bandicoot lore missed from skipping the first one.

Crash Bandicoot Warped: This game is another rollercoaster, but for different reasons. The traditional Crash Bandicoot  levels are probably the best in the series, with plenty of branching  paths and varying environments to make the game exciting to platform  through. The platforming sections are probably the easiest in this game  though, with game overs only occurring during the… non-traditional  levels. The worst parts of this game come from the vehicle levels and  the underwater levels. The underwater levels are okay but odd to play.  The vehicle levels are a nightmare to control. The first jet-ski level  is absolutely infuriating to control, and the second motorcycle level  creates frenzies of madness not seen since the first game. Overall, this  game is still very solid on its own.

In terms of how the game plays on Switch, it feels pretty great to  play with the Joycons in handheld mode, and the D-Pad isn’t bad for the  first game. The pro controller is much more fit to play these games when  the system is docked. The d-pad on the pro controller is nicer for the  first Crash, and the analog stick works better for Crash 2 and Crash 3. Again, it does feel slower in portable mode, but it’s not game-altering. The game is a perfect fit for the Switch.

The value of the port is the value of the port-ability

Image from Activision

This game is still a port of a game that’s still a pretty fresh  release. In a market where a majority of gamers either already own a PS4  and MAYBE have purchased a Switch recently, it’s a hard sell to say  that this game is worth it for those who have already played it. This  isn’t a case like Stardew Valley or Hollow Knight; the  game doesn’t really benefit that much from the portability. In fact, the  overall experience is worse in portable mode as a whole. That’s  something to consider if buying the game again is something desired.  Owners of both a PS4 and Xbox One probably don’t get much from buying  the game twice either. There is value in buying the PC version,  specifically to achieve 4K and 60 FPS. For the owner of a rig with the  right specs, the game is pretty worthwhile to buy again.

For those who do not own the game on PS4, don’t own a PS4, or have never played Crash Bandicoot  before, this game is an incredibly solid purchase that fits in with the  line-up on the Nintendo Switch. It’s not even weird seeing these  flagship Playstation games on a Nintendo console, Crash blends in pretty well with the Nintendo brand. Just, maybe skip portable mode for the Switch version. It’s cool to play Crash Bandicoot on the toilet, but maybe not optimal.





Images: WindowsCentral, Activision

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