Naughty Dog’s famous mascot, Crash Bandicoot, crashes (not sorry) onto the Nintendo Switch and Xbox One, with it being previously released for PlayStation 4, this time with a remaster of the three games that started it all packaged together resulting in the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy. Without further ado, let’s get into my thoughts on the 90s platforming icon.
Compared to the PlayStation 4 release, all three games are pretty much identical on the Switch. As expected, textures are downgraded slightly to account for the Switch’s inferior capabilities under the hood, and there is an occasional glitch in the way of graphics, but performance-wise, the games run practically perfectly on the Switch, making for an excellent port. I never came across any lag or drop of frame-rate in either handheld or docked modes. The controls are also up to an excellent standard, feeling just as good as any other console. Surprisingly, the loading times on the Switch are much faster than those of its PlayStation and Xbox One counterparts, probably due to the aforementioned graphical downgrades. In my opinion, platformers are the best genre of games to play portable, and the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy is no exception. The short but sweet levels are great for a quick 5-minute play session, and I believe that the Nintendo Switch is the perfect ‘platform’ in which Crash can shine.
The Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy contains the first three main instalments in the Crash Bandicoot franchise: Crash Bandicoot, Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back and Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped. The N. Sane Trilogy also comes bundled with additional levels, Stormy Ascent (Crash Bandicoot) and Future Tense (Crash Bandicoot 3). In the three games, Crash traverses through hallway-like levels repelling enemies and destroying boxes with his spin attack and jump. Crash 2 added in a sliding ability, creating new opportunities for the player. The third game is pretty much the same as 1 and 2 but with a bit more level variety mixed in. Not only will you be running through traditional levels as the loveable mascot, you will also take part in swimming levels, as well as commandeering vehicles, such as bi-planes, jet skis and motorbikes, meaning it didn’t feel like you were just playing the same game three times in a row. This isn’t the first time the character has been on a Nintendo console, with Crash of the Titans, Crash: Mind over Mutant and Crash Boom Bang being released on the Nintendo DS, but it is the first time an incarnation of the main trilogy has been released on a Nintendo console or any console other than PlayStation.
Crash Bandicoot has never been much in the way of story, especially in the original releases; the story for the games was pushed to the side due to its unimportance in the game as a whole. However, even though the story is unchanged (basically aiming to defeat Dr. Cortex, the evil scientist), the updated graphics add a certain depth to the characters, making the cutscenes and overall story ultimately more engaging. Gameplay in the Crash Bandicoot games is quite famously unforgiving, meaning that older newcomers shouldn’t be fooled by the game’s child-friendly aesthetic. While this is a game that is perfectly fine for young children, it can be enjoyed by a more mature audience due to its often infuriating (in a good way) difficulty. The sound design has had a major upgrade too, meaning the catchy soundtrack sounds better than ever thanks to its HD remaster. And it isn’t just the soundtrack that has been improved in the way of sound design. Even minor things, like the change in the sound of Crash’s footsteps when he changes from sand to stone, have been added in, and they make the game sound amazing. Despite the first Crash Bandicoot being a good game, it is definitely the worst of the three. This is purely because of its limited moveset and over-reliance on enemies instead of platforming challenges. The third entry also has its problems as the loose underwater mechanics make underwater levels overly frustrating, and the plane missions are just plain boring.
Overall, the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy is a great collection of games that show the evolution of the series throughout its main instalments, the games pack in enough variety so that they don’t become tedious, and the Switch’s slight downgrades from Xbox and PlayStation are barely noticeable, unless played side by side. The Switch is the perfect platform for this collection of games due to the quick levels and portability.
Developer: Vicarious Visions
Platforms: Nintendo Switch (also PS4, Xbox One, PC)
Release Date: 29th June 2018
Find out more information on Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy HERE
Alternatively, check out our review of another platformer, Sonic Forces, HERE