It’s hard to believe that one of the best-selling games on Switch this year is with Playstation’s own mascot from the early PS1 era, Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy.
But when you spend some time with Vicarious Vision’s Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy, spinning past lizards, running away from boulders and ducking under bats, it all becomes clear pretty quickly.
Crash has aged better than any of us expected and Nintendo Switch is the perfect home to relive it on.
Didn’t this already come out?
It did, but it was a PlayStation exclusive up until last month. Now, however, Xbox One, Switch and PC owners can also join in the fun ahead of the release of the Spyro Re-Ignited Trilogy this September 21.
For starters, two brand new levels have been added to the game since its initial release. These are Stormy Ascent for Crash Bandicoot and Future Tense for Warped and neither were never available in the original games.
You only need to spend a few minutes on them to find out why, though, as the difficulty is brutal! Certainly a challenge for even the most hardcore Crash fan.
But all three games in the Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy have been given a completely new lick of paint, new sound effects, remastered music, all while keeping the same spirit and style of the classics they were originally based on. And the beauty of Crash is, somehow, it makes everyone want to play.
Even my partner who no longer games because she suffers with tendonitis and weakened wrists, chose to fight through the pain for a few hours just because she wanted to relive her childhood on Hog Wild and in the bonus stages.
Crash has this irresistible lure and charm that, even after all these years, keeps you hooked to the screen. At the time, there was nothing else like it and that sent the PlayStation’s popularity into the stratosphere. Even to this day, nothing has quite been able to do Crash quite like the Marsupial himself.
And the lure of Switch, of course, is the portability of it all. Suddenly, these amazing games that Naughty Dog put together all these years ago, playable exclusively on your television set, can now – almost – fit in your pocket.
Fortunately, the games run like a dream whether your Switch is docked or in the palm of your hands. Certainly, there are some visual downgrades compared to playing it on your TV set and the game runs at 480p in handheld, compared to 720p on the big screen.
Some textures have been removed or downgraded a touch for the Switch version, so it’s not the best looking version on the market. But really, if anyone expected different then that’s more on them.
The good news is that Vicarious Visions have made some clever and smart optimisations to not only get the most out of Switch but in some ways make the game feel closer to the original than all the rest.
Having already owned the PS4 version and played it there, I find myself returning to Crash on the Switch more often and enjoying my time with it there. The Pro Controller feels better suited to the experience for one and Crash just works perfectly as an on-the-go experience.
There are changes to the original release as well, for instance the loading screen times have been greatly reduced and the frame rate is more stable to make a more slick, responsive experience on the whole.
Which version should I get?
I think that totally depends on your preference. If you’re looking for the absolute best experience you can find on the market, the PC version is the way to go with higher resolution and textures, especially since console versions of the game are capped at 30FPS.
My personal preference, however, is Switch, as it’s become my go-to platform to experience most games over the last six months due to its convenience and quality.
Wherever you decide to play Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy, though, you’ll find one of the best ever designed remasters on any system at any point in time. Vicarious Visions have been incredibly faithful to Naughty Dog’s original vision but have also ensured this remaster fits modern systems like a glove.
And impressively, the game does still hold up well mechanically. No, it’s not the best platformer on the Switch with the likes of Odyssey and Tropical Freeze topping the pile, but Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy feels fresh at every turn and it also puts a lot of other modern platformers to shame.
Of course, there are some design elements which do feel a bit dated now and the slightest misstep can mean insta-death multiple times over. There are inconsistent rhythms in some of the timings, especially when bouncing between boxes in the bonus stages, and accuracy does sometimes leave a bit to be desired.
But there’s no question that Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy is a very welcome sight on a platform not owned by Sony. The Switch version has exceeded my expectations in almost every conceivable way and Crash still remains one of the finest examples of platform gaming from the 32bit era. A must own.
+ The Aesthetic is perfect
+ So much content for your money
+ Great for nostalgists and newcomers
+ Switch portability is an absolute gamechanger
– Some design elements are dated and inherited
– Timing and precision can sometimes feel a bit off.
– Switch has some visual sacrifices compared to other versions
Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy Review
8 out of 10
Tested on Switch
Code provided by the publisher