The list of ports for the Nintendo Switch recently increased by not one title, but three in the form of the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy.
While the arguments around ports on the Switch do have some salient points, given the age of the titles here, and the fact that they were never available on Nintendo’s previous hardware, means that this trilogy is offering a bit more than your standard Wii U or PC port.
For your money you’re getting the first three games from the Crash Bandicoot series and, in this way, it offers some of the best value for money on the Switch.
While this will vary by where you live, the regional pricing, and what your local “Switch tax” is, we feel it offers a lot both in terms of the hours you’ll be getting, and the variety on offer.
Once you have the game installed you’ll find another boon for this specific console as most of these titles work well on the portable Switch.
The shorter levels play nicely into those instances where you’re putting in some time while standing in line or waiting in public transit, and the longer levels will also necessitate these breaks.
Yes as many came to realise these remasters retain that palpable difficulty from the originals that many people had forgotten about over the years.
When you get to a particularly difficult section, putting your Switch into sleep mode for a second will be a godsend and, as a total package, it works really well in portable mode.
While the gameplay and general structure of these titles works well here, the technical aspects certainly do not.
In handheld mode these games hover around 480p which, in 2018 after seeing titles like Doom run better, we find unacceptable.
Even on the small 6.2″ screen of the Switch the low resolution is very noticeable. The game looks drab even with its cartoon art style and certain elements such as text are severely pixelated.
Things improve somewhat in docked mode where it’s bumped up to 720p, but this is still not good enough. It’s just a shame that the developers put so much time improving these PS1-era graphics just to display them in such a bad way.
The trade off you get here is great framerates with all our hours between handheld and docked modes coming in incredibly stable. Even stages with extra particle effects – such as water splashes on ocean levels – could not bring it down.
Even if you’re not a stickler for resolutions and framerates, you will notice the shortcomings here. We recommend watching the Digital Foundry video below to see just how much of a downgrade you will experience on the Switch.
Trying to look past those Switch-specific problems and you’ll unfortunately not find any Switch-specific additions.
While we didn’t expect it for this title, there is nothing to persuade players with multiple systems to pick it up on this particular console, aside from the inherent ability to play these games on the go.
We would have loved to see some integration of the touch screen or Joy-Cons, but there’s none here. If you do own any of the other systems – or a PC where it may be cheaper, especially with Steam Sales – you may want to consider buying it there instead.
Once in-game, however, these titles will definitely tug on your heartstrings with a heavy hit of nostalgia.
From the second you start moving Crash around things already feel familiar and you’ll be clearing levels in no time.
This familiarity has the added benefit of accessibility. Turn this on at a party and, depending on the ages of your guests, there is a high chance that many will be drawn to it to have a game.
Here we think the Switch has another advantage as you can carry the games with you and give anyone you meet a try.
This is another slight bonus in this version’s favour, but it’s a small part when it comes to the overall experience.
The real problem is that there’s just nothing surprising or particularly inciting here, which is true for this trilogy in general and this port specifically.
Our best suggestion is to dig up that old PS1 or find a legal way to emulate it, and have a go for a few minutes. You’ll quickly find out if you really do want to play these titles again, or you were just associating it with good memories from the past.
If you’re compelled to play more after that, the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy is the absolute best way to do that. And, if you want to play on the go, this Switch version may be what you want, if you can tolerate the visual downgrade from the other versions.
These games are still quality titles and there’s a reason Naughty Dog was known for Crash Bandicoot before Uncharted existed.