Having grown up in the 90’s, I can remember the fierce debates that used to occur on the playground over which was better, the PlayStation or the Nintendo - which often boiled down to Crash Bandicoot or Mario . At the time, it was an argument which seemed timeless, like in 50 years we would still be raging over the strengths and weaknesses of the PlayStation 10 and the Nintendo 640. Certainly, the idea of ever playing the PlayStation mascot on a Nintendo console was akin to blasphemy.
Yet, here we are two decades later, and the core Crash Bandicoot titles have graced a Nintendo console for the first time. Of course, in the interim years, Crash became a third-party IP and so Nintendo consoles have seen a variety of Crash spin-off’s. But, the games contained in the N. Sane Trilogy were the ammo with which the PlayStation team fired – so, for a 90’s fanboy, this feels like a significant moment.
As for the quality of the trilogy on the Switch, it mirrors almost exactly the strengths and weaknesses of the package as it released on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 last year. It is still sharp and stylish game artistically and graphically but carries all the same issues around the challenge of its platforming.
In my review last year, on the platforming, I wrote:
“The games' central pillar of platforming does not hold up well by modern standards. When considered beside something like the new Rayman games, the Crash games rely more on manufactured difficulty than complex mechanics or skill. The moments you die most frequently are not cleverly designed challenges, but platforms placed just too far away. This makes just getting through levels frustrating, and the ‘No Death’ challenges downright infuriating.”
The issue around where the difficulty of a Crash game comes from is not fixed in this Switch port – the perspective and layout are still a frustrating cause of 90% of the deaths you will experience. However, I did find that playing the game in handheld mode while watching TV makes the whole experience far less frustrating. Without my full and undivided attention, the semi-grind of completing some of the games more difficult challenge were far less exasperating.
One of the big issues I highlighted in my initial review were long load-times. I haven’t experienced this in the Switch port, and it seems that the issue has also been fixed in the PlayStation 4 version – so it was obviously an issue that was cleared up with a post-release patch.
A small, but appreciated, difference in the Switch port is its usage of the HD rumble. In particular, the fact that for every Wumpa fruit you collect it does a micro-vibrate – which makes running through a crowd of the fruit a cool feeling, as the controller vibrates for every individual Wumpa.
I have added a point to my initial score of the trilogy, because the difference quicker load times makes is significant in a game which often requires you to quit out and load back into levels. The experience of playing a game like this on the handheld mode of a Switch is also a joyous one and has lent to me having more fun with these games than I ever have before.