Crash Bandicoot N’ Sane Trilogy review for Nintendo Switch

Platform: Nintendo Switch
Also On: Xbox One, PC, PS4
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Vicarious Visions/Toys for Bob
Medium: Digital/Cart
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: E10+

Rose tinted glasses are are a heck of a thing. I remember when I was in high school, playing the Crash Bandicoot games thinking they looked amazing. Even when starting into the N. Sane Trilogy bundle, I thought–hey, I remember this scene.

Looking back, I didn’t remember very well–because while the art design has held up great, the technology of the time barely handled it. Fractured, low-polygon everything… Textures that were either blurry, far away to hide the low resolution, or just plain fuzzy…

It’s a good thing the art design held up really well, because the HD remaster done on this collection makes the game pop. Visually, it’s a really solid recreation. Everything looks how you’d figure it should, a cartoonish and sometimes garish pastiche of platformer elements and sceneries that just works.

However, as much as the visuals and audio have been improved–the somewhat-janky controls and physics are still around. Ledges are sometimes at a misleading depth, thanks to the isometric view that can hide the game’s true perspective. Getting to a ledge and slipping off the side, it’ll happen a lot. Jumping, hitting that ledge, and still somehow falling, occasionally.

But such are the trappings of a PSX era game, built to run on some ancient hardware at a time that three-dimensional anything was a brave new world. What’s new, though, is a strange new sort of bug wherein jumps are slightly faster and tend to push Crash forward a bit. These things, while minor, make the initial adjustments from modern platformers to the updated-greatest-hits a bit tougher.

That said, the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy is a really, really good remaster of a iconic ’90s game series that’s due for a revival. And with three games in the bundle, a remastered cut level from the original game (of which GameShark let you play, back in the day), and a brand-new level with level design and art that make it feel like that revival’s probably in the right hands… I think N. Sane Trilogy, past its inherent issues from the source material, is a great set that’s a no-brainer if you’re looking for some platforming action.

Note: Activision provided us with a Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy Nintendo Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: B+