Crash Bandicoot on Nintendo Switch is a perfectly serviceable, graphically sound port. However, it has an air of laziness around it.
Crash Bandicoot on Nintendo Switch is perfectly fine. These remakes of the original trilogy comes over, gameplay intact from PS4.
Naturally the resolution is lower at 720p when docked, and lower in handheld mode. With this comes graphical downgrades. Some expected, like shadows and the fur textures being limited or removed. Some however, like reflective surfaces, are omitted entirely.
These missing aspects certainly stand out, even compared to the PS1 originals. It’s no deal breaker, but in certain stages like the future themed areas from Warped, lot of charm is lost. This was clearly in the name of smooth performance, as the game maintains a fairly constant 30fps.
So What’s In The Box?
Crash Bandicoot: N. Sane Trilogy is a collective remake of the original Crash titles. With this comes various improvements, notably to Crash Bandicoot (The Original), such as better game design choices. This includes making Gems easier to get, forgoing the No Deaths requirement outside of Colour Gems.
Not all changes are positive. The use of one unified physics scheme across all 3 games (Based on Crash 3) leads to conflict with level design in Crash 1 and 2. This is simply due to level design in a platformer being built around what the character can do, with Crash 1 and 2 at times simply not being built for Crash 3 controls.
Additionally, some vehicles control with unusual weight and slow turning that limits mobility, adding frustration to Crash 3.
Further, the DLC stages Stormy Ascent and Future Tense are included as standard alongside various Quality Improvements made since the initial PS4 release.
Ultimately, this is the definitive way to experience all 3 games. As the de facto portable experience, this release is excellent.
It’s Not All Sunshine in Wumpa Island…
So let’s address the downsides of this port. First, as noted, it doesn’t look as good. I feel as though some cutbacks aren’t necessary but if it’s in the name of smooth performance, it’s agreeable.
This lack of interest in even attempting to get the game running by the development staff hints at corporate apathy. There are Switch specific issues that hint at a lack of care on various parties.
Firstly, using any controller other than Joy-Con while docked, before undocking the system, leads to the game being unable to recognise the Joy-Con in Handheld mode. This means using a Pro Controller on your TV before swapping to handheld mode, means you need to reboot the game.
Further, swapping which wireless controller you are using, at least when undocked, leads to the same problem. The game doesn’t respond to swapping controllers or modes unless you use the Joy-Con.
— BLP-Sean | NLInklings (@BritishPlaying) July 1, 2018
Who holds responsibility for this we will never know. Is it Nintendo for not performing adequate checks during the Lotcheck process? Is it Toys For Bob, the team behind the port? We may never know, but Crash Bandicoot on Switch doesn’t support these basic aspects of the system.
So What Do We Think?
I am extremely mixed on this release. On one hand, the game is smooth, responsive and absolutely worth a purchase for fans. If you have another console, this becomes a tougher sell, but for a portable Crash experience, this is fantastic.
The catch is some cutbacks feel extreme, and the lack of Switch functionality including screen recording (though this may be tied to CPU usage by the game) and controller swapping leaves a sour taste.
This feels like the most basic of ports. Its solid, it’s a great game, but it doesn’t react to the basic functionality of the system. As noted, it’s like the port was rushed and not intended.
But that doesn’t deter that this is a great way to experience the game. If you can overlook the cutbacks and system specific issues, this is an absolute must for platformer fans.
That’s all for this Impressions piece! Crash is back (Again!) and we hope you have fun wumping from islands and through time. Let us know what you think on social media, and Happy Gaming!