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Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy Review (Switch)

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Sometimes the impossible is made possible and one example of this is Crash Bandicoot on other platforms besides PlayStation. I never thought I would see the day that I would be running around ruins, jungles and futuristic cities as my childhood mascot on a Nintendo platform and that is just what has happened. Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy is the exact same game we loved last year on the PS4 and it is now on Xbox One, PC and Switch. But how does the Nintendo Switch version weigh up against the PS4 one and does it still manage to keep its charm away from its home console?

Short answer, yes. Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy manages to find a spot on the Switch among other fantastic platformers too. We know the Switch is home to some of the best platformers of this generation and the N.Sane Trilogy stands strong beside them. 

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The game packs all three original Crash Bandicoot games in one package. Crash Bandicoot, Cortex Strikes Back and Warped. The games have been built from the ground up to feel like the classics while looking pretty sleek. The first Crash game features mostly platforming levels as you control Crash, explore different levels scattered around islands and collect peaches, lives, break boxes and find a pink gem in each stage. 

The game is no walk in the park as the entire series is known for its brutal level design that relies on you being on point with your jumps, runs and precision. The difficulty scale moves up quite fast as you take on each island in an attempt to stop Dr Neo Cortex's nasty plans. The first dozen levels are packed with challenges while the later half of the game truly puts you to the test with some rather frustrating levels. 

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Crash Bandicoot: Cortex Strikes Back is where the series really started to test out some new mechanics. Jetpacks, underwater vehicles and even Coco, Crash's sister can be played throughout the game. But it is Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped that truly pushed the limit back in the day with ocean racing, bike driving, and even the ability for Crash to learn new skills such as a spin glide in the air and obtain a peach-powered missile launcher. 

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All three of these games are pretty polished when it comes to level design and this is something the series has been known for even back in the day. Levels are mostly linear with a few branching paths here and there that make up hidden bonus levels and paths only obtainable if you have a specific gem. It works and even though the recipe is unchanged from back in the day, it still delivers a fantastic experience from start to finish. It is just a good platformer and that is all you really expect from it. 

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Platforming also works as Crash still walks on a D-Pad design which means he does not stray from the path when using the analogue stick. I would recommend staying away from that movement option as the Switch has a great D-Pad which works a lot better for the game. I found movements to be easier and more precise using the button D-Pad over the analogue as it gave me more control over Crash's movements. Much of the game's jumping and walking relies on perfect button presses else you will find yourself jumping into a ditch or getting squashed by a rolling ball. The Switch's controls did a great job with mastering these challenges, if anything, even better than the PS4's DualShock 4. 

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The only issue I had with the first game, the PS4 version and now the Switch version is that it still does not hold your hand, in a bad way that is. Many of the game's secrets are locked behind some sort of challenge or collectable you don't have but the game never once explains how to get it. Many stages you would miss out on the silver gem for collecting 100% of the boxes because you missed a special route that was locked by a missing gem you did not have. The game never tells you how to get these gems or even when you will get them so you just carry on missing some cool side paths because you have no idea what to do to experience what the entire game has to offer. 

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It would also do well to maybe include an "assist mode" on the Switch as the console is a big fan of the younger audience and it is a challenge for them to play. My 7-year-old niece struggled a bit and if I raged most of the time I can only imagine how frustrated she got. She actually decided to no longer play the game again. It is a pity she will not be able to experience the joy of Crash until much later in life. 

The Switch also has some tweaks here and there that make the game cool. The 3D Rumble feature vibrates with a cool shake for every peach you find which helps immerse you. As for visuals, there is no doubt a big downgrade in that regard. Crash no longer has the fluffy fur from the PS4 version and the game uses lower resolution textures too. Some reflections are missing here and there and of course, the resolution of the portable mode is apparently only 853x480 which creates a bit of a blur on objects. The game still manages to deliver a solid experience, however, but a dumbed-down one to a certain degree visually. 

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Is Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy on the Switch as good as the PS4 version? No, but it is on the Switch which makes it a fantastic platform for the game. The game's level system makes it a great pick-up-and-play experience and lying in bed playing the game with the screen right in front of my face has been something that was not possible until now. I just wish Activision would make it more friendly to the younger audiences as the Switch has a big player base of them. 

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This review was conducted based on a review code sent to us by Activision.

Available On: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Switch | Reviewed On: Switch | Release Date: 29 June 2018 | RRP: R629

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