Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled Review – Nintendo Switch
June 30, 2019
Developed By: Beenox
Published By: Activision
Reviewed By: Tyler Higgs
Thank you so much to Activision for providing a review code
Crash Bandicoot made up a huge portion of my childhood. So it was exciting when the N Sane trilogy finally made its way to Nintendo Switch last year. I’ve had a great time playing the N Sane trilogy and I’ve been patiently waiting for the next Crash Bandicoot experience on my favorite hybrid console. Crash Team Racing is one of the only entries in the Crash Bandicoot series that I never really played. I own Nitro Kart on the Gamecube, but never got the chance to dive into the original Crash racing experience. Now it’s time to drive into the remake Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled and see if this is a kart racer that can win first place.
While not very in depth Crash Team Racing does offer a bit of a story for its adventure mode. You have the option to play as many of the characters in the Crash Bandicoot series, even the villains. You’re tasked by an evil alien Nitrous Oxide to defeat 4 bosses and obtain the 4 keys to challenge him to a race to save the planet. The story is what you would expect from the Crash series and is charming and funny in its own special way.
Crash Team Racing offers a ton of content that should keep any kart racing fans coming back for more. First, there’s your adventure mode where the game’s story takes place. This adventure mode is home to 4 different areas. Each area has its own races and tracks that you can compete on to claim first place and a nice gold shiny trophy. You have to obtain each trophy in every area before you’re able to race against the boss. Should you defeat the boss, you can move on to the next area. The adventure mode is one big hub area that you can drive through to reach each of the races. I like this open hub style world, but it doesn’t have any secrets or “Easter Eggs in it which would have helped make it feel a little less empty. If you’re going to have an open hub you might as well fill it with content.
Besides the cup races there are two other types of races that are made available once you have won the cup. Just like in other Crash titles you can do time trials to win relics. These relics, come in 3 colors blue, silver and gold. The faster you are, the better relic you’ll receive. There’s also a coin race on every track to unlock a specific color coin. To unlock this coin you must obtain the letter C, T, and R in a track and then also obtain first place.
If you’re looking to change up the core racing gameplay even more then there’s, also a beat the clock style racing mode. Every area has a purple coin that can be obtained by going around an open track and obtaining all the crystals. Crash Team Racing’s adventure mode will definitely keep players busy for some time. With three difficulty options and a plethora of races, there’s tons of content here for new and veteran kart racers.
The controls in Crash Team Racing don’t differ too much from the traditional kart racing formula. You race your kart around the track with all the basic movements such as accelerating, reversing, drifting, and running over crates to get weapons and items.
Weapons range from missiles, and bombs to barriers and an electro pulse item that acts as a sort of blue shell that hits all the racers along the way. There’s a large variety of items that are available all you have to do is run into a mystery crate. There’s also Wumpa crates that you can run into which will give you Wumpa fruit. These are the staple items in the Crash Bandicoot series and once you get 10 it causes all items & weapons you pick up get boosted. There’s also ways to get mini boost during races such as timing your jumps when flying off platforms and also while you’re drifting. Crash Team Racing has very fluid controls and overall felt really nice to play.
If you’re looking for more game modes outside of the adventure you’re in luck! There’s a local multiplayer arcade mode that acts similar to Mario Karts multiplayer. You get to choose a preset group of races to compete for top place and gain points. The racer with the most points by the end of the 4 tracks wins. This is definitely something Crash Team Racing does better than Mario Kart. The options of a true single player adventure mode and a local multiplayer mode separate from the adventure mode, is fantastic. There’s also a battle mode with different selections such as Capture the Flag, and Last Kart Driving if that interest you.
For those who want to take their refined kart racing skills worldwide there’s an online mode. Online matchmaking puts you in a lobby where everyone votes for a map. Every race is a single race and will bring you right back to the lobby after it’s done. After someone finishes the race a countdown will commenced and if it gets to zero the race will end even if some players haven’t finished. I understand wanting to speed things along, but I don’t think that ending the race is the way to do it. I felt that the time should really be extended so that everyone except players that disconnect can at least finish the race. It’s really only necessary if someone is trying to troll the other players. There’s also an option for doing a private match if you want to just do some online races with friends.
Overall the online worked well and I only had the game crash on me twice which wasn’t too serious. I do have to say the Rubberbanding with online matches is a bit ridiculous. It doesn’t matter how good you are you won’t stay in first for the entirety of any race. Your opponents will get every single good item in the game and launch them at you. I can definitely see how more skilled players could become easily frustrated by this.
If you’re a player that enjoys customization then Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled is a love letter to you. There’s countless new costumes for each of the game’s large roster of characters. The assortment of costumes is just the surface of the customization. There’s also decals, stickers, wheels, color schemes, and kart types to unlock. None of these affect the gameplay at all, but they look great and it’s tons of fun to customize your own kart.
While some of these customizations can be unlocked from completing certain objectives, some have to be bought from the game’s Pit Shop. The Pit Shop stocks new customization items every day for you to spend your Wumpa coins on. Wumpa coins are gained from doing races, usually online races provide the highest sum of coins. I’m sure everyone will be happy to know that these customizations cannot be bought with actual money. That’s right there are no micro-transactions. The customization system is almost perfect, except for one part. Sadly, you cannot gain Wumpa coins when you’re offline and this is really unfortunate considering many players will want to play this title on the go. It’s an issue that I really hope the team decides to fix.
Besides kart customization Crash Team Racing also offers you the ability to customize your adventure mode by allowing you to choose between Nitro-Fueled or Classic mode. Classic mode gives you the option play the adventure mode like in the original title. This means that you only get to play as one character, there’s no customizations and there are no difficulty options. Classic mode didn’t appeal to me, because I really enjoyed being able to customize my own kart and change my character. That being said I think it’s great that this feature was added in for the players who played the original
What more can I say about Crash Team racing Nitro-Fueled besides, it’s a Crash title! The entire game is leaking with nostalgia and perfectly represents the Crash Bandicoot franchise. The race tracks are bright and colorful with their own unique gimmicks and nods to the original platforming titles. The characters look great and I was happy to see so many from the series included in the roster. While I may not have had the chance to spend much time with the original title, this remake of Crash Team Racing feels very faithful to the series overall and I couldn’t be more pleased with how it looks.
Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled is a great remake, but the translation to Nintendo Switch wasn’t perfect. First we have to talk about how the game looks in handheld mode. In handheld mode the game’s running at roughly 480P and it’s pretty noticeable after playing for awhile. The textures are muddy and it just isn’t as close to looking how it does in docked mode. Luckily the frame rate is a consistent 30fps in both handheld and docked, which is really the most important aspect.
Unfortunately, the resolution in handheld mode wasn’t the only aspect that was hurt in the Nintendo Switch version. The load times before a race can run anywhere’s from 30-40 seconds. This becomes a bit frustrating after awhile and definitely needs to be addressed. I did mention earlier that the game did crash on me twice, but that was during my whole playthrough so it wasn’t so bad. The Nintendo Switch Version of Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled is good, but could definitely be better from a technical perspective.
If you’re at all a fan of the kart racing genre and need a new title between now and the next Mario Kart title Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled is absolutely worth checking out. This remake of a once beloved game feels right at home on the Nintendo Switch and while there may be a few technical issues and unnecessary design choices, at its core Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled is an entertaining experience with boatloads of content. Whether you enjoy playing alone, locally with a friend, or online you’re most likely going to have a good time.
Solid Gameplay That Newcomers & Veterans of the Genre Can Enjoy
Tons of Content With Enough Diversity For There to be Something For Everyone
Huge Amount of Customization & No Microtransactions
Multiple Difficulty Options
Addition of Classic Mode is Great For Fans of The Original
Local Co-Op Means Tons of Fun Times With Friends
Large Roster of Characters From The Series
Has That Wonderful Crash Charm 🙂
Long Load Times
Muddy Textures and General Lack of Visual Polish in Handheld Mode
Matches End Too Quickly Online
Wumpa Coins Can’t be Obtained Without Being Connected to The Internet