I’ve been a fan of Crash Bandicoot since the beginning, so I had the chance to experience all of the excitement of CTR when it was first released back in 1999. Crash Team Racing was such a fun game not just because it was a spin-off of one of the most popular games of that decade, but I thought it was somehow more insane than Mario Kart. My brothers and I would spend hours playing it, trying to unlock everything and best all of the time trials. So, maybe I have my nostalgia goggles on a little too tight.
Regardless of where this game stands on your list, I think CTR is an awesome racing game, especially for the Nintendo Switch. However, there are some issues that need to be ironed out before I can recommend this version.
I’m just gonna cut to the chase. CTR played great the first couple times I started it up. I was even able to progress through the story mode rather quickly. But something happened. See, after a few days, the game didn’t want to work any more. Every time I tried to play it would get to the title screen or start to load a race and an error message would pop up. Then the game would CRASH (really, you know, living up to its name). But seriously, it was so frustrating. After that happened numerous times I tried to redownload the game onto my system memory, thinking it might be my SD card. The error message still haunted me. I checked the software for corrupt data every time I redownloaded it (probably four times). When that didn’t work I contacted support via Twitter. I was hoping to get some help or guidance from them, since this is for a review and all, but they responded with a vague “stay tuned for future updates and information.” Not much help there.
So, as you’re reading this review I want you to know it’s based on about 4-5 hours of story mode and arcade/cup races. I didn’t really get to try out battles or online mode. I know a few other people I talked to on Twitter were dealing with the same issue. I’m starting to think it might be limited to the Nintendo Switch version but I could be wrong about that.
Anyway, now that we have the worst part out of the way let’s talk about some good stuff. The game is still as fun as I remember. CTR comes with its own Adventure Mode, which is kind of cool. I have to say that’s something I would have liked to see in a Mario Kart game. Sadly, it’s a little on the short side; in the short amount of time I had to play this game I was able to fully complete it. Then again, I’ve played this game a lot, so to someone who’s never experienced it before it’ll probably take a little more time. During the story, you’ll race against the computers and compete for first place. New areas are unlocked by defeating bosses, and after you beat a course you can go back to it and complete a CTR challenge or Relic Race to earn a 100%.
It took me a while to get the hang of the controls, as I was so used to playing Mario Kart on my Switch. I don’t know about everyone else, but I did end up switching my controls around a little bit and found it to be much easier. So, in case you aren’t feeling it, there is an alternate control option in the settings menu. Also, instead of manually getting a boost when you drift you have to press a button when the boost meter is full. It has to be at the exact right time or it won’t work. But after I finally figured out what it was talking about I was drifting all over the place. It’s definitely a game changer when you’re constantly getting boosts during the race. You can change the way the meter looks so it’s easier to see by pressing X during a race.
Besides Adventure Mode there are a few other different types of races and modes to choose from. My favorite are the Relic races. These are like time trial races except there are yellow crates on the course that you can hit to freeze your timer. You want to get the best possible time, so hitting all the boxes is essential. CTR challenges are normal races but you have to collect the letters C-T-R hidden around the track and be in first place by the end of the last lap. Some of those letters are pretty hard to find sometimes, but I think it’s a fun challenge. There’s also Battle Mode where you can choose from Capture the Flag, Crystal Grab, Last Kart Driving, and Steal the Bacon.
Along with those you can also choose from the long list of awesome levels, adjust the settings, and race to your heart’s content. I do wish there were cup races where you could earn trophies. There are cups, but I haven’t seen a place where it says I’ve beaten them or where I can view trophies so they’re kind of pointless to play through. Fans of the original will love seeing all of the little details and beautiful backgrounds that were once jagged polygons and distorted blobs. I, for one, really appreciated how great the game looked and played compared to the PS1 version. Maybe it’s the Nintendo controller ;)
A few other neat things they added include the ability to customize your karts and characters. You can unlock new vehicles, skins, wheels, stickers, characters, and costumes while progressing through the game. Or, you can buy them with Wumpa coins that you earn by completing races while connected to the internet. These rack up pretty quickly if you play often, so you shouldn’t have much trouble unlocking the items you want. There are also online Grand Prix events that you can participate in if you have the Nintendo Online subscription. There has been one so far since the game launched, but I haven’t been able to participate due to the game crashing. Hopefully, others are having better luck.
Overall, if I’m completely ignoring the fact that this game wouldn’t let me play most of the time, I’d say it’s pretty darn good for $40. There are plenty of modes to keep you and your friends busy, the graphics look awesome, it plays great, and there are future updates coming with new levels and content. So, I’m crossing my fingers that with one of those updates my game will be fixed and I won’t have to worry about it crashing any more. But if I were you, I would look into it before purchasing or wait a few more weeks for some kind of update. You might otherwise pay for something you can’t play, and that’s the worst kind of game there is.
Review: Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled (Nintendo Switch)
Crash Team Racing Nitro Fueled is an awesome remake I would love to have played more of…if I were able to. I’m really hoping for an update or some word from Activision support so I can really get into the game and play some online matches.