According to review aggregator Metacritic Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy received “generally favorable” reviews.
N. Sane Trilogy is a collection of remasters of the first three games in the Crash Bandicoot series, Crash Bandicoot, Cortex Strikes Back and Warped, which all feature Crash Bandicoot traversing various levels in order to stop Doctor Neo Cortex. Like in the original games, Crash uses spinning and jumping techniques to defeat enemies, smash crates, and collect items such as Wumpa Fruits, extra lives, and protective Aku Aku masks. The trilogy adds new features across all three games, including unified checkpoints, pause menus and save systems, including both manual and automatic saving, time trials, which were first introduced in Warped, and the ability to play most levels in each game as Crash’s sister Coco. It also features remastered audio and cutscenes, featuring newly recorded dialogue from past voice actors from the franchise.
The compilation was developed by Vicarious Visions, the team behind several Skylanders titles who previously developed Crash Nitro Kart (2003), as well as the Crash Bandicoot Game Boy Advance titles. During development, Vicarious Visions coined the term “Remaster Plus” to describe the collection, as they did not fully remake the original games, but rather used Naughty Dog’s original level geometry to rebuild the gameplay from scratch. As the levels were coming together, they also added their own art, animation, and audio. Almost none of the source code for the original game was available to the developers. as the game engine was specially written for the original PlayStation and Vicarious Visions could not find a way to use it on more powerful systems. Sony and Naughty Dog were able to provide various polygon meshes from the original, although many important elements from these were missing and the team found that “They were compressed in some wacky format that we had to decode” beyond that Vicarious Visions looked at various internet communities to make sure they had essences of the games captured. The team also had some fans test the game and give notes about it compared to the originals. Preceding the release of the game there was a contest for fans to submit ideas for idle animations for the character.
The game was first revealed at E3 2016 preceding the announcement there were rumors of a Crash Bandicoot revival stemming from an incident in 2015 where SIE Worldwide Studios Chairman Shawn Layden wore a shirt featuring the titular character while appearing at the PlayStation Experience. The actual title would be revealed at the 2016 PlayStation Experience.