Reviewed on 4 August 2015
By: Oliver Aston
You’ll Believe A Bear Can Fly
Released in 2008, Banjo Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts for the Xbox 360 is a vehicle based platformer and was the follow-up to Rare’s well-received Banjo-Tooie but due to the drastically changed gameplay, it was met with harsh criticism from fans upon it’s initial release.
With that in mind, is Banjo Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts true to form? Or has this Xbox 360 outing thrown a wrench in the formula? Let’s find out.
Nuts & Bolts begins 8 years after the end of Banjo-Tooie, and after a quick recap we find our heroes enjoying their success a little too much. Meanwhile, nemesis Grunilda has hopped her way back from the Isle O’ Hags and is ready to throw down with the blubbery duo.
Yes, yes indeed
Just as things are about to get underway a new character, the self-proclaimed “Lord of Games”, or L.O.G steps in and sets the duel up proper with the usual Rare collectathon. After a few seconds of this, he essentially declares the genre dead, zaps everyone back into fighting shape and sends you off to the new hub world called Showdown Town. It’s here that you set off to the various game worlds to defeat the old hag once more and win back the deed to spiral mountain.
This is a much more involved story than either of the previous two efforts and is a good setup for the proceedings. All the characters still talk in text and mumbles and usually have interest often funny things to say. In short, the typical Banjo witt is alive and well here and will surely delight new and old fans alike.
Gameplay: A New Direction
From a gameplay perspective Nuts & Bolts is a very different beast when compared to it’s predecessors. Scrapped are the talon trot, wing flaps, and various rolls. In is a breath of vehicle parts the only limits of which are a substantial grid and your own imagination. You’ll use these vehicles to complete all manner of challenges and not just races mind you.
You’ll play soccer, collect coconuts, stop gruntbots, and even fight a few bosses (though they’re pretty easy). What makes these objectives fun is that you can really complete them anyway you want, so yeah use an airplane in a mainly water based race, take out Grunty with a mechanical boot, the choice is yours.
Still True to Form
Aside from this drastic change in approach, the rest of the game is incredibly true to form for Banjo. You still collect Jiggies to open worlds, though the notes this time around are more of a currency. In Showdown Town you’ll searching for secretes, finding vehicle parts, getting black market jiggies from Jolly, and even playing a Klungo themed arcade game, all while in a much more platforming centric style aided by Kazooie’s magic wrench.
Showdown Town is where you’ll do the bulk of the traditional platforming
Simply put don’t dismiss Nuts & Bolts simply because it’s different from the first two Banjo games. Give the title it’s fair shot and you’re almost certainly going to find something you like. And hey, if you’ve been collecting certain eggs and keys of various colors and materials for several years they’ll have some use here.
The Gold Standard
Even 7 years after it’s release Nut & Bolts is drop dead gorgeous. Everything from the patchwork nature of the levels to the animation, the glow of the water as Banjo swims below the surface, this game looks absolutely incredible! This is complemented by one of Grant Kirhope’s best scores. With great new tracks like the showdown town there and many homages to the earlier titles in the series. I remember my first time taking in Banjoland in all it’s glory, and truly for any Banjo fan, this will be a watershedmoment.
This is not to say the presentation doesn’t occasionally show flaws as there is slowdown, most notably around the central hub area of Showdown Town. By and large though the game’s presentation is remarkable and shows Rare at it’s absolute best.
Despite not exactly being true to the previous titles, Nuts & Bolts is a great game in it’s own right; it’s a title that’s brimming with possibilities and begging to be explored. A true hidden gem that I would recommend to anyone.
Buy Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts: http://www.amazon.com/Banjo-Kazooie-Nuts-Bolts-Xbox-360/dp/B0019MLWL4
Buy Rare Replay: http://www.amazon.com/Rare-Replay-Xbox-One/dp/B00ZMBMO06
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