Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts Hands On
Written Thursday, September 11, 2008 By Dan WebbView author's profile
Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts is the third instalment in the successful Banjo-Kazooie series and the game’s first outing on next generation platforms. With the last instalment Banjo-Tooie being released way back in 2000, it’s been a while since we were graced with the pair’s antics. Whilst Rare have been busy at work on Perfect Dark Zero, Viva Pinata and Kameo, Banjo and Kazooie have literally done nothing... The two have lazed around, played the Xbox 360 and eaten more than their fair share of junk food. This is where Nuts & Bolts picks up.
With the land being free of the pair’s nemesis, Gruntilda for 8 years, the two have got sloppy. You know... a bit overweight, unfit, so when she appears back on the scene, the two aren’t quite prepared and just before they go head to head in another battle with her, LOG (Lord of Games) steps in to settle the dispute. LOG claims to have created all the video games in the world, and he challenges the trio to duke it out to find the true champion of Spiral Mountain. At this point the trio are transported to the virtual world of Showdown Town which is the games central hub and so, the Banjo -Kazooie adventure begins.
The game is essentially made up of sub-worlds that branch out from Showdown Town. In these, you will be required to win Jiggies in plenty of varied tasks to advance. However, this isn’t Banjo-Kazooie as you know them. Yes, the characters are the same and there is a platform element but the game is fundamentally more vehicle based now, around 80% of it in fact. After doing a certain amount of tasks in the sub-worlds, the will action will climax in a boss battle with Grunty, needing you to win to advance. It’s worth pointing out that Showdown Town and its surrounding sub-worlds look great. They are bright, vibrant and beautifully crafted, as are the characters. The visuals are all you can ask for in a family title and incredibly detailed as well.
The great thing with Nuts & Bolts is there is something for everybody and can literally appeal to gamers of different backgrounds. On the one hand, the game can appeal to families and the more casual audience by allowing them to playthrough an entertaining, amusing family story. On the other hand, the customisation is so deep in the game, that it truly could be the Xbox 360’s answer to LittleBigPlanet and will offer plenty of gamers hours and hours of fun.
Neil Harrison of Rare told us that they had even gone so far as to create tie-fighters in their offices and having seen a giant skier with my own two eyes, I can say, pretty much anything is possible. The customisation works on a 19 x 19 x 19 grid and will limit you to around 250 parts but to be able to take full advantage of the system, you will need to work through the single player mode and unlock all the parts.
The vehicle creation system is fantastic and the balance of simplicity and complex physics is its main success. You can literally create a helicopter in 5 minutes or even a massive giant on wheels, but unless you get the physics right, you will have a hard time controlling it. To aid your creative streak, the game will feature a test area in the customisation garage so you can get it just right. After you’ve created your contraption, connecting up all the parts and adding fuel and an engine, you can even go so far as to colour it to suit your needs.
The game itself is easy to control and the level of competition in the single player games is never too taxing. However, for the more hardcore players who want to do things as fast as possible and want to create the right contraption for the job ... they can and they will get rewarded accordingly with TT Trophies instead which are worth more than jiggies.
The missions consist of such things as a scavenger hunts, straight up races, quirky mini games where you have to create a vehicle to jump a long distance and so many more. The variety is both incredible and extremely refreshing.
Nuts and Bolts on top of all that will feature plenty of multiplayer modes, 28 in all and will support up to 8 players over Xbox Live. The game modes are incredibly varied and some of the most quirky and fun games you will ever play. They range from darts, football, golf to standard brawls, races and my personal favourite, “sumo” matches. The sports games mostly require using your vehicle to push a ball somewhere or trying to land on a certain spot, but they are nothing compared to Sumo where you must push your opponents out of a ring to win.
A great addition to the multiplayer is the ability to take your own contraptions online and use them with friends. Rare are getting back to us on how the trueskill ranks are working with regard to custom vehicles in ranked games because advanced single player gamers will have more at their disposal. But despite that, there is the ability to set standardised vehicles or even play social matches with friends.
Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts is shaping up to be a great all round Xbox 360 exclusive. With plenty on offer for all skill sets and temperaments, the game will appeal to so many different gamers for so many different reasons. Some will love the quirky and light hearted single player, some will love the detailed customisation modes while others won’t be able to put the multi player down. While it is not your traditional Banjo-Kazooie game, Rare have done a fine job in taking the franchise in a new direction and giving us something fresh.
Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts will be taking to land, sea and air on Xbox 360 only around the middle of November.