previewed on X360
When Rare released the first Banjo game back in 1998, many judged the book (well, game) by its cover and dismissed it as a simple Mario 64 rip off. But those who looked past the admittedly samey appearance of the game and actually played it found a great, fun collection based adventure underneath. Many cited it as a valid contender to Mario’s lofty throne.
A sequel followed shortly after, again being met with great critical praise, and giving enjoyment to many a gamer. But then, something happened to Rare. As most gaming fans will know, Rare was snapped up by Microsoft around the time the ‘Big M’ was working on the 360.
Rare produced a launch game for them, Perfect Dark Zero. The game was met with the general consensus of “Meh, it’s ok.” This was not what Rare were used to. Viva Pinata followed Perfect Dark Zero with more praise, but it still didn’t achieve the lofty heights that the bear with the backpack before it had. With Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts, the second sequel to Rare’s original seminal platformer, they are aiming to become a real player in the gaming industry again.
Never ending unlocking
Fans of the old games could be forgiven for their inevitable first thought; it looks nothing like old Banjo! Well, this is actually true. On the surface, the game doesn’t even look like a platformer. The main hook of the game is the fact that it has an almost infinite amount of vehicles. I say almost infinite because the gimmick within the hook (confused yet?) is that every part of every vehicle can be customised, and you can make your own designs and layouts to come up with a totally unique Banjo-mobile.
Examples we have seen so far have included everything from Mario Karts to semi-functioning space shuttles, giving the game a LittleBigPlanet-esque sense of user-generated content. The way you earn parts for your vehicles harkens back to the original Banjoes – you collect all of the parts, giving you an eventual goal of owing all of them.
Vehicles can also help you in the game’s many challenges. You have to complete challenges to get vehicle parts, and you have to use vehicles (and consequently new parts) to complete the challenges. It makes a clever never ending circle of unlocking, with you desperately trying to complete new challenges for parts, before using those parts to desperately try and complete another challenge, which then yields… You get the idea.
The challenges are creative, as well. One saw Banjo having to collect five footballs within a time limit in order to complete it. A hard way would be to use a vehicle with a net to try and catch them as they fell, but a far more cunning method would be to place a net over the contraption shooting out the footballs, and watch as your points rack up with minimum effort.