reviewed on X360
The Incredulous Duo Returns
Let’s get one thing straight right off the bat – Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts is NOT a platformer. If you have been expecting an experience akin to the n64 originals, you can stop reading now. Nuts & Bolts is a complete re-imagining of the classic franchise, introducing new characters, new worlds, and new game mechanics aplenty. Are the changes for the better? That answer will differ depending on who you ask. But it is undeniable that Nuts & Bolts is a bold new direction for the franchise, the likes of which gaming has never seen before.
Nuts & Bolts picks off eight years after Banjo-Tooie. With Gruntilda defeated, Banjo and Kazooie have been living the high life. The duo has grown fat and lazy, so when the rhyming witch finally returns, they are in no condition to fight their battle. Cue the Lord of Games (L.O.G.). He has grown tired of their constant fighting, and has devised one final test to determine ownership of Spiral Mountain. However, instead of winding up in another platforming adventure, Banjo, Kazooie and Gruntilda find themselves somewhere very different indeed – a world of vehicles.
Have Bird Will Travel
That’s right – Banjo-Kazooie is now almost entirely vehicle-based. Though you will still be collecting Notes and Jiggies to access new levels and worlds, most of it is done from behind a wheel. The big hook here is every vehicle, whether it is a car, boat or plane, can be totally customized to your liking. Thankfully, Nuts & Bolts’ creation tools are very strong. It is not hard to get into – after a quick tutorial you are able to create any and every sort of vehicle you can dream up. The left stick moves pieces on the x- and y-axis, and the triggers control z-axis movement. The rest is entirely up to you; your imagination is the only real limit to your creations. You have got a seemingly infinite number of parts at your disposable, including weapons, propellers, floaters, detach points, engines and fuels, seats… There are over 1,600 parts in all, so the same vehicle never looks the same twice. The vehicle creation is a ton of fun, and was enough to keep me hooked on the game for hours on end.
The creator has one major flaw, though. Nuts & Bolts’ physics are excellent, which doesn’t bode well for some of the more outlandish vehicles I have come up with. Vehicle handling is iffy; it changes depending on how you distribute weight and where your engines are located. It really hurt when I designed a vehicle that looked stellar, but thanks to one small design quirk, refused to run. And it happened a lot. It is amazing that the engine can so realistically deal with all the possible vehicle combinations, but it is also a shame. To really excel with the creator you have to be both artistically inclined and have a good head for physics. If you can’t get your head around it you can buy ready-made vehicles, but that rather defeats the game’s purpose.
Once you have made yourself a working vehicle, you are free to explore the game’s numerous worlds. Nuts & Bolts’ structure is similar to past games; complete levels to earn Jiggies, which get you access to new levels with new Jiggies to be won. It is an old formula, but it is definitely one that works. However, Nuts & Bolts is definitely more streamlined than its predecessors. In past games, you would be running around searching for hidden Notes, Jiggies, Mumbo Tokens, Jingos, et al. Nuts & Bolts moves at a brisker pace, focusing solely on Jiggy collection. Jiggies are earned by completing Challenges, which are marked on the mini-map.
No Pros and Cons at this time