Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts

Far from a Nuts & Bolts sequel.


If it looks like a platform game and plays like a platform game, then it must be a platform game, right? Not if it’s Banjo Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts. This long-awaited return for the popular N64 duo (I’ve had people say it’s a rip-off of Ratchet & Clank, but it’s more the other way around!) has all the hallmarks of a platformer – jumping up ledges, walking tight-ropes and collecting gold and silver musical notes – but Rare have taken it in a completely new direction. These elements may be there, but this is all about vehicles: designing them, building them, driving them and racing them.

So now that we’ve established what it isn’t, the question still remains: what is it? This is one of those games where genre definition is virtually impossible to fully describe what’s here. The closest comparison I can find is, believe it or not, GTA IV as there’s a wide-open world for exploration, filled with secrets and missions to play.

After a brief reminder of who the characters are and the history of the first two games, the beginning of another quest is interrupted by the arrival of the Lord Of Games, or L.O.G. as he prefers to be called. He has grown tired of watching you and has created an entirely new world for you to explore filled with challenges. The opening section of the game is talk-heavy, which means there is a lot of reading as the characters don’t speak English, but in order to explain how use the vehicle creator it’s a necessary evil.

Once you’re left to your own devices, you can actually start to enjoy the game. The world is a visual delight and builds on the cartoon style that Rare developed for the Viva Pinata games. The characters are especially fabulous, sporting lifelike fur and feathers but there is one slight drawback, the onscreen text is practically unreadable if you don’t have an HD-TV.

Building and designing your vehicles is incredibly easy, as the game will often dish out next blueprints for you to follow. These are only a guideline though, and you have the freedom to add your own touches to your transport. Once you’ve built them, they are great fun to drive too, with decisions you made in the garage being reflected in the handling. If you don’t want to bother with the DIY, there is a selection of preset vehicles too, which do the job required but are less than spectacular at doing so.

Nuts & Bolts does take a long time to get anywhere, especially in the early stages, but as you progress further this becomes less and less of a problem. This is not the type of game you’ll like by playing it for five minutes. If nothing else, this is testament to how important the central character (or in this case, characters) is to a game. Banjo and Kazooie are a supremely charming double-act and it’s fantastic to have them back.
7 / 10
Reviewed By Zoidberg
on Tuesday 4th February 2014

About the Review

Played the game for more than 15 hours, completing many of the challenges and worlds.
Microsoft Xbox 360
Microsoft Game Studios
8th November 2008