Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts Review (Xbox360)

Eight years ago, it wouldíve been easy to predict a third entry to the Banjo-Kazooie franchise when it was widely popular to all ages under the guidance of Nintendo. But time has passed and Rare put the old bear and bird on the backburner until now with Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts. Can Banjo and Kazooie shake off the rust of sitting on the bench for eight years or will they show their old age? Microsoft is crossing their fingers that itís the former rather than the latter.

Players begin their quest to collect 131 Jiggies within Nuts & Bolts with the use of vehicles Ė a strange departure for the series that focuses on platforming. If youíre a love addict of the original two Banjo titles due to their platforming aspects, you may want to avoid Nuts & Bolts since nostalgia may get the best of you. Rather than exploring the worlds for hidden jiggies by means of jumping, gamers are assigned to collecting them by vehicle-based challenges that are found throughout the world via the mini-map.

By land, sea or air, vehicles are the main attraction.
Old-school platforming isnít seen that often in Nuts & Bolts.

What Nuts & Bolts does best is to implement an extravagant vehicle-building tool. This feature is not only deep but, at times, user-friendly. Putting to good use multiple wings, defense mechanisms, weapons, armor, ammunition, wheels and much more, Nuts & Bolts has thousands on top of thousands variations of customization options for the vehicle of your dreams. Though it may seem a chore at first, the vehicle-building tool is the biggest asset of Nuts & Bolts so you had better be prepared to welcome it with open arms. Admittedly, itís scary at first but after an hour with the editor, youíll feel right at home with customizing your own vehicles.

The general requirements for winning a jiggie usually revolves around performing stunts, racing, delivering packages, running into items (soccer balls, dominos, etc.) and a few other nonchalant tasks. The basis of the vehicle challenges are rewarding at first since theyíre vastly unique from one another but after awhile, itís race after race and youíll soon become tired of the missions. The vehicles are the biggest attraction of Nuts & Bolts so if you canít stand driving cars, planes or boats, this may not be the game for you.

The controls of many of the pre-made vehicles arenít as satisfying as the ones you build yourself since you can tweak the custom made vehicles anyway youíd like. The only problem with this attribute is that you have to push through the first few hours to collect enough jiggies and notes to start customizing bigger and better vehicles. This is disappointing since the game seems to beat its chest about giving gamers open-ended choices on their vehicles and the matter of fact is that itíll take some time until this can be fully accomplished.

The worlds are beautiful detailed.
The storyline isnít overwhelmingly complicated.

The main problem with Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts lies with the fact that the game requires you to play with a particular pre-made vehicle rather than your own custom vehicles. Sure, it was sometimes necessary to assure that the gamer is able to complete the mission at hand, but Rare shouldíve trusted that the gamer would adjust and tweak to build the perfect vehicle for every challenge.

Changed from the original Banjo titles, Nuts & Bolts incorporates the music notes as currency to buy vehicle parts. You can pick up notes via walking around Showdown Town (the central hub of Nuts & Bolts), earning them through Jinjo mini-games and a 2D side-scrolling mini-game. At least many familiar faces show up in Nuts & Bolts to provide rousing dialogue from time to time.

Framerate issues plague Nuts & Bolts to the bitter end Ė an issue that couldíve been cleared up with a few more months of development. Aside of the framerate issues, Nuts & Bolts is a brilliant title with gorgeous environments and colorful characters. Building vehicles is an amazing feature with thousands of parts to integrate into your creations. If you happen to create an incredible machine, you can share the blueprint online with your friends and family to download.

In the future, I can see Rare making better use of the gigantic environments theyíve created.
Kazooie doesnít get much face time.

There are many warnings I have to gamers who are weary about purchasing Banjo Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts. If you arenít a mechanic or savvy with vehicles, then Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts wonít be overly attractive due to its primary focus on the vehicles rather than the animal tandem. If you donít like putting time into customizing vehicles and buying parts, then steer clear since Nuts & Bolts relies heavily on this portion of the game to keep gamers coming back for more. Lastly, like I mentioned earlier, if you have fond memories of past Banjo titles, then Nuts & Bolts is only a shell of its former self in comparison to platforming.

What Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts does well is offer colorful worlds to explore and deep vehicle customization. Outside of these two facets, the voices still have gibberish rather than real voice-acting. Personally, I find it appealing but then again, I enjoy Animal Crossingís gibberish too; but I can see where people will find the audio department annoying.

Top Game Moment: Seeing Banjo and Kazooie make a comeback to bring back the perfect combo of a bird and a bear Ė itís just too sad that they arenít the main attraction of Nuts & Bolts.



By ANB (SI Newbie) on Dec 03, 2008
might be enough for ma little cousins!!!
By nobuargaoda (SI Core Veteran) on Dec 06, 2008
it's a funny games! play it while stretching my muscle after playing Assassins's Creed...
By devel (SI Elite) on Dec 06, 2008
Yeah, you do need something as good and funny like Banjo-Kazooie to get all the stress from Assassins creed out. You can also try a Beat'em Up, works wonders too.

But for this game all i'm sorry is that its only available on Xbox, I'd like to try it out but unfortunately none of my friends has. Oh well, i'll have to wait for some store to let it there for testing.
By nobuargaoda (SI Core Veteran) on Dec 06, 2008
You're right, Devel. Looks like Crash Bandicoot! but with a better graphic..!!
By Revan (SI Elite) on Dec 08, 2008
I had a blast with the original Banjo-Kazooie games on the N64. A lot of reviewers however, are saying that fans of the originals shouldn't be expecting the same type of game. And that it focuses more on vehicle platforming, instead of the usual run and jumping stuff that the originals had. Other complaints I've read about say that the font is too dang small for "normal" TV's, which is bad news to me (I still have one of those old clunkers!). I just hope this isn't too big a pain. Dead Rising did the same with the small font thing and I couldn't even play the darn game because of it, let alone finish it! I never knew what my next objective was! What sucks though, is that almost every game is now doing the whole widescreen thing. Is it so difficult to add an option for normal screen televisions?