Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
My relationship with Banjo Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts is a lot like a young budding romance. It was hot and heavy and I was totally all about it in the beginning. However, the relationship quickly soured after collecting about 40 golden jiggies and figuring out that it was bringing nothing new or exciting to our relationship to keep it interesting and fresh. I was left confused, broken, and weeping into my pillow while listening to Bryan Adams wondering where we went wrong. Was the issue with the game reusing certain missions but just in different levels, or was it my eventual lack of caring and creativity when building vehicles?
The game is your basic Mario 64 clone with the major difference being that you can create and use your own vehicles in the different game worlds and challenges attached to the hub world. You use the vehicles to complete challenges which reward you with golden jiggies. Collecting said jiggies open up different stages to each of the worlds which then allow you to collect more jiggies to open up more stages and worlds. The game has a charming, colorful, and endearing look along with a limited but pleasing soundtrack.
Vehicle creation is as complicated as you choose it to be. You can purchase blueprints from Humba in the hub world that do most of the work for you as long as you have the necessary parts to build it. There are also basic chassis available from the start through Mumbo’s Motors that give you a frame to pop the necessary components to make your vehicle of choice get up and go. You can then test the vehicles through Mumbo Motor’s Test-O-Track to make sure it runs and controls alright. The land based vehicles control pretty well depending on how you build it, but most of the time you find yourself fighting the controls of the flying vehicles no matter how you put them together.
You’ll really get the most out of the game if you decide to make your own vehicles. The game allows you to make pretty much anything you can think of as long as it has a driver’s seat, source of power, fuel, and other specialty parts. Specialty parts allow you to make vehicles like planes, helicopters, hovercrafts, boats, balloons, or any combination of the aforementioned. This, at first, is rather amazing and novel but quickly gets frustrating later when you have to spend 10 mins building a different vehicle for each challenge that typically lasts 2 mins. Then it is further made frustrating by the repetitive nature of the challenges. The only aspect that changes in the limited type of challenges is which of the five different worlds you do them in.
Banjo Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts is a game that becomes what you decide to put into it. For me it was good but not great. I’d recommend it pretty much to anybody at its current $40 price tag as you’ll easily get your money’s worth out of it. If you are a person that is all about the whole user created content revolution going on, this game is actually a steal for you.