Banjo Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts (X360) Review

One of the greatest gaming years in history 1998, holds many games near and dear to our hearts and one of those was Banjo-Kazooie. A quaint little game about a honey bear and his breegull partner battling Grunty an old hag of a witch bent on controlling spiral mountain and doing away with our heroes. The game was centered around jiggies which were jigsaw pieces used to create the various paintings Banjo-Kazooie had to use to attempt to get Banjo's sister back and pummel Grunty. It was hailed as a great game that brought sarcasm and off the wall humor as well as great gameplay and a fun storyline. Banjo-Kazooie was then fallowed by its less than admirable sequel Banjo-Tooie which was considered a real let down. Now 10 years from the original Rare has released another installation of the infamous bear, breegull and hag. How will it fair? Here is the review for Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bots.



After Banjo-Tooie Gunty's head was removed and buried under rock in a cave. Now, since Banjo and Kazooie have had nothing to do and no one to fight they have needless to say, put on a few pounds and been just lazy, like Rosanne Barr and John Goodman. One day though, Grunty gets herself free from her rocky grave and decides to go right back to fighting with Banjo and Kazooie. Just before they had one of the probably worst slowest fights in gaming history, they are frozen. The L.O.G. (Lord of Games) has grown bored and decided to make the stakes higher and more interesting. He gives Grunty a robotic suit for her decapitated head to live in, and grants Banjo as well as Kazooie their figure and strength back.

In return for this, they must compete in a win all game he has constructed. Whoever wins this battle controls Spiral Mountain. Banjo and Kazooie must go through the worlds collecting parks and blueprints as well as jinjo (remember these little buggers?) tokens and music notes. The music notes are currency for Showdown Town where your main place of rest, relaxation and building of your vehicles is. Gruntilda's job is to hinder you and force you to fail in every which way possible and if she succeeds then she wins Spiral Mountain. The game brings back such favorite characters as Mumbo Jumbo, Humba Wumba, Captain Blubber, the Jinjo's, King Jinjo, Minjo's, Bottles, Jamjars, Mr. Fit, Jolly Dodger(Rodger) Klungo and Boggy. They introduce new characters as well, Pikelet, Lord of Games, Trophy Thomas, and Grunty's new unfortunate yet psychotic cat Piddles.

The crew is back and for another adventure, it is a long enjoyable story with the same quirks and comical satire as the original games from yesteryear. The story is long fun and gives you a history lesson of the game itself as many of the levels have intergraded certain things from the original two for you to enjoy.


Story: A



Here is where you will worry. The story is strong, but how is the gameplay? Well, luckily it was done well and actually totally different from the previous games. It is fresh and a new style for the Banjo-Kazooie series. Your egg shooting from Kazooie as well as many other attacks once held by the dynamic duo (as I type this im paying my royalties to DC comics). This makes way for their new vehicle based game they have created which seems sketchy to which I understand, but let you skepticism rest and give it a try. You will find that it is great. You can customize your own vehicles from hundreds of parts and create vehicles that range from regular racing cars to planes and helicopters. I made a plane with two grenade launchers and flew around dropping bombs all over the place, now I know how it feels to be a bombardier for a US plane in 1944. The one catch from the L.O.G. is that you can only use the cart he has provided for you while in Showdown Town.

When you enter the game world you can choose from any vehicle you would like. From your speedboat to your hovercraft you can go all out with it. Think of unlimited Lego designs that fit together at all times. Kazooie is given a wrench that is magical with the lovely Mumbo Jumbo skull on it. You can pick up just about anything with this wrench and carry it or place it in the cart of your vehicle. You get to complete missions of very little significance, but somebody needs them done eh? They range from taking a large bomb to Bottles to be deactivated to racing and sumo wrestling Jinjo's.

The real kick from the game is endless possibilities. With so many things to create it is hard to get bored which really seems to work well for the game. It has minor problems such as some vehicles are very hard to maneuver and some time trials are just astoundingly hard to accomplish. Beyond these small problems the gameplay is fun, solid, and all around enjoyable. The quirky and stupid jokes are back and the gameplay helps move them along wonderfully.


Gameplay: A



While they will not wow you the cinematics are well defined and produced well. All of the characters have that cartoonie feel that Rare excels in. They took their original N64 game and made a great work out of it. As I said before the graphics are not Gears of War 2 or Fallout 3 esque, but they are not made to be. They are supposed to be slapstick and cartoonie which they do extremely well at. The details to the vehicles are very good though and give you a innovative feel as well. You can make a single wheel motor bike out of 5 pieces or an airship that could rival a US flying fortress. While graphically the game may not be what astounds us it does keep your interest and keep you enjoying every minute.


Graphics: B



The sound quality is exceptional. The music is integrated from the original games so you already know and love it. The vehicles motor or hover sounds are great and keep your realism within the cartoonish game world. They brought back the original conversation system of the weird sounds all the characters make when talking. For anyone that dislikes this I ask you, "How would Link sound?"; yeah that's what I thought...

The effects in the game are simple yet work well. The whole point in the game is fun and the sound does its part. While the effects are nothing to gawk at they do their job respectively and should get the credit they deserve.


Sound: B



With an online battle melee kind of thing going I have to say I was impressed with how much online I really did. I love the single player storyline, but the online was something that is a stone unturned by most. As you can create your own vehicles and use them online or trade, it makes matches more fun and different nearly all the time. The campaign is a long one and if you're a fan enough of the series it is worth a second play, but the online is worth the packaging cost in itself. Think Halo, Build a Bear and Lego rolled into one crazy ranked matchup.


Replay: A-



Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts offers a new twist to the games series. With a reliance less on combat and more on building of vehicles they took a great idea and ran with it. With new looks and moves the game takes it all to a whole new level of fun. They give you the gameplay of Banjo-Kazooie, but add in creating hundreds of different vehicles to use and abuse along with a storyline that is full to the brim with stuff that will keep you going. Between the story mode and online play I gotta say that it will keep me playing for awhile. If your new to this game or think you might want to try it out you can also get Banjo-Kazooie off of XBLA for 1200 Microsoft Points ($15 USD) before you buy this game ($35 USD). I you like building and constructing as well as racing and hitting things this is a game that will keep you interest and give you plunty of gameplay for the cover price. Needless to say, you'll go NUTS and BOLTS for Banjo Kazooie!

Overall: A-




Pointless Collector (10 Achievement Points)
Take part in the L.O.G. badge collecting challenge at the start of the game in Spiral Mountain

Open Nuts (10 Achievement Points)
Place the Nutty Acres Game Globe on its plinth in Showdown Town

Next-Next-Gen (10 Achievement Points)
Place the LOGBOX 720 Game Globe on its plinth in Showdown Town

History Lesson (15 Achievement Points)
Place the Banjoland Game Globe on its plinth in Showdown Town

Let the Games Begin (15 Achievement Points)
Place the Jiggosseum Game Globe on its plinth in Showdown Town

Super Banjo Universe (20 Achievement Points)
Place the Terrarium of Terror Game Globe on its plinth in Showdown Town

My First Bank (10 Achievement Points)
Bank your first Jiggy in Showdown Town

Little Banker (20 Achievement Points)
Bank 10 Jiggies in Showdown Town

Big Banker (30 Achievement Points)
Bank 30 Jiggies in Showdown Town

Shower of Gold (40 Achievement Points)
Bank 60 Jiggies in Showdown Town

Jiggillionaire (50 Achievement Points)
Bank 131 Jiggies in Showdown Town

Pimped Up (20 Achievement Points)
Complete the Showdown Town Trolley with Parts won from Grunty battles

Witch Hunt (50 Achievement Points)
Defeat Grunty at the end of the game

My First Trophy (10 Achievement Points)
Earn a T.T. Trophy from any challenge

Few Trophy Pts (20 Achievement Points)
Earn 10 T.T. Trophies from any challenges

More Trophy Pts (30 Achievement Points)
Earn 30 T.T. Trophies from any challenges

A Lot of Trophy Pts (40 Achievement Points)
Earn 60 T.T. Trophies from any challenges

Be Crateful (15 Achievement Points)
Find and return two crates to Mumbo's Motors

Blueprint Buyout (15 Achievement Points)
Buy a blueprint from Humba in Showdown Town

Roid Rage (15 Achievement Points)
Train Banjo once in the Showdown Town gym

Start to Free the Showdown Six (15 Achievement Points)
Free and re-house a Jinjo in Showdown Town

Vigilante (15 Achievement Points)
Lock up a Minjo in Showdown Town

Bingo (20 Achievement Points)
Complete a line on the Bingo card at King Jingaling's Palace

Stop 'n' Swop (0 Achievement Points)
Return a Stop 'n' Swop crate to Mumbo's Motors

BBQ Beef (20 Achievement Points)
In Nutty Acres, they like their steak well done

Massive Damage (20 Achievement Points)
Aim at the 10 legs for massive damage

Test Your Strength (20 Achievement Points)
Roll up, show the whole of Banjoland how strong you are

Great Balls of Fire (20 Achievement Points)
Take a heavy ball around the Jiggosseum and get a burning sensation

Ultimate Combo (20 Achievement Points)
More like a three-hit combo in the Terrarium of Terror

Floater in the Pipe (20 Achievement Points)
Eeurgh That's not going to help the Test-O-Track plumbing

Burn the Witch (20 Achievement Points)
Showdown Town witch hunt

Head for Heights (20 Achievement Points)
Find the best view in Showdown Town

Fuzz Off (20 Achievement Points)
POP goes the Weasel

Paint Your Wagon (10 Achievement Points)
Paint any part of your vehicle in Mumbo's Motors

Speedy of the Colossus (25 Achievement Points)
Build a vehicle with 200 blocks or more and go over a set speed

Minimalist (25 Achievement Points)
Build a vehicle with five blocks or less and go over a set speed

Whoa Nelly (25 Achievement Points)
Travel in a vehicle over a set speed

Loose Change (20 Achievement Points)
Collect ALL the Showdown Town Loose Change

Arcade Pwner (20 Achievement Points)
Finish all levels of Klungo's Arcade game

Sunday League (20 Achievement Points)
Play in and complete a multiplayer game League

Premier League (40 Achievement Points)
Play in and complete a marathon multiplayer game League (Every Race, Every Sport or Every Race and Sport)

What's That Smell? (10 Achievement Points)
Play an Xbox LIVE multiplayer game against a Banjo team member, or somebody who has already done so

Bit of Blue (10 Achievement Points)
Share a blueprint with another player or Friend over Xbox LIVE, or save 20 blueprints

Paparazzi (10 Achievement Points)
Take a photo and upload it to Xbox LIVE, or take five photos

Caught on Camera (10 Achievement Points)
Send a video replay to a Friend over Xbox LIVE, or save five replays

High Fives All Round (10 Achievement Points)
Be on the winning team in a ranked team game

All My Own Work (20 Achievement Points)
Win a ranked solo game with a custom vehicle

Too Easy (10 Achievement Points)
Win a ranked solo race by reversing over the finish line

Too Easy Too (20 Achievement Points)
Win a ranked solo race by running or swimming over the finish line

Are You Trophy Thomas? (40 Achievement Points)
Win 20 Xbox LIVE ranked multiplayer games in any mode


"Banjo Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts (X360)" is on sale November 12, 2008 and is rated E10+. Adventure. Developed by Rare Ltd. Published by Microsoft Game Studios.

Sean Anthony


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