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Hands-On: Banjo Nuts & Bolts' Workshop Adventure

Find out why even a Banjo neophyte like me got pulled in by the ingenious, humorous originality of this new sequel.

Building stuff like this is surprisingly easy.
Back when Rare was making games for Nintendo platforms, the Banjo-Kazooie series seemed a little redundant to me. I mean, in the context of the late '90s, why would anyone make a whimsical, brightly colored platformer on the same system that hosted Super Mario 64? You're just inviting a comparison. Sure, there's something to be said for capitalizing on the success of a hit (and at the time, new) style of gameplay, but if you only had the stomach for so much 3D platforming, Banjo might have come off as something of an also-ran.

It's been eight years since the last significant Banjo adventure, and a lot has changed. Rare's making games for Microsoft now, of course, and you know the Xbox 360 is pretty short on colorful platformers. Then again, this latest Banjo, Nuts & Bolts, isn't exactly a platformer. What is it? Here, I'll let this video do the talking.

  



Microsoft imposed some story-specific limitations on our coverage, so I'll just go for the top-level stuff here: Gruntilda the evil witch is back to terrorize Banjo and Kazooie...sort of. She's actually been dead, more or less, since the last game, but her skull is still hanging around, speaking in venomous rhymes. Meanwhile, our dynamic duo has gotten pretty fat without any villains to fight against. Then the Lord of Games appears. This guy is basically an old monochrome CRT--displaying a game of Pong that looks like a face--attached to some empty, floating robes. (That's him in the loading screen midway through the video.) This guy is the witty, sarcastic, all-powerful creator of every video game, ever, so he creates a bunch of new, varied action levels that spiral off the game's central hub, Showdown Town, where Banjo and Kazooie can face off against the newly empowered Gruntilda (who is now a head floating in a jar on top of a robot body).

See what I mean?
One thing that video doesn't convey is just how damn funny Nuts & Bolts is. Not just the occasional one-liner, either; the game pokes and prods at itself, Rare and its body of work, and platforming conventions in really dry, clever ways. It's all kind of meta-humorous, really, like when it rags on the Banjo franchise's reliance on item-collecting, then sends you on a mission to collect a bunch of notes--which are all lined up in a straight path in front of you, so all you have to do to complete the mission is run forward. It mocks Grabbed by the Ghoulies' commercial failure. It chastises you for walking when you could be driving. It's all really entertaining and I laughed out loud repeatedly just in the first few minutes of the introduction.

The workshop and the open-world missions were enough to entice me from a gameplay standpoint, but Nuts & Bolts' humor and personality are what have me extra jazzed for it. It's out in early November, and we've got a build in here now, so look for more coverage and a review between now and the release. Brad Shoemaker on Google+
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Posted by Brad
Building stuff like this is surprisingly easy.
Back when Rare was making games for Nintendo platforms, the Banjo-Kazooie series seemed a little redundant to me. I mean, in the context of the late '90s, why would anyone make a whimsical, brightly colored platformer on the same system that hosted Super Mario 64? You're just inviting a comparison. Sure, there's something to be said for capitalizing on the success of a hit (and at the time, new) style of gameplay, but if you only had the stomach for so much 3D platforming, Banjo might have come off as something of an also-ran.

It's been eight years since the last significant Banjo adventure, and a lot has changed. Rare's making games for Microsoft now, of course, and you know the Xbox 360 is pretty short on colorful platformers. Then again, this latest Banjo, Nuts & Bolts, isn't exactly a platformer. What is it? Here, I'll let this video do the talking.

  



Microsoft imposed some story-specific limitations on our coverage, so I'll just go for the top-level stuff here: Gruntilda the evil witch is back to terrorize Banjo and Kazooie...sort of. She's actually been dead, more or less, since the last game, but her skull is still hanging around, speaking in venomous rhymes. Meanwhile, our dynamic duo has gotten pretty fat without any villains to fight against. Then the Lord of Games appears. This guy is basically an old monochrome CRT--displaying a game of Pong that looks like a face--attached to some empty, floating robes. (That's him in the loading screen midway through the video.) This guy is the witty, sarcastic, all-powerful creator of every video game, ever, so he creates a bunch of new, varied action levels that spiral off the game's central hub, Showdown Town, where Banjo and Kazooie can face off against the newly empowered Gruntilda (who is now a head floating in a jar on top of a robot body).

See what I mean?
One thing that video doesn't convey is just how damn funny Nuts & Bolts is. Not just the occasional one-liner, either; the game pokes and prods at itself, Rare and its body of work, and platforming conventions in really dry, clever ways. It's all kind of meta-humorous, really, like when it rags on the Banjo franchise's reliance on item-collecting, then sends you on a mission to collect a bunch of notes--which are all lined up in a straight path in front of you, so all you have to do to complete the mission is run forward. It mocks Grabbed by the Ghoulies' commercial failure. It chastises you for walking when you could be driving. It's all really entertaining and I laughed out loud repeatedly just in the first few minutes of the introduction.

The workshop and the open-world missions were enough to entice me from a gameplay standpoint, but Nuts & Bolts' humor and personality are what have me extra jazzed for it. It's out in early November, and we've got a build in here now, so look for more coverage and a review between now and the release.
Staff
Posted by PercyChuggs

I thought this game got pushed back into 2009?

Edit - Apparently, it's out on November 11th. Should have known better than to question the omnipotent Brad Shoemaker.

Posted by NickL

thats six articles in a row for brad...

Posted by Gregomasta

I was one of the people who loved banjo kazooie, I also never owned Mario 64.  This totally looks fun, and most of all it has that kiddish imaginary art style.  Loving those rain clouds.   Banjo kazooie always had great characters in my opinion and it looks like they bring those chars right to next gen along with the bear and bird.  Gameplay looks like it could get tedious but I think the building vechical aspect might help in that area.  Looking forward to it.

Posted by TomboDemon

i can tell my friend who is extremely angered by the straying away from platforming that all is well

Posted by ManMadeGod

Wow, I love the hands on video; why can't we have one of these for every game :)
Banjo sure is looking good for $40................

Posted by DarkHomer

damn, gotta go get my pre order down for this game. Its looking pretty awesome.

Posted by ArbitraryWater

This comes out around my birthday so I will most likely get it.

Posted by TyrellOCP

this just looks so bright and colourful, like a kids wild imagination.
there aren't enough games that do that and i'm so glad that Rare are still going and have made this.
it just looks "fun", fun for funs sake.
fantastic

Posted by jyurakyumihawk

Brad's been really busy lately.

Posted by AllThatBacon

Awesome. Just...awesome.

Posted by TheWorstPlayerEver

im really enjoying all of these video previews, keep them coming. I just wish they were longer

Posted by MasterOfPenguins_Zell
  • 12 minutes of Brads voice.
  • Nostalgia of Banjo and Kazooie.
  • Getting pumped up with excitement for Nuts & Bolts.
Ah... such a good Hands On.....
Posted by nick_verissimo

i was/am a huge fan of the original banjo games, and as much as i could totally just go for another one of those games, this one seems just as good.  seeing as brad mentioned that the game was still funny, it really shouldn't be that different.  that and the fact that the original game is gonna come free with the pre-order makes this even better.

Posted by Babble

Woah! This really looks awesome. I wasn't sure if I was going to buy this to start out with. What with such a busy holiday season. However this changed my mind! For 40$ this is looking like a great buy!

Posted by MeatSim

This game looks cool and I don't even like Platformers that much.

Posted by Godzilla_Sushi

I think it looks really fun! I can't wait to get it. This looks just as big as any of the big titles coming this month.

Posted by CharleyTony

its really simple

this game looks like its just plain fun

I didnt know if I wanted to buy it,but now I know I getting it as soon as it comes out...

Posted by Milkman

I still don't know what I think about this game. I think I like it a lot. But I don't know...

Posted by TheGTAvaccine

DROOOOL.

Posted by Great_Ragnarok

wow I'm getting this!:D

Posted by Death_acolyte

im going to get it... nothing more

Posted by CaleShepard

I'm gettin dat fo sho

Posted by guttershark

i'm pretty excited about this one

Posted by KiddSushi

I'm so on the fence about this game. It looks really cool, but I guess it depends on how good the challenges are. I'll probably wait for reviews on this one.

Posted by Oni

Game looks amazing, graphically as well as gameplay-wise. I've got it pre-ordered so I get BK for free as well. Actually more pumped for this game than Gears 2!

Posted by cikame

Seems like it could be annoying doing certain quests, i get the feeling i'm going to want to leave my vehicle and punch things just to get it over with but the game will force me to create better vehicles because thats what it wants, not what i want, so maybe the original suits me more :S

Posted by PaddyD

This game just looks unreal. It looks and sounds like some kind of Pixar film. I loved the previous Banjo games and I love how Rare is giving the series a reboot of sorts. I'm looking forward to this.

Posted by Krelle

Next up: Hands-On Brad!

Posted by AaronBelfast

From a PS3 owners view, this game looks amazing. System seller, IMO.

Posted by GrimReaper29045

Man, I havn't play a Banjo Kazooie game in forever. This looks like its gonna be alot of fun.

Posted by TwoOneFive

wow looks very fun and i really like the graphics!

but i have to say i only got enough money for one platforming-esq game- LittleBigPlanet
Posted by TouchMyBox

I really enjoyed what i played of this game, already have it preordered on amazon :)

Posted by Dudacles

This looks awesome. My interest in this game just went from zero to through the roof. Nice coverage.

Posted by Link

Looks pretty awesome!
Definatly going to get this I think!

Posted by ShadowSkill11

I tested this game a few months ago... not impressed.

Posted by manurok1

it looks like a good game i just dont think it suits the banjo-kazooie theme

Posted by halfameatball

This is the first video that has gotten me truly excited for Nuts and Bolts. Thanks Brad!

Posted by pasiip

Damn that looks quite nice :p I am now eager to see first reviews of this!

Posted by Seram

This game looks like it's going to be pretty good. And the graphics are far better than I expected. Glad to see it still retains that humor too. I don't have enough money to get this since I have a lot of other things on my list, but I'll hopefully pick it up eventually.

Posted by code305
I never know they are making a new game for this series
Posted by PitifullPete

It looks really nice and fun. But the steering of the vehicle looked kind of awkward, any problems with that?

Posted by CraigAA1028

I lost interest because it is not traditional Banjo Kazooie. I'm more looking forward to the Xbox Live release of the original N64 title than the main game.

Posted by jeterman29ny

Games always seem like they're gonna be cool until brad does a hand-on video for it. His monotone voice makes it sound like every game he plays sucks. I'm pretty sure if I saw him do a hands-on video for call of duty 4, halo 3 or GTA 4, I wouldn't own any of those games right now. He just makes every game sound like they're just really bland and not worth purchasing. This game could be great, but you wouldn't know it by the sound of brad's voice.

Posted by PitifullPete

You should listen to what he says and look what he does an not measure the sound spectrum of his voice.

Posted by Hexogen

Looks pretty awesome. I'll definitely pre-order it so I can get the free download of the original Banjo Kazooie.

Posted by hungrynun
jeterman29ny probably has the most jaded point of view I have ever seen ever.


I am also way excited for this game.
Posted by Moonshadow101

Already pre-ordered.

Also, fail on the bumper. It was clearly facing the wrong way.

Posted by Grilledcheez

This game looks amazing I'm going to have to preorder it now.  Brad's voice owns btw. :D

Posted by RHCPfan24

So you guys also have a review build right now?  That is pretty cool.  Hope you are one of the first to review it.  I know you guys have honest opinions.

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