A Rare Moment

Posted by dankempster (2254 posts) -

I wasn't planning on blogging until the weekend. I had the intention of voicing my opinions of the Half-Life expansion packs, Opposing Force and Blue Shift. On this quiet Thursday, with University lectures cancelled and no pressure from essays or exams, I thought I'd just kick back and chill. Maybe read a little of Mrs Dalloway or The Faerie Queene in preparation for my Literature seminars next week. Maybe do a bit of creative writing, work on my novel to pass the time. Maybe even pick up the PSP and clear a few more outstanding missions in Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII. Instead, I opted to fire up the Xbox 360 and play a little Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts
 
I've been meaning to get around to playing Nuts & Bolts ever since Brad's glowing review encouraged me to pick up a copy from Amazon last Easter. Finishing off the Half-Life expansions, as well as feeling the need to return to my 360 after over a month of inactivity, prompted me to finally pick it up and start playing. Initially my opinion of the game was positive, but not especially high. It's funny, it looks absolutely gorgeous, it controls well, the gameplay is built on a very firm foundation, and the vehicle editor is accessible but also incredibly deep. I spent my first few hours with the game adjusting to the mechanics, mucking about in the Workshop and Test-O-Track, and completing some of the first few Jiggy challenges with some pretty rudimentary vehicular designs. I was enjoying Nuts & Bolts, but wasn't really seeing what Brad was talking about.
 

Then came "the moment"

    
 Is this really what the inside of my games consoles looks like?
The level was the first act of LogBox 720. The challenge was the one given by Klungo, to carry an antenna to a certain height within the level. Thinking I could approach it in the same way as the game's first few challenges, I opened up the vehicle editor with a hint of overconfidence and concocted a super-speedy version of the standard trolley, thinking its bigger engine would be enough to secure victory. I was wrong. After about five attempts which yielded nothing but notes, I decided to skip the challenge and head back to Showdown Town. While there, I hunted down a couple of crates and took them over to Mumbo. One of them contained a set of propellers. This got me thinking, and I instantly raced over to the Workshop to tinker with them. I stuck a couple of poles onto my trolley, added the propellers, and voila: I'd made a helicopter!

 It flies. It carries stuff. It was quite literally made for this challenge.
After a brief run in the Test-O-Track to make sure it could actually fly, I leapt back into LogBox 720 and found Klungo. I retook the challenge, arming myself with my newly-built Carry Copter. As soon as the klaxon sounded, I lifted the antenna onto my Carry Copter's tray, jumped into the driver's seat, and flew towards the ceiling of the level. I reached the allotted height in nineteen seconds, snagging not only the Jiggy but a nice T.T. Trophy to go along with it. My mind was blown. I'd experienced "the moment", the point where I actually GOT what Nuts & Bolts is all about. Instead of persisting with my first instincts, I took a step back, reassessed the situation, and made a vehicle better suited to my needs. Suddenly the creative juices have started flowing.  With just nine Jiggies to my name, I know I've still got a lot more to see, a lot more to think about, and a lot more to experiment with. I can't wait to see what else is lying in wait for me in the future challenges. I've even downloaded the L.O.G.'s Lost Challenges DLC pack, in the hope of squeezing just a little bit more life out of this awesome game.
 
I realise I'm a little late to the party with Nuts & Bolts, so I'm not going to wax lyrical about how awesome and innovative the game is, or about how more games should be providing this kind of experience. Other people have already made that point several times over. I just wanted to say that it's stuff like this, and the depth of the world in the Viva Pinata series, that has left me with a great sense of appreciation for Rare as a developer. That's probably why I've ordered myself copies of Kameo: Elements of Power and Perfect Dark Zero, as well as snaffling a copy of the original Viva Pinata. I'm looking forward to getting stuck into them all over the next year or so. They all look pretty darn good. Thanks very much for reading, guys. I'd also love to hear about your own Nuts & Bolts "moments", too, if you have any to share (but keep them reasonably spoiler-free, as I'm only a little way into the game). In the meantime, I'll see you around. 
 
 
Dan

--- 
 
Currently playing - Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts (X360)
#1 Posted by dankempster (2254 posts) -

I wasn't planning on blogging until the weekend. I had the intention of voicing my opinions of the Half-Life expansion packs, Opposing Force and Blue Shift. On this quiet Thursday, with University lectures cancelled and no pressure from essays or exams, I thought I'd just kick back and chill. Maybe read a little of Mrs Dalloway or The Faerie Queene in preparation for my Literature seminars next week. Maybe do a bit of creative writing, work on my novel to pass the time. Maybe even pick up the PSP and clear a few more outstanding missions in Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII. Instead, I opted to fire up the Xbox 360 and play a little Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts
 
I've been meaning to get around to playing Nuts & Bolts ever since Brad's glowing review encouraged me to pick up a copy from Amazon last Easter. Finishing off the Half-Life expansions, as well as feeling the need to return to my 360 after over a month of inactivity, prompted me to finally pick it up and start playing. Initially my opinion of the game was positive, but not especially high. It's funny, it looks absolutely gorgeous, it controls well, the gameplay is built on a very firm foundation, and the vehicle editor is accessible but also incredibly deep. I spent my first few hours with the game adjusting to the mechanics, mucking about in the Workshop and Test-O-Track, and completing some of the first few Jiggy challenges with some pretty rudimentary vehicular designs. I was enjoying Nuts & Bolts, but wasn't really seeing what Brad was talking about.
 

Then came "the moment"

    
 Is this really what the inside of my games consoles looks like?
The level was the first act of LogBox 720. The challenge was the one given by Klungo, to carry an antenna to a certain height within the level. Thinking I could approach it in the same way as the game's first few challenges, I opened up the vehicle editor with a hint of overconfidence and concocted a super-speedy version of the standard trolley, thinking its bigger engine would be enough to secure victory. I was wrong. After about five attempts which yielded nothing but notes, I decided to skip the challenge and head back to Showdown Town. While there, I hunted down a couple of crates and took them over to Mumbo. One of them contained a set of propellers. This got me thinking, and I instantly raced over to the Workshop to tinker with them. I stuck a couple of poles onto my trolley, added the propellers, and voila: I'd made a helicopter!

 It flies. It carries stuff. It was quite literally made for this challenge.
After a brief run in the Test-O-Track to make sure it could actually fly, I leapt back into LogBox 720 and found Klungo. I retook the challenge, arming myself with my newly-built Carry Copter. As soon as the klaxon sounded, I lifted the antenna onto my Carry Copter's tray, jumped into the driver's seat, and flew towards the ceiling of the level. I reached the allotted height in nineteen seconds, snagging not only the Jiggy but a nice T.T. Trophy to go along with it. My mind was blown. I'd experienced "the moment", the point where I actually GOT what Nuts & Bolts is all about. Instead of persisting with my first instincts, I took a step back, reassessed the situation, and made a vehicle better suited to my needs. Suddenly the creative juices have started flowing.  With just nine Jiggies to my name, I know I've still got a lot more to see, a lot more to think about, and a lot more to experiment with. I can't wait to see what else is lying in wait for me in the future challenges. I've even downloaded the L.O.G.'s Lost Challenges DLC pack, in the hope of squeezing just a little bit more life out of this awesome game.
 
I realise I'm a little late to the party with Nuts & Bolts, so I'm not going to wax lyrical about how awesome and innovative the game is, or about how more games should be providing this kind of experience. Other people have already made that point several times over. I just wanted to say that it's stuff like this, and the depth of the world in the Viva Pinata series, that has left me with a great sense of appreciation for Rare as a developer. That's probably why I've ordered myself copies of Kameo: Elements of Power and Perfect Dark Zero, as well as snaffling a copy of the original Viva Pinata. I'm looking forward to getting stuck into them all over the next year or so. They all look pretty darn good. Thanks very much for reading, guys. I'd also love to hear about your own Nuts & Bolts "moments", too, if you have any to share (but keep them reasonably spoiler-free, as I'm only a little way into the game). In the meantime, I'll see you around. 
 
 
Dan

--- 
 
Currently playing - Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts (X360)
#2 Posted by Diamond (8634 posts) -

Hmmm... by now I've forgotten most of my great Nuts & Bolts moments, but 'breaking' the challenges and being able to see how other people did good is one of the best points of the game.  It truly is an engineering game!
 
A lot of my favorite moments were seeing how other people broke the game.  'This stuff has to be in the trash', so just flip the trash can over!  'Put these things through the hoop', so just pull the hoop down with a specialized tool!
 
I guess my most glorious moment was how in one event I had the best time, so a lot of people downloaded my vehicle and did a little better.

#3 Posted by Sparky_Buzzsaw (6357 posts) -

Shortly before my 360 broke down, I bought a copy of Nuts and Bolts.  It is unfortunately still sitting in its shrinkwrap on my DVD rack waiting to be played.  Great write-up, and it makes me want to play that game even more.
Moderator
#4 Posted by Claude (16254 posts) -

I gave up too quick on Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts. I bought it Christmas of '08 with a bunch of other games. I really never gave it a chance before I traded it in. It's even cheaper now and sometimes I think, hey, pick it up a again, give it another try. I usually don't have regrets about letting video games go, but this one has stuck with me as a bad choice.

#5 Posted by natetodamax (19217 posts) -

I thought about getting this game, but decided that I probably wouldn't have the patience to keep rebuilding vehicles in order to beat challenges.

#6 Posted by xyzygy (10067 posts) -

I really want this game. Maybe my next purchase after ME2

#7 Posted by Kowbrainz (923 posts) -

My only real problem with Nuts & Bolts comes from the challenges later on, particularly if you're going for the Jiggillionaire achievement. There are a lot of creative challenges in there but there's so many uninspired fetch quests and simple races in between that you end up using the same vehicles for a lot of them.  There really needs to be something imaginative on both sides of the equation for it to work – I’m not going to want to build something innovative if I’ve been doing the same races or fetch-quests over and over throughout the game. So in that way the first ten or so hours of the game were great, but the rest boiled down to me picking one of five or six saved blueprints and tweaking it ever-so-slightly for the challenge then doing the same thing I'd done several times before for another T.T. Trophy. To me it was like so much time had been put into making the vehicle creator so awesome that the rest of the game and challenge design couldn't keep up.
 
There were other complaints I had with the game when I played it for the first time but most of those stem from me being a Banjo fanboy prior to the game's release and not liking how Rare had advertised it as an evolution of the same platforming gameplay when in reality it was something really different. Now, this is the only problem as far as I can tell, and I've gladly recommended the game or lent it to several friends.

#8 Posted by ElectricHaggis (630 posts) -

Getting a time in the top 500 on the leaderboards was a proud moment for me.  It made spending time crafting vehicles seem worthwhile.  

#9 Posted by MjHealy (1867 posts) -

The chopper I built for that mission was an ugly beast. Only just bought that game today

#10 Posted by ArbitraryWater (12008 posts) -
@Claude: You should. You can probably find a copy for >$20 now. Some of the later missions are super frustrating though
#11 Posted by Claude (16254 posts) -
@ArbitraryWater:
I might do it. I had a copy in my hand the other day, but put it back. I should have kept it in the first place.
#12 Posted by ArchScabby (5809 posts) -

The problem I had with this games was that I kept trying to make my vehicles really complicated or look cool, and they just came off not functional or stupid.  If I build a simple vehicle I felt like I was doing it wrong.
 
Though I did make a vehicle that was just giant letters that spelled  my name BRYCE, so that was pretty cool

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