tofford's Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts (Xbox 360) review

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  • tofford has written a total of 27 reviews. The last one was for L.A. Noire


Banjo Kazooie has long been a charming platformer living under the shadow of Mario. Banjo Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts has come along to change all that. This is done in many ways with the major one being a change in gameplay.
Nuts and Bolts picks up with Banjo and Kazooie sat around eating pizza. Yes its deffinately an interesting start. Both of them have put on a lot of weight due to the fact they no longer have to foil Gruntilda's evil plots. This quickly changes when the Lord of Games (LOG) shows up throwing Banjo and Kazooie into a whole new game and the location of showdown town. Showdown Town is your typical hub world with doors to various worlds where your challenges take place. The visual design of this game is a charming one. Everything has a very hand-built feel to it and each world has a unique feel and look. I was very impressed with the worlds although they can be hard to navigate and the framerate didn't always stand up. The game also has a brilliant level of humor to it making it one of the most funny and self aware games on the market.
Nuts and Bolts also shakes up this well loved franchise by completely changing the gameplay. You are given a magical wrench early on in the game allowing you to engineer all sorts of interesting vehicles. This means that all the levels of the game revolve around vehicles. I found the races the most fun just due to the familiarity but transport missions also have a lot of charm. The gameplay is fun and unique but not without its floors. Vehicles dont always handle how you would want them to due to the simplicity of the controls leading to frustrating missions. Certain missions have you fighting off enemies in your vehicles but the only way to aim weapons is to line up your vehicle accordingly. I found these missions very difficult and ended up avoiding them all together. Other than that though the gameplay is extremely fun but its the designing where the game really shines.
Showdown town is covered in boxes filled with parts. You can take these parts into the garage and manufacture absolutely anything you can think of. You start of with simple body parts and small engines. This allows you to make loads of different chassis and you could spend hours just tinkering around and making all sorts of interesting vehicles but it gets a lot better. You end up unlocking propellors, wings, floats, springs and weapons. This means your crazy and ridiculous cars can become boats, planes or helicopters its loads of fun and you end up making stupid mistakes like forgetting to add wheels. This all comes together when at the beginning of each mission you get a chance to choose a vehicle or just make a brand new one. This can lead to a puzzle element for example I could not protect and object to save my life until I made a bit cage attached to a helicopter allowing me to simply hover over the object and protecting it. It is brilliant and adds replayability.
Banjo Kazooie Nuts and Bolts is a brilliant and inovative game. It is however held back by quite a few technical issues. Oversimplified controls and an iffy frame rate really hurt the game in my opinion. The thing that stops this game from being average on the other hand is its charm. A very self aware and funny game Banjo Kazooie is a game that any platformer fan should give a go.


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