Giant Bomb News


A Belated Plea For Beleaguered Banjo

I just can't do this anymore, but luckily Stephen Totilo's still got some fight left in him.

 See what you've done? SEE?
 See what you've done? SEE?
It's been months since I ceased extolling the quality of my favorite game from 2008, Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts, because I don't handle disappointment well, and I couldn't bear (pun not intended) one more note of rejection or passive dismissal from all those people who needed to play it. To understand it, grasp its brilliance
I am still not joking here. What? Fine, forget it. Forget you.

Good thing intrepid reporter Stephen Totilo is still out there, singing the praises of the most important little budget-priced game that 2008 forgot. He's still here, at the turn of the new decade, writing about why Banjo finally grabbed him, albeit late in the game, and after nearly dismissing it himself.

The old way you play games — the way I first attempted to play Nuts & Bolts for a few hours — is that you try a level or a mission and, if you fail, you try it again. Maybe you gain experience points, your character levels up and it gets easier. Maybe, more often, you just try it and try it and get better, learn the intricacies of the mission or level, and finally you get it. That's how it normally works. That's how I've approached Mario games. That's how I've approached Banjo games. That's how I've approached racing games.

In Nuts & Bolts, however, in one mission, I kept failing. I couldn't win a race. The other racers passed me every time. I messed up the same turns. And I probably could have overcome all that by trying and trying and trying again. But the lightbulb went on. I went into the Nuts & Bolts garage. I started rebuilding my vehicle. You construct these vehicles as if you're making Lego builds, bolting on cubes and cones, latching one part to the next. I was having trouble making a turn? I'd reshape the fender. A guy was passing me on the sides? I'd add a gun on the side to shoot him away. I was falling behind? I added an extra engine, some extra fuel and then lightened the chassis so I was still swift enough.

I didn't get better at the game. I made myself better at the game — by making something better for myself.

Totilo eloquently sums up what made the game so meaningful to me, too. Heed his words. Savor them. Then play the game. 
Hey, now's as good a chance as any to mention that Nuts & Bolts is now on the Games On Demand service for a mere $20 (at least in the U.S.). Now you can enjoy this phenomenal, groundbreaking game without even leaving your house. Is there any way they could make it easier for you?   
In case you forgot, here's why I liked Banjo so much at the time.  

Brad Shoemaker on Google+
130 CommentsRefresh

Avatar image for durden77
Posted By durden77

Had it since day one, mainly cause I've been a Banjo fan forever. I just put it in yesterday, and every time I do I'm kind of amazed it's as underrated as it is.  
While there's no denying how much I love the originals, I love this game on it's own merits. Plus they nailed the style that gave those games a unique presence.

Avatar image for ouenwoof
Posted By ouenwoof

Quite an old article, but I just recently started playing this game and I absolutely adore it. I almost glazed right over it like everyone else did, but I started watching the currently ongoing "Let's Play" of the game currently in progress on the SomethingAwful forums, and bought it at the first chance I got. Many thanks to Brad for really trying to get the word out about how fantastic this game is!

Avatar image for generiko
Posted By Generiko
Best game of the generation
So nice
Avatar image for starfoxa
Posted By StarFoxA

Love this game. I got 1250/1250G in it as well.

Avatar image for garc4475
Posted By garc4475

terrible game GLAD it sold like shit.

Avatar image for ax3m4hn
Posted By ax3m4hn

this game had so much potential but what really frustrated me to no end was the HORRIBLE HORRIBLE physics. seriously, theres no recovering from hitting a tree, you spin out like its nobodys buisness
Avatar image for robatw
Edited By robatw

I just bought the game via Ebay - due to Brads incredible persistence.
It was 13€ inclusive shipping. That's a nobrainer, i guess.

Avatar image for mattyftm
Posted By MattyFTM

Nuts & Bolts is an amazing game. It's absolutely fantastic. It deserves every bit of praise it gets. And more people should buy it and play it.

Avatar image for faint
Posted By Faint

if this hadnt been a xbox360 exclusive i would have played this :(

Avatar image for escapenguin
Posted By escapenguin

I almost forgot I need to pick this up.  Thanks for the reminder, Brad.  At first I actually didn't like it because I expected it to be a continuation of the series.  Then, it clicked, and I played the demo for hours.  This game is a work of art, and you can just feel that thousands of hours went into creating it.  If all developers put out games of this quality I'd never get any rest.

Avatar image for zaapp1
Posted By Zaapp1

Loved it when it first came out, just bought it on XBL.

Avatar image for tuggah
Posted By Tuggah

Just bought it after this reminder by Brad.

Avatar image for princess_isabela
Posted By Princess_Isabela

Banjo Kazooie Nuts & Bolts is a Masterpiece, one if not the most important games we got this generation. 
You really must buy it, there is no other option, 
a dirty shame Brad haven't fought hard enough to convince others bombcasters that this is the truly deserving game of 2008. 
Now all the bombcasters - go and play Banjo Kazooie and Banjo Tooie - they're both on XBLA, absolute pinnacle of gaming you'll ever have a chance to play. 

Avatar image for shadowking7
Posted By ShadowKing7

Considering I don't have a 360, I can't try this game out.  That sucks, too, as I'm a big fan of the two games on the N64 and would at least wanna check out the vehicle stuff in this one, even though I am partial to the platformer style. 
Avatar image for twelve1784
Posted By twelve1784

I bought this game in early 2009 when it was bundled with a wireless controller and Viva Pinata: TIP.  I encourage everyone I know to buy it but honestly most of them don't like to think, they just like to do.  It doesn't help that the first three hours or so go by excruciatingly slow and don't appropriately give the player a glimpse of how crazy and deep the game gets later on.
Nuts and Bolts is one of my favorite games that I have played in 2009 and having played both it and Viva Pinata I will slap anyone who says Rare doesn't know how to make good fun games anymore.

Avatar image for rowr
Posted By Rowr

Only 70 dollars on Australian XBLA games on demand!

Avatar image for twhalen
Posted By twhalen
@Peanut said:
" I bought it for $20 and liked it enough, but my main problem is that it was Banjo Kazooie, and not some other property. The entire time I could think of nothing but how much I wanted a traditional 3D platforming collect-a-thon. There hasn't been a good, or even decent one, in a long long time.  "
Me too. I was a huge Banjo fan back in the day, and went crazy when a new Banjo-Kazooie game was announced. But what I wanted was an evolution of the gameplay I loved so much back in the N64 era, and so never loved the vehicle/platformer style this game had. Thanks to its soundtrack and all the characters returning, it was a great nostalgia trip, but man what I would've done for a traditional platformer.
Avatar image for peanut
Posted By Peanut

I bought it for $20 and liked it enough, but my main problem is that it was Banjo Kazooie, and not some other property. The entire time I could think of nothing but how much I wanted a traditional 3D platforming collect-a-thon. There hasn't been a good, or even decent one, in a long long time. 

Avatar image for clubsandwich
Posted By clubsandwich

I was just playing this game yesterday! :D very cute game. n.n

Avatar image for bartman3010
Edited By Bartman3010

For some reason, I kind of wish there was a bigger focus on multiplayer, because I think that would be where the strength in the game really lies.
I kind of wish they'd port it to the PC, that way I can play on Live without having to pay for any service.
Er, anyway. I honestly see this is a successor to Diddy Kong Racing moreso than the next Banjo game. Why? Because of the emphasis of using vehicles in an open world setting, but you get more objectives than just racing. So why is this game being hated on so much? If you dont feel like building vehicles, the game has plenty of preset ones you can utilize that can do the job just fine. I made a vehicle myself that was used for multiple purposes, and that got me through a good chunk of the game. 
Seriously, people. If you liked Diddy Kong Racing, this really is THE true sequel. Not Diddy Kong/Banjo Pilot. Not Mario Kart Wii. This is the game that takes the kart racing genre for one player (and adding in the ability to create your own vehicles) and made something different. 
Maybe it just feels a bit slower in terms of progression? I dont know. People just need to accept the fact that its not the next Banjo platformer...although if they do make another one, perhaps they can utilize player creativity as a new means of exploration and puzzle solving.

Avatar image for avd
Posted By AvD

I'm with you Brad, I thoroughly enjoyed N&B.

Avatar image for hammerjelly
Posted By Hammerjelly

I asked for and got this for Xmas last year. Mostly based on all the hype it was getting here at GB. To date I've probably only played it for about 5 hours. It just never clicked for me. Maybe I'll give it another spin.

Avatar image for mrsmiley
Posted By mrsmiley

One of the best games of 2008. It's the game that forced me to play the two original N64 titles that came out on XBL. Those games are amazing, but nothing beats the hours I spent tinkering in the garage!

Avatar image for anviltongue
Posted By Anviltongue

Gah! I just added it to my Gamefly que, Brad. ARE YOU HAPPY NOW?!  ARE YOU?!

Avatar image for rowr
Posted By Rowr
@Zabant said:
" @Rowr: you didnt have to click on the link, read the article, then proceed to comment on the article if you didnt want to read about it. it said "BANJO NUTS AND BOLTS" in the header. Jackass. "
Its on GB im obliged to read it. Sorry im just a little tired of the "We think this game is sooo good, everyone else should."
Well sorry i didnt.
Avatar image for flipperdesert
Posted By FlipperDesert

You have no excuse for not buying this game. Go. Game shop. Now.

Avatar image for chocobo_blitzer
Posted By Chocobo_Blitzer

 I loved the first two games back in the N64 days, but I was really disappointed by this game. It isn't even the gameplay that I object to, it's the way they presented it. All the worlds were sterile and lifeless, they just acted as challenge rooms. There were no characters living in them, no collectibles to find,  puzzles to mess with, nothing. If they had meshed the challenges with more interesting worlds to explore I might have cared, but all the worlds are just these bizzare voids. Hell, you'd think the vehicle concept would have encouraged exploration, but there's nothing to explore. 
I'll admit creating stuff was a really wonderful concept, and it was cute when it paid off, but the format was so rigid it just took the fun out of it for me.

Avatar image for sandwich_adjustment
Posted By sandwich_adjustment

if its not on steam I dont want it

Avatar image for drrandle
Posted By DrRandle

That game really is incredible, I honestly need to stop forgetting about it. :/ It's just so massive that it's an easy game to put down and come back too, then play it for a small marathon session because I forgot how brilliant it was.

Avatar image for centimani
Posted By Centimani

I rented this game and enjoyed every second of it. In fact, I've been planning to the store and buy it for about a week now.

Avatar image for carlos1408
Posted By Carlos1408

It's a great game, this made me feel like playing it again.
I might do that lol  :D

Avatar image for relys
Posted By Relys
@Milkman said:
" @Relys said:
" I don't get who they were trying to appeal too.  Fans were very disappointed, that is no secret. But I hated the first two in the series and I hated Nuts and Bolts.   How can you like this game? "
More like how can you not like this game? Nuts and Bolts is a masterpiece. "
I'm sorry, I played like, 5 hours into the game and I still couldn't like it.
Avatar image for hardcorebunnni
Posted By hardcorebunnni

Terrible game and a terrible dishonour brought upon Banjo and Kazooie. Banjo Kazooie for the N64 is my favourite game of all time and I was so dissapointed with Nuts and Bolts.
Avatar image for chronicsmoke
Posted By chronicsmoke

INCREDIBLE GAME! Its a shame that this went under alot of peoples radars just because it wasent a traditional banjo game
Avatar image for professoress
Posted By ProfessorEss

One of the best games for the system. 
...and pick up Viva Pinata Trouble in Paradise while you're at it.

Avatar image for kowbrainz
Posted By Kowbrainz
@buzz_clik said:
" Such a good game. I kept every incremental iteration in vehicle design I made. Added a single new wheel to my old car? Screw saving over it, that's Mark II.  I did, however, miss out on lasering Grunty when I should have, so I missed that Achievement. Ah, well... good excuse to play it again, eh? "
They've patched that now I believe, so you should be able to go back and get it. ;)
Avatar image for jacksukeru
Posted By jacksukeru

Would have totally bought this, if I had a 360.

Avatar image for cefka
Posted By Cefka

Go Brad! I completely agree with you. More people should try this gem.

Avatar image for mrklorox
Posted By MrKlorox
@bassboy2100 said:
" $40 in Canada :( "
I still think you can find it for $20 new in a box via Amazon.
Avatar image for wintersnowblind
Posted By WinterSnowblind
@kingando420 said:
" Jiggilionaires unite! "
Easily the achievement I'm most proud of getting.  That was real ordeal.  :)
Avatar image for kingando420
Edited By kingando420

Jiggilionaires unite!

Avatar image for zabant
Posted By Zabant

I think the problem isn't rare, the problem is the platform, shooter fans who would not know a good game if it smashed them in the face with an iron.
i love my 360 but god damn its userbase.....

Avatar image for zabant
Posted By Zabant
@Rowr: you didnt have to click on the link, read the article, then proceed to comment on the article if you didnt want to read about it. it said "BANJO NUTS AND BOLTS" in the header.
Avatar image for zenaxpure
Posted By ZenaxPure

Honestly even after reading that article earlier today I still had no interest in the game. I am not one of those people going "zomg u ruined teh Banjo name, dieeeeeee" or anything but man the concept just looked so boring to me I couldn't make it 5 minutes into the demo.

Avatar image for simian
Posted By simian

On the one hand, I love this game like I love maple syrup + hockey night in canada + poutine and have fond memories of from 2008 but on the other, Brad loves flower.

Avatar image for deactivated-57b1d7d14d4a5
Posted By deactivated-57b1d7d14d4a5

Bought it a few weeks ago and I'm loving the game.

Avatar image for rowr
Posted By Rowr

I'm glad you like this game.
I dont really want to hear about it though.

Avatar image for emilio
Posted By Emilio
@Symphony said:
" I just purchased this recently and enjoyed it for about 3 hours... and then it became really repetitive. The sense of humor was great, but doing the same sort of races over and over just got tiresome. Sure, creating a massive bulldozer machine to push blocks off a ledge in one fell swoop was a fun "Aha, I'll show the game who's boss!" moment, but those sorts of moments lost their luster once practicallyevery event required going back to the garage and building a machine designed exclusively for one thing .  But the game has a great premise, sense of humor, and certainly offers loads of fun for anyone interested. It just wasn't something that held my own interest, but I'd still recommend the game to anyone with a 360 who likes having fun. "
That was kinda the point of the game. :(
Avatar image for emandudeguyperson
Posted By Emandudeguyperson

Fuck it's times like this I wish my Xbox 360 never broke... $20? Holy snap!

Avatar image for kamikaze_tutor
Edited By Kamikaze_Tutor

But I barely understand how to make a vehicle perform better. How am I going to excel in building something good without spoiling the fun and going online to get a proper blueprint?
Edit: I should add that I was never a fan of Banjo games and therefore kept away from Nuts and Bolts. Not that they aren't good games, just that at the time I wasn't so in to collect-a-tons and nowadays I can't bring myself to go back and keep my interest on those titles.