Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts Updated Hands-On

We get some playtime with the single-player mode and put the bear and bird through some of the crazy challenges in Nuts & Bolts.

The team at Microsoft-owned Rare has been working away, keeping their heads down in recent times and churning out the well-received follow-up to Viva Pinata, Trouble in Paradise, as well as a pint-sized version for the DS, Viva Pinata: Pocket Paradise. Rare also revealed that it was resurrecting one of its most beloved franchises, Banjo-Kazooie, after a long hiatus since its Nintendo 64 days. The original Banjo-Kazooie and Banjo-Tooie both garnered critical acclaim, including GameSpot editors' choice awards, so the team has had a lot to live up to.

Race against other characters in Nutty Acres, or just explore the countryside--it's your call.

We've already looked at multiplayer and the vehicle creator and decided it was high time we had a decent session with the single-player campaign. Thankfully Microsoft invited us out to its UK headquarters in Reading, just outside of London, to get in some quality hands-on time with Banjo and his friends.

The game starts off with a brief history of the series, and in typical Banjo humour, it appears that the now portly duo of Banjo and Kazooie are content living a peaceful life of excessive eating, and not a lot more, under Spiral Mountain. However, after eight long years--in both the game's timeline and the real world--Grunthilda is back to prove once and for all who the ruler of Spiral Mountain is. After a few moments of bickering, a strange Pong-faced (his face resembles the classic Pong screen) individual appears, called the Lord of Games, or LOG. He seems to be responsible for making every game that has ever been sold--including, as Kazooie points out, low-selling titles such as Grabbed by the Ghoulies.

To settle their little debate, the godlike LOG has created a gameworld for Banjo, Kazooie, and Grunty to prove their worth in, with the winner earning the rights to Spiral Mountain. We then jumped straight into a challenge against Grunty to collect the most jiggies. We essentially ran up a path collecting jiggies in a straight line. After a few moments, LOG realised that players' expectations have changed over the years and that such a simple challenge simply would not do. He instead transfered the gang to a created gameworld to test their limits. Banjo had to collect jiggies once again, with Grunty and her minions doing all in their power to stop him.

Showdown Town, a quaint little town complete with fat and furry villagers, acts as the game's hub from where you access the other worlds. You unlock these worlds--referred to as game globes--throughout the game as you collect jiggies. Once you earn jiggies you'll need to retrieve them from jigg-o-vend machines scattered throughout Showdown Town, usually located near the entrance to the relevant game globe. Using a shopping cart LOB has graciously provided, you then need to ferry the jiggies to the Jiggybank--a large glass sphere in the centre of town--to access new globes from LOG's video game factory, perched on the top of a hill high above the town. Kazooie has lost all of his powers from the previous games, but LOG gives him a magical wrench that you can use to lift items and jiggies into your shopping cart and to move misplaced vehicles.

We've seen the LOG-manufactured green hills of Nutty Acres before, but this time we were free to explore them at leisure. Everything has a slightly manufactured feel to it, with trees bolted together from green metal, flower stems made from springs, and a digitally produced sky that all make it feel like a scene from The Truman Show. After enjoying the crisp, colourful game globe for a few moments we headed towards the direction of the first jiggy indicated on the onscreen map and talked to one of Grunty's former stooges, Klungo, to get it started. It seems he's had enough of taking orders from Grunty and has gone solo. He's now running an acorn farm in Nutty Acres, but it seems a fire is raging up at the farm and he needs Banjo to take a look before the challenge's time runs out and his crop is destroyed. Choosing a prebuilt Mumbo Motors vehicle, we raced up to the farm and discovered that Mumbo had decided to have a barbeque and had burnt some of his sausages. Crisis averted.

After heading back to Klungo we were rewarded with a jigsaw-pieced jiggie and set off back to the game's hubworld, Showdown Town. Once we had deposited the jiggie into the Jiggybank, Banjo-Kazooie regular Humba Wumba appeared and gave us the blueprints to unlock some new vehicles from Mumbo's garage. Heading back to Nutty Acres, we attempted another challenge, called Tick, Tick, Boom. It seemed Grunty had dropped a ticking bomb on Mumbo. Thankfully we were bestowed with a new vehicle to help with this mission, LOG's tractor, to get the bomb to Bottles, who could then defuse it.

After earning a few jiggies we unlocked the second game globe, Logbox 720. In typical Banjo humour, LOG has designed his own console (which looks strangely similar to Microsoft's console), and you'll need to get inside it to pass a few challenges. The innards look like something out of Tron, with silicon circuit boards, glowing cables, and even giant game discs from previous Rare titles spinning around. Among the challenges we needed to complete were helping a fat pig called Pikelet, Showdown Town's chief police officer, stop a firewall from burning through the console; helping Klungo fix the console's dodgy connection to the Interwebby; and turning down the ambient brightness in the console to help Bottles complete maintenance so it could run at a blistering 1,000 gigaflaps.

Logbox 720 is an amusing Rare take on Microsoft's Xbox 360.

Banjo-Kazooie is shaping up nicely, both visually and in its gameplay. The quirky design that has gone into some of the crazy gameworld looks promising, and fans of the series will be relieved to know that many of their beloved characters will be making starring or cameo appearances this time around. We're keen to play around more with Mumbo's vehicle editor and test out our creations in multiplayer matches--an equally solid experience in addition to the single-player mode--at a later date.

For more on Nuts & Bolts read our just-published vehicle-creator Q&A with Rare and our previous coverage.

Written By

Former staff writer for GameSpot.co.uk, now marketing guy for a certain major online retailer....

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Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts

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Discussion

40 comments
jmartin1016
jmartin1016

Has anyone tried the demo yet? its on xbl

frostyshorts
frostyshorts

I love banjo-kazooie games, and i am really looking forward to this, and with it being a budget title, and the promise of banjo-kazooie 64 coming free with pre-order of the game, I'm definetly thinking this is a must buy.

hochstreck
hochstreck

This game looks like a fresh mixture composing of some fairly stagnant genres: mainly racing and jump´n´run with some exploration, and, as i suppose, lots of customization, masterfully crafted into one game. I wonder why is so much nit-picky and irrelevant whining about this game(as its even sporting some the best graphical aesthetics i have ever seen in a game) - for my part im looking forward to play this game someday. Too bad im actually not interested in purchasing a xbox360 at the moment.

ultravga
ultravga

How come this preview mentions nothing of the weird physics problem with this game. According to most other sites previews there is trouble with the life like physics of objectsand the cartoony landscape in which they coexsist. Apparently it is very frustrating to control vehicles and there is hardly any on foot action at all!!. Weird.

why9090909090
why9090909090

If you go on rare's website nd clic the introduction for this game, it says you still will collect jiggies to unlock newer levels and musical notes to gain further acess into "Showdown town" and of course unlocking more vehicular parts.. I'm stoaked for this game!

Kooleman8
Kooleman8

This game gonna be very disapinthing to a lot of people, if they want to make a race game just call i "Banjo Kasooie and the (MEGA CARS CREATOR)"... A plattaforming never ends

SHACKR
SHACKR

Alot of people would rather have this game on the Wii, but this game makes me want to get a 360 even more. Nice job Rare.

nintendave86
nintendave86

Wow! This game looks like it's gonna be so good! I have been waiting for 8 years and now it's nearly here. I can't wait for it to come out in Australia!

otanikun
otanikun

I'm not seeing much that attracts me to it personally, I kinda miss the old Banjo-Kazooie, what happened to that?

ibanezdropd
ibanezdropd

it looks beautiful. im just praying that it runs well. otherwise i def want this.

WarblazerTM
WarblazerTM

Ive always loved banjo and its humor and it looks like this game is going along nicely.

spungeman
spungeman

i seriously, seriously cant wait

Skreb-Masters
Skreb-Masters

I'm now genuinely looking forward to this title. It sounds like the vehicles and the platforming gel better than I first assumed. The humour works as well. Logbox 720. It would be a missed opportunity if they don't have any RROD reference in there.

Darkensei
Darkensei

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

Vasot
Vasot

Looks way more funny and better from that Sony cr*p Ratchet and Clank

ian5678
ian5678

Looks like this will be a really great game. Now all I need is a Xbox 360 lol. Also Gamespot had some typos in there and Kazooie is a girl.

eliteman24
eliteman24

I dont know what people are blabing about with R&C being better. B&K was the first game to show a 3rd party platformer can be good

diped
diped

I hope this turns otu good, regardless I'll be buying it and enjoying a good time with my old pals with the same humor they've always had. The older two were the best platformers, hopefully this one can almost live up to that name, but it will be difficult with the drastically new direction this one took.

Cooltechie
Cooltechie

I agree with mastiffchild - however it still looks to be good fun.

Flat_Line_____
Flat_Line_____

Would have been funny if they had you try and fix the RROD while you are in the Logbox 720... I'm sure that would have never passed Cert. But you KNOW these guys had to have thought of that while thinking of repair misisons to do inside the console.

mastiffchild
mastiffchild

Never was and never will be as good as R&C. Strictly second divisionm-no meter how pretty they make it.

luckylucas11
luckylucas11

yes m8 i cnt wait for this game. I used to play it when i ws 5 n im 13 now lol. I think it still has the potential to b a sweet game.

tidyspidey
tidyspidey

Jiggybank!? They've been watching too much Ant & Dec *sigh*

Pete5506
Pete5506

I hope this game can hold up to how good the old games were

NeonNinja
NeonNinja

I could have sworn Kazooie is a girl. :P I'm very excited for this game though, I just can't wait any longer. Gears of War sounds awesome and all, but for $40, you just can't go wrong with a new Banjo adventure!

videogamr49
videogamr49

@SSCyborg Kazooie is still a girl, it's probably just a typo.

SSCyborg
SSCyborg

"Kazooie has lost all of his powers from the previous games, but LOG gives him a magical wrench that you can use to lift items and jiggies into your shopping cart and to move misplaced vehicles. " I thought Kazooie was a girl.

dragonfly110
dragonfly110

inally, I have a reason to get up in the morning... I have been waiting 8 years for this game, I love all the details released.

Lord_Artix
Lord_Artix

I still can't believe that Nintendo lost RARE to Microsoft. To be honest though, the quality of RARE's titles has gone down since they stopped cooperating too. I just really want to see Donkey Kong Country 4. First of all, the Rare we know today is not the Rare of SNES/N64 fame. Towards the end of their contract with Nintendo, Nintendo took most of the real talent from Rare and worked them into their own teams, or they left (like Free Radical). Second, we don't need Rare for a DKC 4. Jungle Beat was apparently really good (I don't know, never played it myself) discounting the bongo controller.

kavadias1981
kavadias1981

I still can't believe that Nintendo lost RARE to Microsoft. To be honest though, the quality of RARE's titles has gone down since they stopped cooperating too. I just really want to see Donkey Kong Country 4.

majahret
majahret

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

Darth_Tigris
Darth_Tigris

Never really played the original much, but I'm highly anticipating this. Been itching for something like this on the 360 and the new ideas they're bringing into it could be a ton of fun in single and ESPECIALLy multiplayer. Hope this gets the marketing, because it'd be a shame if it was overlooked during the November blitz.