Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts Hands-On

After a long hiatus, Rare is bringing back Banjo and Kazooie for their first appearance on a console since the days of the Nintendo 64.


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Banjo has awoken from a long hibernation and, along with his trusty sidekick Kazooie, is finally back in the saddle. Nuts & Bolts takes place eight years after the events in the Nintendo 64 title Banjo-Tooie. The duo has also brought some old friends, such as Mumbo Jumbo and Klungo, along for the ride. This time around, it seems Mumbo has given up his shamanistic ways and opened up shop as a mechanic. Early on in the game, you'll have access to his workshop in which you can create your own vehicles from a dazzling array of components, with hundreds--if not thousands--of parts available. We recently visited Rare's studios to see how the game is coming along and wasted no time jumping straight into the garage.

You'll be able to build an endless array of wacky vehicles in Mumbo's garage.
You'll be able to build an endless array of wacky vehicles in Mumbo's garage.

In order to build a machine, you'll need to combine basic building blocks, such as cubes and panels, wheels, propulsion aspects (such as jets, propellers, or helium balloons), weapons, wings, fuel tanks, engines, and more. There are really only a few rules to building a working contraption--each part needs to be attached to another, and you must (roughly) adhere to the laws of physics. That means, at the very least, you'll need some sort of frame for your vehicle and a way to propel it.

Your options are limited at the start. For example, you might only have access to one type of propulsion or wheels--but once all options are unlocked by your progress through the game, there's a dizzying amount of choice. You'll also be able to add some crazy accessories, including springs, which bounce you off the ground if mounted to the bottom of your vehicle or push enemies away if attached to the side, as well as more offensive items, such as cannons, lasers, and missile launchers.

Some of the crafts we saw included basic buggies, planes, boats, helicopters, and vehicles that were a combination of all those things. There's no reason why you can't build an amphibious vehicle with chopper blades to create something ready to face challenges on land, sea, and air. The way you use parts will affect the end result too. Upward-facing propellers provide lift, whereas backward-facing ones provide horizontal propulsion.

While the whole experience of building a vehicle and experimenting with it is a fun experience in itself, it's ultimately a means to an end. You'll need to use these vehicles in a range of challenges and games in order to advance. In a case of trial and error, if your particular vehicle doesn't do what you need it to do, you can build another or take it back to Mumbo's workshop to reengineer it.

The World of Sports encourages pushing your inventions to their limits.
The World of Sports encourages pushing your inventions to their limits.

The developers showed us an instance in which simplicity could triumph over sophistication. One challenge in the World of Sports level requires you to achieve a distance by racing your craft down a steep ramp and launching it off of the end. The first attempt was done with a car, which reached an impressive speed, resulting in a decent distance. While at first glance it seemed that this was the best result one could achieve, Rare showed us how it could be improved by building a circular rollcage that built up speed as it careened down the slope and continued to roll once it had landed, resulting in a longer overall distance.

One of the most promising aspects of Nuts & Bolts is that you'll be able to share your contraptions with and race against other friends on Xbox Live. Rare is planning to include a whole range of online race modes in the game, and the ones we saw were full of bizarre vehicles. It was really interesting to see how different people build their own vehicles, each with differing characteristics and strengths.

We joined in a race with half a dozen other competitors. All had created an individual vehicle from scratch just before the multiplayer event, and each one looked more bizarre than the next. The objective was to follow a large crown as it moved around the map and stay within its set boundaries as best you could (while ensuring your adversaries did not). At the end of the time limit, the person who managed to stay inside the longest won.

Our first attempt was with a bulky, heavily armoured, land vehicle. While it was decently fortified, it struggled to keep up with the fast-moving crown when battling other vehicles, which raised the question, "Why stay on the ground?" The crown was made visible by a circle that rose into the sky, which led us to believe an aircraft would work just as well. Sure enough, our second attempt was much more successful. While the rest of the pack battled it out on the ground, we hovered effortlessly above the carnage and seized victory.

The environments in Nuts & Bolts look gorgeous; they have vivid colours and some bizarre designs that make the game's six worlds weird and wonderful places to explore. You'll start off in Showdown Town, a central hub from which you'll access the game's six varied worlds. One such world, Nutty Acres, is full of rolling green hills, dirt paths, and water, while World of Sports consists of a massive coliseum-like structure.

Nutty Acres encourages the sandbox elements of Nuts & Bolts.
Nutty Acres encourages the sandbox elements of Nuts & Bolts.

While the game's worlds are large enough to make using vehicles essential, you'll still be able to explore lots of areas on foot, making use of Kazooie's abilities to achieve certain objectives.

Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts looks like it will be a hoot to explore. The custom-made vehicles are obviously a major part of the game, and this feature will suck away hours of your life as you build then rebuild a range of machines to suit your needs. The single-player missions look like they'll provide a solid experience, and the riotous online multiplayer will be a great addition to the franchise. Nuts & Bolts is due to hit shelves later this year.

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Avatar image for possesed_fox

sorry to kill your fun Wolflink001 but in the ending of this one grunty is still there (saw it on youtube) but i agree with you this witch as lasted long enough it's about time banjo get's a new nemesis. i can't belive i'm saying this but this is one banjo game i'm gonna pass if it wouldn't had been part of the banjo universe i would had probably gave it a shot but now i just don't think it has the banjo feeling anymore. i mean no abilities no transformation only vehicules building and driving... i understand that rare tried to do something different but it just doesn't fit...

Avatar image for Xiao6

I think this concept of creating vehicles in a Banjo world is interesting because it will add a huge replay value to the game, and multiplayer should also be a hit with fully create-able vehicles. I seriously am considering buying this game.

Avatar image for CaptCheeseGuy

gabrielrodrigue If you have waited all this time for the next Banjo Kazooie. You should have the common sense to buy an Xbox 360. Quit complaining and stop saying that you hate Rare. If it weren't for them you wouldn't have even had Banjo Kazooie or Banjo Tooie.

Avatar image for gabrielrodrigue

I grow up playing banjo kazooie and tooie and I have wait all this time and Rare tell me that this game is going to be for XBOX I can´t belive it I hate Rare for this

Avatar image for Hikaru_Isamu

This game looks spectacular. I can't wait for it.

Avatar image for gundowner

ddr if you knew anything about rare, you would know that they left nintendo

Avatar image for omishboy4831

There is nothing really wrong with the graphics style if they had made banjo and kazooie more realistic then you would have lost most of the charm that the games had made. Trust me it won't effect the game play at all.

Avatar image for 100starz

@xpac040488 You talk about decency but look at ur display picture And i agree with wolflink. But i'll get it anyway, wether or not its different from tooie and kazooie. ahhhh...good times! :) EDIT: Mumbo's Nuts? Lol

Avatar image for ddrstar513

y can't this be on Wii, the series started with nintendo anyway.

Avatar image for yelir55

All this vehicle-based construction reminds me of the travel system between worlds in Kingdom Hearts, and that was an awesome travel system. Build your own ship however you want and travel from world to world with it...WOOO!!

Avatar image for xpac040488

it looks decent.....but not like a banjo game

Avatar image for Wetty01

I hope rare will get back with nintendo

Avatar image for Wolflink001

I grew up playing Banjo-Kazooie and Banjo-Tooie and I just loved those two games. But this one, Nut & Bolts??? C'mon man! The graphics look really nice but I don't think I like Banjo's new look. I don't know about this one. There had better be platforming and Jiggy collecting because if not I will be so pissed!!!! And please after this one, NO MORE GRUNTY!!! I have my fingers crossed for rare. Let's hope they don't screw this epic title up.

Avatar image for gcyberpunk

My first response is my girlfiend will love it! in fact I beleive I will as well.

Avatar image for ColdDice

I only wish i had an xbox......

Avatar image for FLEEBS

This isn't exactly what I expected, so I hope it turns out good. Still, I am looking forward to it. The Banjo games are some of the best from the N64 era.

Avatar image for Alabama_Dark_Ma

I have been waiting for Banjo Threeie ever since I finished Tooie - I love this game and I'm sure that this game will be as much fun as the previous installments. Rare have been creating quality games for years (even when they were Ultimate) and some of their best for me was on N64. Although it seems they have gone for a slightly different approach here I reckon it wil be excellent.

Avatar image for thespotter

Hm... Banjo and Kazooie back? Is it ment to be?

Avatar image for lnehme

oh man.. i remember playing this game for n64.. that was like 9 years ago..

Avatar image for deadlynatas

dude i played this when i was like 8 :D

Avatar image for Galinoth

This looks like some serious fun. I always loved to build things in games.

Avatar image for EvilDarkGon

What's this you say? The bear and bird are back? Oh yes. Oh yes.

Avatar image for xMADxDOGx

it would be much bether if this game will come out on the wii :I

Avatar image for Manticore32

graphics look good, at least thats good

Avatar image for kd_kash

Well im happy about it and the races in xbl sounds pretty nice.

Avatar image for frostyshorts

well, this looks disappointing to me at least. I mean, come on, what happened to the fun platforming and amazing levels to explore concept of banjo and kazooie? I agree with skcrizz, it was great the way it was, and this fan isn't happy about the new changes.

Avatar image for PhantomPhoot

I was never a fan of Banjo-Kazooie, but only because I didn't have an N64. I love building things from the ground up, and hopefully it'll be as cool as it looks.

Avatar image for skcrizz

Im not sure what to think i loved banjo 64 and i will give this one a shot obviously but i just wanted another one which would bring back childhood memories only with diferent levels but the same concept thats what i want. And why is it now every game developer seems to think that they have to completely changeing the old games which were so great and think there making it better when there not that they have just killed a great game.They dont seem to realise that old isent that bad.

Avatar image for tkoguitarist

i wish you all would quit knocking this game. Rare is taking an old franchise and doing something that many developers aren't doing anymore, they are trying to make something different which is really hard to do anymore and for those of you that like platformers the game is not going to be exclusively with vehicles, Rare said that there will be some platform elements in it it is just not the entire game anymore. (oh and its on 360 because Microsoft owns rare)

Avatar image for erlachu2

I'm both disappointed and excited at the same time. I was really looking forward to a good adventure game like Banjo Kazooie, since I have been drowning in shooters lately. I just feel rather disappointed at the fact that I won't be playing another adventure with these two after all the time i shared on the N64 with them. I'm sure this game will be worth playing, but it's just not what i was looking for in Banjo Kazooie. This would be best put into a new IP, I think.

Avatar image for supermariobro9

What in the world are they thinking banjo and kazooie is an adventure I remember when i was little I use to love those games now im just put down by what there doing. IM sure everyone will. IT should also still be on the wii not xbox 360.

Avatar image for nick_spot

i'm sure rare will be reading all these comments.

Avatar image for luigismansion101

rare has been one of my fav devs this generation, having pulled out the stops on kameo, pdz, vp, and now bk and vp2, and hopefully pd2, they don't get much better. i hope the vehicles work into the game well, but i hope they leave a lot of platforming elements to it as well, cause that is what bk is all about.

Avatar image for xXHackettXx

I dunno what to think, i'm kind of disapointed...

Avatar image for 205851200572457630305052949875

Looks like a sound enough concept for a game. But vehicles? Doesn't sound too Banjo-ey. I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

Avatar image for lman013

I think this game will be great to gamers who have never played the previous games, but to recent players of the N64 Banjo.... they will be let down.

Avatar image for blueguykisame

hmm..I liked the gameboy game of this, but anotehr game..? and on the 360.? i probably wont buy, or rent.

Avatar image for SevenSorrows

This game won't be as good as the N64 games, they were classic. I'll probably rent this game first, but let me ask a question. If Rare is relying heavily on open-world exploration and vehicle customization as a big part of the game, why not just make a completely different game! I agree GazHill, this is NOT what Banjo Kazooie is about.

Avatar image for GazHill1987

The reason i bought an xbox 360 was because of Perfect Dark Zero, i was expecting the same amazing quality from Rare as with its previous games, but i was let down by it and now this about BK.Since when was Banjo Kazooie about vehicles. Another indication Rare have lost it?

Avatar image for James5000

It's been way to long since a Bango game, this is going to be sick!

Avatar image for Rowr14

looks sweet. I have full confidence in rare to pull this off.

Avatar image for Ohio_Sux

I have a bad feeling about this wont be as good as the N64 ones

Avatar image for LordChimera

This game could be really good. I like the idea of the sandbox maps and the vehicular customisation :)

Avatar image for Klongox

i have both the banjo games and find myself playing them every once in a while its a great series that i wish would continue like the resident evil games. I'm looking forward to it and hope to get soon after it releases

Avatar image for rynoz7

It sounds great, but if it started out on Nintendo 64, doesn't it make sense that it should also come out for the wii or other platforms for that matter? Anyways, I wish I had a 360.

Avatar image for Tomic2505

sounds ok

Avatar image for roanlo

I'll need to buy a 360, they classic games are returning and all i got is a wii(and already brought their sequels).

Avatar image for red-orc

Kids are going to love it. And adults will be pleased to behave childishly for that. :D

Avatar image for swissusadude

I didn't expect the game to really go in this direction, but considering the amazing job Rare did with the two previous games for the N64 I trust that they will do at least a decent job here. But I wonder if it is really a true sequel. And jeez, Mumbo's Nuts...did they intentionally do this for the humor?

Avatar image for V-Nine

...still waiting for a new Killer Instinct.....