Rare Review: Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts

A machine I call the gyroplane. Despite the sideways wings, it flies really well.

The biggest crime of Nuts & Bolts isn’t anything to do with Nuts & Bolts, but more that there wasn’t a Banjo-Threeie prior to its release. Even though it was clear that it was not a platformer, a lot of reviewers held this against the game instead of reviewing it based on what the game actually is.

Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts is about building vehicles and contraptions to complete challenges. Building the vehicles is a lot of fun and is designed to be easy to work. Slap some stuff together and it’ll probably move. There is some physics involved, but unless you massively weigh down one side, your vehicle likely won’t topple over.

You start off with wheels and engines, and add other parts like propellers (for water and air usage), floaters, wings, weapons and all sorts of other gadgets like springs, detachers and a self destruct. There’s a good mix of parts which are useful for challenges, some that are just for fun and some which are just to add a bit of visual flair (like the objects gained from “Stop ‘n’ Swop” (which involves collecting items in Banjo-Kazooie).

This means all sorts of vehicles can be made, and you can create some unique ideas to try and “cheat” the challenges. There are some Jinjo challenges which require you to hit a certain speed. My vehicle of choice for this was a seat with a spring on it. For some challenges you’ll modify your vehicle a bit after each attempt (one thing to note is doing this is now much better due to the incredibly short load times on the Xbox Series).

Each level consists of 5 or 6 acts, each with multiple challenges. Notes hidden in the level are just one set, so you can collect them in any act. Banjo characters will have different costumes in each level and “act out” other roles -the Banjo humour is very much alive and well.

The hub world, Showdown Town, takes a different approach. Here you just have the standard trolley, which gets upgraded as you defeat bosses. Navigating Showdown Town is more of a vehicle platformer, and has you hunting for crates containing more parts.

Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts gets overlooked because of what it’s not, but it’s definitely worth a look.

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