Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts

Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts, available on Amazon

Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts is a controversial game. It’s the third main-series Banjo-Kazooie game, but its gameplay was completely different. While the first two games were traditional 3D platformers, Nuts & Bolts tossed out almost all of those elements to focus on vehicle gameplay instead.

Genre shifts rarely cause good feelings among fans, and in this case, it blinded a lot of people to the game’s good points.

If you play Nuts & Bolts, you will NOT find an experience like the original Banjo-Kazooie and Banjo-Tooie. However, if you look past that, you might find a good game. I loved the originals. They’re among my favorite games of all time. It crushed me that Nuts & Bolts abandoned that gameplay. Nevertheless, I played it for what it was and enjoyed it.

Vehicles are central to everything. You’ll get blueprints or design your own vehicles, and then use them to complete quests across a variety of strange worlds. These might involve racing, transporting objects, combat, etc. It’s actually quite varied, not at all what you might think when you hear about its emphasis on vehicles.

I’m not a big fan of designing vehicles, but I definitely enjoyed exploring the worlds. My favorites were Banjoland (which was a tribute to various worlds from the original games), Logbox 720 (which is designed like the inside of an Xbox 360), and the Terrarium of Terror (plant-filled domes in outer space with an intro that parodies Lost in Space). I also loved the game’s soundtrack.

Another treat, especially for fans of retro games is the mini-game “Hero Klungo Sssavesss Teh World.” It plays like a NES-era platformer and is very basic… although Klungo thinks he’s made the greatest game ever. Sometimes it crashes. It’s challenging, charming, and leads to some very amusing game moments.

While the gameplay might have left Banjo-Kazooie far behind, the series’ humor is still present, and not only in poor Klungo’s game. Kazooie is as snarky as ever, some sly lines sneak innuendo into the dialogue, and the fourth wall barely exists.

Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts isn’t like its predecessors, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad game. Do you like building vehicles in games? Do you like controlling vehicles in games? Do you want to play a funny game? If you say “yes” to any of those questions, you should at least give Nuts & Bolts a chance, even if it isn’t the “Banjo-Three” fans hoped for.

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