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Making a triumphant return after eight years way, Banjo Kazooie Nuts and Bolts is a colourful and humorous mix of platforming and vehicle-based missions. With an intricate Lego-style creation tool, that had me addicted from the start, the lovable Bear and Bird combination fill this 20-hour game with entertainment until the very end.
From the moment I entered the hub-world of Showdown Town it struck me how alive the game felt. Every inch of each building had a hand-crafted feel to it and after entering one of the five different game worlds the level of detail got ever deeper. It's fair to say that Nuts and Bolts is not your traditional platforming game in the Mario sense - the obsessive collection of pointless objects has (thankfully) faded away and although there is still stuff to collect, it's all essential to your progress. Instead we've got a vast hub-world that's an absolute blast to mess around in and I was quite happy to pootle around in Banjo's trolley, bumping into old characters and collecting the odd crate or two.
Linked to this overworld are the six main game worlds where you'll find all the challenges needed to beat your cheating enemy - Grunthilda (oh and she does cheat). What makes Nuts and Bolts so different is that all these challenges are vehicle based and almost each one can be attempted with one of your own custom-made creations.
We are thankful of the distance between life and art - the gruelling reality of the crashes would be too close for comfort had there been a soft fragile human cadaver in the middle of it all.
And this is where I lost most of my time. The garage to build your wild creations is a fantastic tool that's so easy to grasp the concept of and use effectively. All you do is take each individual component of a vehicle and stick them together a la Lego blocks. As long as you have a seat for Banjo, an engine and some wheels or propellers attached then whatever you build is going to do something. Even if it just self-destructs in a glorious shower of bits and pieces.
The whole family got involved with this aspect of the game and it quickly replaced Little Big Planet PS3 as the creative game of choice - simply because it was far easier to have fun with. Channelling my (admittedly limited) creative power into a definite goal was so much more rewarding than I had considered possible. And when you have people urging you to stick yet another large engine on a wild contraption to make it go just that little bit faster, it becomes the best entertainment for the family in front of a console for a long while.
It becomes the best entertainment for the family in front of a console for a long while.
The ultimate aim of Nuts and Bolts is to collect enough Jiggies (little Jigsaw pieces) to unlock more game worlds to beat Grunthilda in. But the scale of the game can sometimes be overwhelming as there are 137 Jiggies to collect in total and after 10 hours I had amassed a mere 37. I would expect myself to be bored by this stage but it's a testament to the game that I was eager to jump back in at any opportunity and even more enthusiastic to get back to the garage and craft another monstrously over-powered tank or jet-propelled helicopter.
If there was any doubt the Banjo & Kazooie were a videogame relic best left to the scrapheap then Nuts & Bolts shows how wrong that sentiment was. Whatever magic dust Rare sprinkled into the mix, it brought the old duo back into my heart and kept me entertained for hours.
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