The lights are on
In Banjo Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts, we find our heroes, Banjo and Kazooie, have become old and fat. They sit around all day eating, playing Xbox 360, watching tv, and remembering days gone by. Then a mysterious green computer monitor wearing a purple cape appears. He announces himself as L.O.G. He has developed a world of challenges for Banjo and Kazooie to complete. He has also brought back the evil witch Gruntilda. She is just a head but L.O.G. gives her a body, while also returning Banjo and Kazooie to fitness. L.O.G. then ships the characters to his gaming world, Showdown Town.
Showdown Town revolves around L.O.G.'s castle. There is also a town square, a police station where the police chief may be bribed, a gym where upgrades may be purchased, a ship yard, a coliseum, and various other locations. Also in the town are many, many doors which, when they are opened, act as portals to different gaming worlds. In each gaming world there are assorted challenges to be done, the completion of which will earn the player a jiggle, which is a sort of puzzle piece. To complete the game you must collect 131 jiggles. With many of the challenges there is also a Time Trophy to be earned. 4 Time Trophies get you 1 jiggle.
Almost all (possibly all?) of the challenges revolve around vehicles. There are land, water, and air vehicles. The challenges can be races, sometimes you haul stuff, you might drive around picking up nuts, there is one where you deliver pizzas, there is a soccer game, and many more. In completing these tasks you need many specialized vehicles.
This is where the vehicle editor comes in. This editing/creation tool is really the star of the game. By going to Mumbo's garage in showdown town (conveniently located on the town square) or by accessing the garage at the start of a challenge, you can create your own vehicle, or edit various blueprints that are either given to you, or may be purchased from a vendor in the town square. Along with vehicle editing/creation, you can test drive your vehicle, and even paint it. There are many different unique parts so a wide range of customization is possible. You can earn parts, buy them, or find them in crates around Showdown Town. Mumbo has to open these crates for you.
Also hidden around Showdown town and each gaming world are these musical notes which act as the games currency. You can buy upgrades, parts, blueprints, open trapdoors, bribe guards, and more using these notes. Why would you need to bribe guards? Well, because there are these guys named Minjos around town that are locked in jails that you can free and return to their homes. They claim to be innocent and they are very cute while the guards are fat pigs so you tend to help these Minjos out.
It is also a crime to crash your cart into anyone. That wouldn't be a huge problem, except the townsfolk are always in the way, and after each gaming world you have to collect your jiggles and physically take them to the town square to bank them. That was really annoying but you have to do it in order to open more doors.
There isn't much that is bad about this game. It is pretty good. The world's are all beautiful. I really liked the art style. The game stays true to the Banjo franchise. The challenges are clever. The vehicle editor is cool. the camera is pretty good for a 3rd person perspective game. There are moments when it can be bad and frustrating, but usually it is very good. The controls are kind of the same way, they are usually pretty good but can be bad.
This game, for me, is comparable to Mario 64. Like that game, this game revolves around a castle and there are doors that act as portals to gaming worlds. These must be unlocked by earning jiggles instead of the Mario stars. There is currency to collect in the form of notes instead of coins. There is also the challenge of getting to various locations.
Comparisons have also been drawn between this game and Little Big Planet. While this game does have an editing tool and a lot of customization, for me it is completely different just because it is a 3rd person open world game whereas LBP is a Side Scroller for the most part. LBP also has way more customization and also looks way better graphically.
The big negatives to this game, for me, were that the game is way too repetitive and the challenges are too easy. Every challenge you need a specialized vehicle and they are all pretty similar. You are always timed. You always either race, deliver, or collect. The environments do change, but there are always at least ten or so jiggles per world. As for being easy, I think the game was developed to target the younger audience and maybe the casual gamer. Unless I was unsure what to do at first, I pretty much earned the jiggle for each challenge on the first try. It usually took a few tries to earn the Time Trophy. Another big negative was no co-op.
This game is a 7.0 overall for me. The story is funny, the editor is cool, the environments are cool, the levels are fun but get repetitive, and there is a lot of stuff to collect. The game is a good length, and there is some replay value with multiplayer.
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