Expect the unexpected with Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts. If you’re holding out for more of the same classic platforming action typically dished out by this decade-old franchise, then you’ll be sorely disappointed. Celebrated game developer Rare has thrown out the tried and trusted format and conjured up something quite unlike anything it’s done before.
After a funny and nostalgic introduction, Banjo (the bear) and his sidekick Kazooie (the big red bird) are thrust into a world created by the mysterious LOG (Lord of the Games), a supreme being who claims to have invented every video game ever made. The various levels of LOG’s world once again pit Banjo and Kazooie against their old witchy nemesis Gruntilda.
This sounds like the sort of over-the-top scenario the platforming genre was created for, right? Well, not exactly because Nuts and Bolts takes a sharp left turn at predictable street. No longer do the objectives have you running about on foot or gliding under wing. Now the primary method of navigating and completing levels is by building vehicles tailored to the various environments you encounter. Although there are easy-to-follow blueprints that can be used to create vehicles, the 1600 vehicle parts available give ample room to experiment - offering almost limitless transport possibilities. The vehicle creation mode is also intuitive and simple to use with a comprehensive tutorial included.
The high-definition graphics in Nuts and Bolts look magnificent. The music is also gorgeous, with sweeping orchestral pieces. For my money, not since Super Mario Galaxy has a game soundtrack been as absolutely faultless as this.
And finally, to all the whingers out there who just wanted more of the same: you must grudgingly agree that Rare should be commended for trying something new and slightly risky. If only more game developers had a similar philosophy.