|System: X360||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Rare Ltd.||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Microsoft Game Studios||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Nov. 11, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1 (8 online)||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
I found myself creating certain vehicles that looked really good and promising but didn't work so well for the challenge. This can be a bit disappointing and make the game too time-consuming and repetitive. The menu interface is not extremely user-friendly, and adding and deleting parts of a vehicle can become a bit tedious at times. Even editing already saved vehicles or copying parts of them was fairly confusing! It's something you get used to with time, but it makes the game somewhat inaccessible for the younger ones, despite its obvious youthful appeal. Vehicles usually control well, but the control layout for other numerous tasks is not as user-friendly as we could have hoped for.
By beating each challenge, you'll earn jiggies, which will then open up new worlds and challenges. If you were really good at the level, you may even obtain a trophy, which is a nice reward for the hard work. You can also pick up musical notes throughout, which are the game's currency. These notes are sometimes placed in tricky sections you may have to access on foot, leading to a bit of platforming action in an otherwise challenge-based game. A few side quests will become available as well, extending the replayability for gamers with a completionist complex.
The multiplayer options are also varied, allowing players to team up with others or simply compete on their own in different challenges. Some modes allow you to use your own vehicles, whereas others require players to use specific in-game rides. These online features will be fun for many, but I feel there's enough time spent making vehicles that the online competition won't be too fast-paced, just as it happens with the game overall. After all, if you don't have the proper ride, you won't stand a chance against your opponents!
One of the most impressive aspects of Banjo Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts is the visuals. While these characters may not be uber-popular and their environments incredibly familiar (other than to those who've played previous BK titles), the inventive worlds within the game are full of nice details, vibrant colors, and powerful, life-like textures. The characters look smooth and their animations are fun and decidedly cartoonish, holding a nice appeal for young players and cartoon fans alike.
The sounds, on the other hand, are not quite as remarkable as the graphics. There's a nice, lighthearted soundtrack and cool sound effects library based on the classic Banjo Kazooie, but nothing is too exciting per se. There's no voice work either, which could have been cool for the game. Instead, some characters just mumble unintelligible words while you read the fast-flowing text at the bottom of the screen. In occasions, text will advance by itself, not giving you enough time to read everything. To top it off, they speak in a strange way, which is difficult to understand sometimes, especially when it goes fast. Mumbo will say things like these: "Bear bring crates; Mumbo put pieces in the garage; Bear build car with pieces."
All in all, Rare deserves an A for effort. However, this is one game that unfortunately won't reach the hearts of all gamers. It's difficult to determine who the intended audience of the title is, as it may be too difficult for kids and too colorful and bubbly for adults, as well as too far from the original Banjo Kazooie series to appeal to old fans. If you can get past the cutesy visuals and enjoy creative and time-consuming games with lots of challenges, you should probably give it a try. On the other hand, if you're looking for a fast-paced, adventure-filled experience, this may not quite meet your expectations.
CCC Site Director