Looking at my collection of games, I had a stark realisation “I don’t play many bad games”. This meant that finding my favourite guilty pleasure game was so much harder than it should have been. The other issue was also finding a bad game what I actually like. In all honesty, I could probably find so many more critically acclaimed games that I don’t enjoy. But alas, I did narrow it down to one game which could definitely go under the classification of a guilty pleasure: Banjo Kazooie Nuts and Bolts.
For those who aren’t aware, Banjo Kazooie was a 3D Platformer created by British developer Rare for the N64 which came out in the late 90s to great critical acclaim, even spawning a brilliant sequel hilariously badly named “Banjo Tooie”. These are arguably two of the greatest 3D platformers ever made, full of brilliant levels, exploration, fantastic music and a colourful cast of characters. Both developed quite a following, expecting a 3rd game for the Nintendo Gamecube, but this never materialised due to Microsoft’s acquisition of Rare, a dark day in gaming history.
Fast forward to E3 2006 when Microsoft teased a Banjo Kazooie game for the Xbox 360. Everyone was excited, finally everyone’s favourite bear and bird were returning after a long six year hiatus. There was a feeling of joy and excitement once again in the young hearts of gamers, but come November 2008, that joy was soon to be extinguished. Instead of releasing a true platforming sequel what everyone wanted, Rare released a game built around designing and building your own vehicles called Banjo Kazooie Nuts and Bolts. Although scoring a decent average by some reviewers, the game was not well received by the true fans.
Sure, I would have preferred a true sequel to Banjo Tooie, but in all honesty, Nuts and Bolts is still a great game and arguably a very cleverly designed game. In hindsight, Rare should have made this a new franchise entirely, rather than profiteer on the Banjo Kazooie name, but there are some logical comparisons. Instead of using moves like the Talon Trot to ascend steep slopes, shooting eggs out of Kazooie’s behind you attach guns to your vehicle and the whole ability to fly from the first two games is replaced with being able to build helicopters, planes and even a stealth bomber (If you’re creative enough). When you look at it from this perspective, you realise how the game continues the N64 originals legacy.
You still have massive levels to explore, a colourful cast of characters, just a lack of platforming. Despite this, you can still find this game cheap and it’s pretty fun to just mess around in building whatever your heart desires. It looks like we’re never going to get another Banjo Kazooie game, unless Rare came back home to where it belongs at Nintendo. You can still play all 3 of them on the Xbox One and if that’s not good enough, Yooka Laylee is out next year, which is basically just Banjo Kazooie 3… or Banjo Threeie!