Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts Xbox 360

Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts Xbox 360
The humorously odd team of bear and bird return in a new adventure filled with old-fashioned game-play. This time around, the shoot-y platforming expected of the series is replaced by awkward vehicle missions and an even more awkward vehicle construction mode. Nuts & Bolts seems like a half-assed attempt to cash in on a mediocre game franchise — there are even self-deprecating references to the series’ average-ness littered throughout the game. Without much preamble or narrative direction, Banjo the Bear and his bird backpack Kazooie are whisked away from home by the Pong machine-headed Lord of Games, who forces them to undertake a series of tasks to appease his will. Little motivation is given to complete the tasks other than "you’re playing the game so you better do what you’re told,” making for a less than satisfactory story experience and even less satisfactory missions. What little story there is told through on-screen text that blurs by at an amazingly fast pace, and is filled with a made-up vocabulary that seems like it was developed by a five-year-old whacked-out on sugar and psilocybin. To win the game you must collect Jiggies (Jig-saw puzzle pieces) by completing repetitive make-work tasks that have you piloting a series of vehicles around semi-empty game worlds, picking things up, delivering things, chasing vehicles and racing vehicles. For "creative types,” a Lego-like "build your own vehicle mode” is offered where you can use building blocks to design your contraption. However, most people will just use the pre-designed blueprints and avoid the tedium of moving blocks around a clunky interface. If you find the vehicle creation task compelling you can take your creation online and race against other do-it-yourself-obsessed Banjo-Kazooie fanatics. The cartoon-y feel of Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts seems like it is designed for children but the oddly complex vehicle design mechanics, humorous references to older games and awkward semi-linear game play will frustrate little ones even more than adult gamers. With all the great games lining store shelves this winter there is no reason to fall prey to this middle-of-the-road driving game. If you’re looking for a kid-friendly Christmas present, keep looking — you won’t be anyone’s favourite mom/dad/uncle/aunt if this game is found under the tree. (Microsoft)