Previews

Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts 'N Bolts

Hands-On: A new direction and plenty of nostalgia

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The mechanics of exploration and world progression in Nuts 'N Bolts work just like the N64 games, only this time instead of gaining a new ability to jump over that big wall or destroy that bolder, you gain new vehicle parts to progress in the same way.

For example with higher-grip wheels you can climb steeper hills, and springs on the bottom of your makeshift car allow you to propel yourself up to higher ledges.

There are 96 'core' Jiggy Challenges in the game, plus additional Jiggies in the Showdown Town hub world and pieces awarded for special 'TT' bonuses.

The last bit is particularly interesting. For example, complete a two-minute Jiggy challenge under the mark and you'll win a Jiggy, but do it in less than one and you'll get awarded a quarter-Jiggy 'TT' bonus.

Get four quarter-Jiggy TT bonuses and you'll collect a whole Jiggy - simple. This way there's still plenty of content for skilled players, but mum and your sister don't lose out.

With a hold of Y we summon Kazooie's magic wrench, pull up an instant blueprint menu and summon one of Rare's earlier vehicle creations right to our feet. Rare doesn't want the player to feel stranded at any point in the game, it tells us, which is why vehicles are infinitely repairable and able to be summoned at a moment's notice.

The creation we've zapped into the game world is a small ATV-type vehicle with a spring strapped to the bottom. Driving around it immediately feels as though Rare's accidentally stuck a warthog in Banjo-Kazooie.

Right trigger accelerates, left trigger breaks and reverses, and at first we encounter plenty of parallel parking problems when it comes to colliding with buildings and scenery.

But once the initial system shock is out of the way, driving around a Banjo world feels natural and certainly unique of the platforming games gone past.

The first Jiggy Challenge we tried went even further in proving that the vehicle formula works. In front of us is a football pitch full of giant Subbuteo-style toy players. We've got two minutes to get as many footballs - which are scattered onto the pitch from a device in the corner - into the goal as possible.

Our initial reaction, as you'd probably expect, is to create a giant cage on wheels, lift it up on top of the balls using Kazooie's wrench, and then drop it to capture as many footballs as possible. From there we drove our mobile footy pen peacefully - but slowly - into the goal. Job done.

Here's the interesting bit (so pay attention); Rare then challenged us to try the task again with a different approach. Instead of picking a slow but big load-carrying vehicle, we loaded up a small and nippy car in the shape of a big 'Y'.

Instantly our approach to completing the challenge changed radically; instead of ferrying a load of footballs across the pitch in our wagon, we collected one at a time with our new car and fired them across the pitch at the goal.

Some went in, some got blocked by the big Subbuteo goalie. This way we finished the Jiggy Challenge with significantly more balls than before - and a big Xbox Live leaderboard made sure we noticed.

This part is, for us, by far the most exciting aspect of Nuts 'N Bolts. The community features Rare has planned for the new Banjo are extensive and potentially massive.

Every time you complete a challenge you can compare your time or score with other players, download a video of their attempt and even check out the blue prints for the vehicle they used.

So if you're tasked us with driving through a course of hoops as quickly as possible and find that another player finished over a minute before you did, you can download a video of their attempt from Xbox Live and see exactly how they did it.

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