Nuts and Bolts Review

Banjo and Kazooie make their triumphant return in Nuts & Bolts, the first game from their series released on a non-Nintendo platform and Grant Kirkhope’s last work for Rare.

Contrary to its predecessors, this one features more of an emphasis on building vehicles to help complete challenges than nonlinear platforming. This innovation was an unexpected departure for the series and quickly proved controversial among fans.


Rare’s Banjo-Kazooie platform and puzzle games feature the titular bear with his bird companion Kazooie as part of an ensemble cast. The series’ signature colorful graphics, lovable characters, and catchy music makes for an engaging gameplay experience – not to mention being the first game in its franchise to introduce an anthropomorphic animal protagonist and several gameplay elements that would become hallmarks of franchise success.

Yooka-Laylee is an imaginary land where animals have been transformed into various types of vehicles, featuring both new and returning characters with notable departures from those seen in previous games. Vehicle construction becomes an integral aspect of gameplay while also boasting an updated visual style for its inhabitants and world itself.

Banjo is an endearing bear character who acts as the game’s primary protagonist. He wears yellow shorts and sports a shark tooth necklace; his namesake instrument features prominently in its opening theme. Banjo also has an older sister named Tooty as well as a pet pig named Bottles who reside nearby.

Kazooie is an elegant bird with an inquisitive mind and sharp tongue who often acts as Banjo’s partner and comic relief, sharing many similar characteristics. Though they frequently disagree with one another, both are quick to forgive each other if someone hurts either of them in return. Additionally, these characters share skills in building and repairing vehicles aided by Mumbo’s magic wrench, which fires yellow beams to lift objects off their wheels.


Banjo-Kazooie and its sequels have earned widespread critical acclaim from critics, with Metacritic rating them Universal Acclaims to indicate their widespread popularity among their respective genres. Both games emphasize creativity and player freedom that has inspired numerous modern titles; Banjo-Kazooie was among the first titles to include vehicle editors for creating vehicles along with platforming, racing and puzzle modes – qualities many modern titles fail to offer.

Kazooie is a female Red-Crested Breegull that serves as the main protagonist in this series of games, featuring long chicken-like legs, sharp beak and an upward-curling feather tuft that acts like hair. She first appeared as playable character on September 4, 2019 within Super Smash Bros Ultimate game.

Although she is Banjo’s best friend, she has quite the opposite personality from him. She can often be found obnoxious and rude towards most characters she encounters; often found hiding out inside his backpack before coming out periodically during gameplay to assist him – often leading them into trouble themselves with her disruptive nature.

Kazooie may lack some of Banjo’s abilities, but she can still transport objects and use her Magic Wrench for attacks. Additionally, she is capable of climbing, swimming and jumping – as well as using it to construct vehicles or other mechanical devices for exploring her world.

Nuts & Bolts brings back Banjo and Kazooie eight years later after the events of Banjo-Kazooie to battle Gruntilda Winkybunion and her minions once more, along with familiar friends such as Mumbo Jumbo and Bottles as well as newcomers Jamjars and Trophy Thomas. Together, Banjo and Kazooie must defeat Gruntilda Winkybunion before her plans to develop tower blocks and malls destroy their homeland forever.


Nuts & Bolts differs from its predecessors in that instead of using musical notes to unlock doors, players in Nuts & Bolts use vehicles assembled in-game workshop and then ridden. This allows players to reach areas that may otherwise be difficult or impossible to access on foot while exploring various landscapes through maps.

Although its vehicle construction system marks a departure from previous installments in the series’ platforming format, this game was still warmly received by critics and fans alike. Creators hoped that by including vehicular mechanics into this installment it would appeal to a broader audience while keeping franchise alive.

Within this game are references to past titles of the series, such as Nintendo 64 stowed away in a dumpster at the start, Ghoulhaven Hall from Grabbed by the Ghoulies’ mansion being present as Showdown Town and one of its vehicle parts being named Fulgore from Rare’s Fighting game Killer Instinct being one.

At the workshop, there are newspapers featuring Conker the Squirrel from Banjo-Kazooie and Viva Pinata as a character in both games, along with two items on trays in the workshop: Lickatoads from Viva Pinata and an arm from Grabbed by the Ghoulies video games.

Banjo-Kazooie features as its primary weapon a tool known as Mumbo’s Magic Wrench that fires yellow beams to move objects and send enemies flying. First seen in the demo of Banjo-Kazooie and Tooie, Rare employees joked it could have been inspired by Mario’s Super Power Star; additionally it can collect vehicle parts from enemies along with various objects and locations in the game world.


Nuts & Bolts sees many familiar gameplay elements from its predecessors return in this game, with music notes and honeycomb pieces unlocking note doors, Jiggies puzzles being used to advance the storyline, Mumbo’s magic wrench helping Banjo and Kazooie along their adventures, as well as offering different worlds and challenges throughout.

Set eight years after Banjo-Tooie, this sequel finds the two heroes facing off against Gruntilda Winkybunion, an evil witch attempting to replace Spiral Mountain with towers and malls. A new character known as LOG (Lord of Games) attempts to settle this conflict through a series of worlds and challenges created by him; those who succeed will gain ownership over Spiral Mountain while those who do not will experience eternal hardship within his video game factory.

Worlds such as LOGBOX 720 resemble the inside of a video game console; Jiggosseum serves as a sports arena; Terrarium of Terror is filled with overgrown plants; Jiggies can be collected as players complete challenges and collecting four will earn them a trophy that can be seen displayed prominently around Showdown Town alongside their respective names and players who earned it.

Humba Wumba, Bottles the Mole, Jolly Roger and Jamjars all made their first appearance in the original trilogy and are back. Unfortunately Viva Pinata Lickatoad and Ghoulhaven Hall from Grabbed by the Ghoulies do not. Furthermore there are references from other Rare games, including Flamingo as a fudgehog that sneaks past enemies to steal food as well as an arm from Killer Instinct that makes an appearance.


Nuts and Bolts is the fifth installment in Rare’s Banjo-Kazooie series. Released exclusively for Xbox 360 in November 2008, it received mixed reactions upon its debut; some fans found its departure from traditional platform gameplay concerning unfair advantage offensive, yet it was generally well received by critics and players. With an advanced vehicle editor and HD graphics features it was generally well received; however Rare was forced to lay off staff shortly after release and the franchise has seen no further sequels planned or announced yet.

This game contains numerous references to other Rare games from its past and present. Battletoads’ Pause Theme can be heard playing during loading screen animation, while Conker’s Bad Fur Day’s Windy Level Tune can also be heard playing throughout. Using the Magic Wrench, one can utilize Rat-a-tat Rap and Grip Grab abilities from Banjo-Kazooie; though only seen during initial two worlds. Furthermore, there’s even an in-game papery pal that resembles Lickatoad from Viva Pinata!

Developmentally, Banjo-Kazooie 2 stands out as being among the first games to feature player-created vehicles – predating popular titles like Minecraft (2011) and Fallout 4 (2015). Furthermore, when Banjo runs out of health he simply gets hit by Kazooie until his health bar fills back up again; thanks to this unique approach to gameplay and its use of user-generated content it has often been considered the most advanced installment in its franchise.