Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts • Page 2

We visit Rare and play single-player and multiplayer.

Crucially, there is a fair amount of straight platforming along the way - peaks to scale and obstacles courses to traverse - but even when there's not, there's a Metroid- or Zelda-inspired cross-stitching of item locations and locational unlocks. This time many of the backwater peaks you scale and obstacle courses you traverse to find all the game's secrets will be down to obtaining a specific part, or making a leap of logic in the vehicle editor, rather than simply accumulating the right number of jiggies, but the feeling of exploration and the sense of revelation will be familiar and hopefully compelling.

As well as being allowed to toy with the game and explore some of the sections we covered in last month's hands-on, Rare also lets us play from the start of the game proper, where a montage of black-and-white scenes from N64 Banjos Kazooie and Tooie bring us to an out-of-shape duo scoffing snacks in the sun, suddenly faced by a disembodied Gruntilda - bobbling along on pure acrimony in the absence of anything to support her from the neck down. At this point the Lord of Games - a Pong-faced TV screen head on top of a floating caped body - appears and challenges them to find out who's still got it.

We won't spoil the rest of the intro, but suffice to say it's infused with Rare's trademark humour and self-deprecation (at one point the Lord of Games explains that he is the creator of all videogames and Kazooie questions, "Even ones that didn't sell very well, like Grabbed by the Ghoulies?" - and that's the thin end), and eventually deposits you in the Showdown Town hub-world, armed with a rather feeble engine-powered wagon and tasked with going off into adjoining realms to take part in games and accumulate jiggies. Musical notes are also dotted around, as are crates, and - though we're hamstrung by placeholder instructions - it becomes obvious what to do: earn jiggies, build vehicles in the garage, and span out into the world as your building and platforming options assemble.

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The Jiggoseum's immense, and beautifully detailed. The game we play is running at less than 30fps some of the time, but we're assured it's an ageing build.

The main new area we're shown is the Jiggoseum - formerly known as World of Sports, it's a massive, tiered coliseum characterised by statues and other Rare-related details, another testament to the engine's superb scope, and just in time for the Olympics (upon which note, how interesting that nowadays game worlds can display an entire vast sporting scene without restriction, and it's the real-world venues shrouded in a concealing blanket of middle-distance fog). The Jiggoseum is host to 17 challenges including various of Banjo's sporting events, and this brings us to the real reason we've been invited to Rare: to play Nuts & Bolts with other people.

Like vehicle editors, online multiplayer is a generational advance for consoles that's infusing more and more genres, and like Banjo's vehicle editor, Rare has apparently observed where it should and shouldn't delve, and to what degree. The lobby system, for instance, allows the host to set up individual games or fashion leagues out of multiple successive tasks, but while all this is being set up the other players can close the menu and enter a test track - a circuit around a mass of ramps and platforms with a lake off to one side, and dig into their garage for vehicle designs to show off, or just play around. An in-game camera allows you to snap shots and upload them (and these will be visible on the internet, too), with the dual purpose of absorbing blueprints for any particularly special vehicles.

We've no need to do this, because all the blueprints are already shared across the various test machines we're playing on, but we still almost stall the main multiplayer endeavour by losing ourselves to play. Eurogamer collaborator Kieron Gillen is in the room on a magazine assignment (traitor), trying to manoeuvre a man-on-skis vehicle design around half-pipes, so we grab a plane (you can withdraw things from the garage or jump in and out of vehicles by hitting the Y button) and start pelting him with an egg-gun to knock him over.

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Tom Bramwell

Tom Bramwell

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Tom worked at Eurogamer from early 2000 to late 2014, including seven years as Editor-in-Chief.

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