Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts

Common Sense Media says

Imaginative adventure game lets players build vehicles.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Players can drive their vehicles into non-player characters. No one ever gets hurt, but it does result in the occasional testy situation, as when a rhino says, "You're going to physically assault a rhinoceros. Really? That's your plan?" Also expect some mild potty humor -- literally, as characters make jokes about toilet smells and contents.

Ease of play

Running and jumping is simple enough. The process of building vehicles is surprisingly straightforward too, though kids will need to learn how certain parts fit together and think hard about which sorts of vehicles are required for specific situations. Tutorals explain everything, but they're long and can be a bit dull to watch over again.

Violence

Some mild vehicular combat involving cars with spikes, pellet guns, lasers, and goofy slapping hands. The titular characters can perform a basic spinning attack. No blood or death. You can bop enemies on the head with a wrench or shoot lasers.

Sex
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

This game is the latest entry in the ten-year-old Banjo-Kazooie franchise. References to various video games are scattered throughout the story. In one level that takes place inside a game console called the LOGBox 720, players actually run over giant game discs of earlier Rare Ltd. titles, such as Grabbed by the Ghoulies.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that while this game's design and visual aesthetic makes it suitable for children, its sense of humor will be better appreciated by adults, who will likely have the experience necessary to understand the many references made to old television shows and games. Also note that developer Rare Ltd. calls out several of its past games in the story. One level even takes place inside a game console, with players running overtop spinning Banjo-Kazooie and Grabbed By the Ghoulies game discs. This game supports online competitive play. Common Sense Media does not recommend online play to children under 12 years of age.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Science

  • electricity
  • physics
  • engineering

Hobbies

  • building

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • applying information
  • hypothesis-testing
  • logic

Creativity

  • developing novel solutions
  • imagination
  • making new creations

Self-Direction

  • set objectives
  • achieving goals

Tech Skills

  • digital creation

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

An exercise in daring design, with several truly inventive environments to explore. Kids will find building custom rides as compelling as playing with Lego building blocks. 

Learning Approach

This game will introduce kids to basic concepts to do with engineering and design. The powerful editor allows players to build a wide variety of vehicles from the ground up. A great way for kids to tinker and get creative.

Support

The game provides guidance, but mostly lets kids experiment and figure things out on their own. Kids who want help will find plenty of user-made videos online.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Science

  • electricity
  • physics
  • engineering

Hobbies

  • building

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • applying information
  • hypothesis-testing
  • logic

Creativity

  • developing novel solutions
  • imagination
  • making new creations

Self-Direction

  • set objectives
  • achieving goals

Tech Skills

  • digital creation

Kids can learn basic concepts behind engineering and design in this creative adventure game. Its powerful design system allows players to build a wide variety of vehicles -- land, air, water, amphibian -- from the ground up. A wide range of obstacles and objectives force kids to tinker with various wheels, wings, engines, chasses, and body pieces to determine the best way to create the right craft for given scenarios. Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts offers a great place for kids to tinker and get creative, and it may kindle kids' interest in engineering and construction.

This Learning Rating review was written by Chad Sapieha

Parents say

Kids say

What's it about?

It's been eight years since players last took control of Banjo the bear and Kazooie the bird, and they've become fat and lazy in the interim. However, the evil witch Gruntilda has returned, and she's promised to turn the duo's peaceful little patch of countryside into an urban development zone. What's more, an even more powerful nemesis -- the Pong-faced Lord of Games (a.k.a. LOG) -- has whisked both the witch and our heroes off to Showdown Town, a world in which Banjo and Kazooie will have to take part in a variety of games in order to bring down their foes. The twist is that most of the games in which our unlikely pair participates depend not on their dexterity or physical prowess, but rather the player's skill in designing and building his or her own vehicles. Players sort through the bits and pieces of machinery found during their travels to create cars, planes, boats, hovercraft, helicopters, motorbikes, and more, all with an aim to make the ideal vehicle for each of the game's challenges, which include checkpoint races, item collection events, and vehicle battles.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Nuts & Bolts is an exercise in daring design. The game's makers have come up with half a dozen truly inventive environments to explore that must have seemed crazy on paper, including the inside of a game console and a giant plant enclosure filled with twisting vines called the Terrarium of Terror. What's more, they've taken the bold step of tearing down the so-called "fourth wall" -- the imaginary barrier separating the game world and the player. The story is written from the standpoint that all of the characters know that they are in a video game. A bold and strange move, but it works.

Meanwhile, players have been provided the means and opportunity to design their own vehicles from the ground up. Building a custom ride is a lot like playing with Lego building blocks: just snap together engines, seats, bits of chassis, and accessories until you're happy with the result. Creating the perfect vehicle takes time and might end up being a little frustrating for younger players (make sure to connect a fuel tank to your engine, or you won't be going anywhere), but it can prove enormously satisfying for those who put in enough time and effort. If you're looking for that rare game that lets you build rather than destroy (at least most of the time), Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts is a good choice.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about their experience using the game's vehicle builder. Is it easy to use? What are some of the more imaginative vehicles you've built?

  • Have you tried experimenting by making the tallest, widest, smallest, or fastest vehicle you can? Are there any part types not included in the game that you think would make the vehicle builder even better?

Game details

Platforms:Xbox 360
Price:$39.99
Available online?Not available online
Developer:Microsoft
Release date:November 11, 2008
Genre:Action/Adventure
ESRB rating:E10+ for Comic Mischief, Cartoon Violence (Xbox 360)

This review of Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 10 years old June 22, 2011
AGE
10
QUALITY
 

Banjo Kazooie Series ROCKS!

The 3rd game of the BVGSE! That means Best Video Game Series Ever! I don't know exactly how mush it costs, as I got it as a Spring Pack with a Xbox 360 Arcade and Viva Pinata. It's really fun, but it's better if you play the other games first so you get the story (Banjo Kazooie and Banjo Tooie are avalible for down load on the Xbox 360 or get them for Nintendo 64, the original game system for them.) It ranks as a close 2nd after Banjo-Tooie and before the Banjo Kazooie, but I like them all. Low violence, and nothing bad for kids above 10.
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much consumerism
Kid, 11 years old July 3, 2009
AGE
6
QUALITY
 

Great for the whole family.

I love this game and it's very age appropriate. Yes there is a lot of consumerism, but is it reall a big deal?
Kid, 12 years old August 7, 2011
AGE
8
QUALITY
 

Don't Judge a Game by it's Cover

I got this game for Christmas last year. When I got it, I thought it was going to be one of those stupid kiddy games. I was wrong. The game was actually giving me a challenge, and I still haven't beat it. I recomend this game to anyone who wants a long lasting game, or just a game where you can run around and explore.

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