Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts

Game review by
Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media
Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts Game Poster Image
Imaginative adventure game lets players build vehicles.

Parents say

age 5+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 7+
Based on 8 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Educational Value

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.

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.


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.


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

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byJohanna1 January 8, 2019
Not like the older ones at all
Parent Written bymystic_eye_cda December 19, 2013

Great game

This is an extremely easy to play game where you build vehicles out of blocks, wheels, engines, etc. You can test and keep fixing until it works. It teaches b... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old March 18, 2013

Banjo Kazooie is the best

This is a great game that every kid should get. it is entertaining and funny. there is very little violence and it has a cartoony feel. perfect for 6+.
Teen, 13 years old Written byDethEggg September 26, 2012

Imaginative game, learning opportunity for younger children

When my friend introduced me to this game years ago, I ventured into a new realm of thought I never tthought I had before-creative problem-solving. I was so use... Continue reading

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?

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.

Talk to your kids 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
  • Subjects: Hobbies: building
    Science: engineering, electricity, physics
  • Skills: Tech Skills: digital creation
    Self-Direction: achieving goals, set objectives
    Thinking & Reasoning: applying information, hypothesis-testing, logic
    Creativity: developing novel solutions, imagination, making new creations
  • 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
  • Last updated: November 11, 2020

Our editors recommend

For kids who love tinkering around with cars

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