Ultimately, the limit to the size of your vehicle is 19x19x19 parts. Put like that, it sounds mildly restrictive. Add it up and you can get 6,859 parts into your giant space hedgehog vacuum rocket vehicle. That's quite a lot. Neill Harrison, chief technical artist on the game, said that over at Rare they've seen everything from TIE Fighters to Galleons.
Here's a couple of examples...
In one challenge you the player have the relatively simple task of making a vehicle jump off a ramp as far as possible. I was shown the straightforward approach, which was a giant, rocket-powered downhill skier with Banjo sat in the head (Crash and burn).
Then came the better solution ? a vehicle that saw Banjo sitting in a detachable barrel placed on the front. Not so comfy for Banjo, but when the vehicle left the ramp the barrel came away, leaving the dead weight behind and sending Banjo careening off, rolling multiple times as he hit the ground. Genius!
Another example was a set-up in which the player had to knock down as many dominoes as possible, with a maximum score of 240. Up until about a week prior to my Nuts & Bolts
experience, no-one at Rare actually knew how to hit this, but after a seven hour session in which Neill had raced one of Rare's testers to a solution, the ideal vehicle presented itself.
It took the form of an ungainly rocket-powered rig with wheels. This contraption was then flown to a gap in the middle of the dominoes (looking like it was going to drop out of the sky at any moment). Once there, the in-game editor was cracked out to flip the rockets and make them point sideways in different directions. Once they were set going again, the vehicle started spinning rapidly and a blower was turned on to send the dominoes flying. More genius!
I took a little time with the vehicle editor myself. I would love to tell you that I built a rabbit-shaped submarine with detachable dildo-arms, but I would be lying. I actually built something that looked a bit like a lopsided trolley with bits in all the wrong places. I don't blame the game for this, however. I blame the fact that I skulked off to a machine on my own and started up a saved game that was already progressed by at least a few hours and tried to wing it with little to no idea of what I was doing. That and the fact that when I was presented with a box of miscellaneous LEGO parts as a child I could seldom think of anything better to make than a box.
My own shortcomings aside, I look forward to seeing what craziness appears in the top 20 results on the leaderboards for different challenges, where the most successful attempts will be displayed.
My concern is that the editor may, for those that don't have a brain hard-wired for engineering, become tiresome over the course of the full game. Only a proper play-through will tell.
I can unreservedly report that the multi-player is loads of fun. An online multi-player aspect is something unusual for a game with a heavy platforming element and I was intrigued to see what Rare tossed my way. Basically, whatever platforming is in Nuts & Bolts
, forget about it for the multi-player. It's all about the vehicles.