The activities I engaged in were split into three different types ? racing, sports and combat.
My favourite was Follow the Crown. We were collectively dumped into a level in which there was a crown shape moving about. The idea was to spend as much time in that moving crown as possible, preferably on your own, to gain as many points as possible. We were dropped off in ground vehicles armed with spring-based punchy jobbies, rockets and bombs that dropped out of the arse. Loads of fun!
Another game that would have been great if a single one of us had worked out how to use the control scheme properly was airborne footy. We tootled about in old-school bi-planes in teams, trying to nudge a floating ball into the appropriate goal area. Unfortunately, none of us had the good sense to pay much attention to the control maps, so it wasn't until a minute before the end of the match that I realised you can suck the ball towards you or blow it away. As such, everyone involved spent most of the match shaking our controllers at our screens in disbelief as we swung wide of the ball at the slowest possible speeds.
Clearly, our own stupidity played a part there. But, if a bunch of seasoned games hacks manages to miss the instructions on how to actually play the game, maybe it could be better laid out.
I won't go into the details of each and every game type, suffice to say there were more than I could get through in the time I had. The multi-player is no tacked-on feature. It's big and it has depth. I can see many, many hours disappearing when the finished code sinks down to the SPOnG Underwater Castle.
Bear (sic) in mind, too, the fact that it's that
enjoyable just playing with identical pre-built vehicles. Imagine rolling out a killer vehicle you've spent hours building into an evil machine of death! I look forward to being able to build more than the Banjo
equivalent of clapped out Ladas with the wheels nicked.
Looks-wise, Banjo's real pretty. It's crisp, clean and the design gave me warm shudders of childish glee. Frankly, the feeling made me uncomfortable.
There was one thing that did concern me from my solo play. At times, the game was less than smooth. This prompted me to check the top corner of the screen where, because I was playing debug code, the framerate was displayed. It oscillated from 30fps to 20fps, sinking as low as 15.27fps at one point. Not good. However, this was unfinished code, so hopefully by the time the game makes it to retail the framerate issues will have been hammered out.
Overall, I'm really looking forward to getting my hands on a finished version of Nuts & Bolts
for many hours of unbridled play-time. It's a great big pretty heap of fun that shouldn't get tiresome any time soon and I look forward to sticking my arm up its arse to plumb its depths and mix my metaphors.
For more on Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts
be sure to check out SPOnG's interview right here