In this weekly column, we’ll be selecting inexpensive, discarded titles from still playable consoles for your perusal. They may be games you’ve heard of and remember playing, or they may be games that have flown completely off of your radar. Just know that we love them and they’re available on the cheap. That’s a bonafide win/win situation.
If you have any favorite titles that you consider hidden gems, let us know in the comments below and we might feature your pick in the weekly column.
Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts
Original Release: November 11th, 2008
The argument could be made that Nuts & Bolts wasn’t so much “hidden” as it was completely disregarded. The Banjo-Kazooie franchise is one that Rare launched on the Nintendo 64. At that time, the first game and its sequels won an incredible fan base and a ton of support. Rare went on to ignore the Banjo classics and work on other projects. Nuts & Bolts was supposed to be a return to greatness for the company; however, Rare ditched the platforming adventure mechanics for a vehicle construction and racing style game.
The resulting fan base schism forced Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts into relative obscurity. The title didn’t sell like AAA offerings should, message boards bashed it and critical praise fell on def ears. This wasn’t the Banjo game fans wanted, and that showed.
However, Nuts & Bolts was still a great game. I’ll even quickly herald it as one of my favorites for the Xbox 360. Fortunately for you, given its poor reception, it’s now available for dirt cheap. You’ll find it online and in stores from $10-20, easily.
What you’ll be getting is a well built vehicle-based objective game. Banjo and Kazooie buy parts, freely build vehicles and enter specially themed worlds to complete objectives, explore and earn Jiggies. All of that translates into the further unlocking of more incredible parts and features to build new vehicles with.
Odds are you skipped Nuts & Bolts. Go back and pick it up. For the money, it’s an instant classic.
Be sure to check out our ever-growing list of Hidden Gems.