x360a Review: Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts' Lost Challenges DLC
Written Wednesday, April 22, 2009 By Alan PettitView author's profile
After a grueling eight year wait, Rare and Microsoft dropped a Banjo-Kazooie game for next-gen consoles (are they current-gen yet?) to a somewhat tepid reception. I personally enjoyed the game, despite its departure from the old-school platformer I was hoping for. The vehicle building was something I'd really not seen before and the classic Banjo-Kazooie humor was still prevalent throughout. However, it wasn't really something I felt would receive more content, as many games these days have been doing. I was so sure, I went ahead and sold it on the interwebs. Four months, one used copy and 400 Microsoft Points later, here we are.
L.O.G.'s Lost Challenges are easily accessed through your normal story mode save file. Simply head around back of Mumba's Motors and you'll find a shiny new portal that will transport you a new version of the Test-O-Track (where you normally test your custom-made vehicles). Inside are all the usual players (Klungo, Humba, Trophy Thomas, etc.) who have a total of six new challenges for you. Some are uniquely fun when using the L.O.G.'s Choice vehicles (special vehicles created by the game for that specific challenge) such as the horse racing-themed Ben Hurdle, though most are fairly similar to challenges from the main story mode. After mastering all six challenges L.O.G.'s way, you can switch to Player's Choice and attempt to beat a harder version of the same challenge in your own creations. However, these often become too easy. Using Ben Hurdle as an example again, the original version had you in a horse-shaped car with a spring on the bottom to race around and jump hurdles. However, the Player's Choice is easily tackled by using a flying vehicle with super-fast jets attached.
Luckily, the six challenges are not all this content offers. While fairly challenging, they can be mastered after a handful of tries and strategy alterations. Once you do that and successfully get a Jiggy on each challenge, you will have access to all eight levels of the ssssssuper awesssssome new Klungo video game. Unlike the story mode arcade game where you could only jump and levels were extremely linear, the Lost Challenges version ramps up the difficulty and strategy. Klungo now carries a gun to blast away the harmful green prickly enemies, while the red ones are impervious and still require perfectly timed jumps to avoid. In addition, there are gravity switches, sending the action from floor to ceiling, as well as Super Klungo powerups for high-speed flying sections. Overall a much more fun version of the excellent mini-game, though be warned, the difficulty sure does increase as well.
Finally there are a few new multiplayer games thrown in for good measure. Two are similar to one of the new challenges; a king-of-the-crown game which tasks players with staying inside a giant translucent crown for points. Another is similar to the sumo challenge and the last is a rehash of the themed "grab this and carry it here a bunch of times" gametypes that riddled the story mode. There are also three new races if you're into that sort of thing and all of these are available both on and offline, though good luck finding a match online.
Of the new achievements, one is given automatically by accessing the content (and called "Pointless Achievement" - another testament to Rare's humor), and two are given for random tasks such as using lasers to destroy an enemy vehicle (in one of the racing gametypes) and knocking over cardboard cutouts lining the track during the Ben Hurdle game. Only one will have you suffer through the online matchmaking and thankfully only for as long as it takes you to win one game from the seven new offerings. You will naturally be required to get TT ratings from all the challenges to satisfy another three achievements and beat all of Klungo's new levels for another. Not a bad use of their extra add-on with some challenges and variety.
Overall, for a mere five bucks, it's not a bad way to spend an evening or two as you attempt to master all that Lost Challenges has to offer. The new challenges aren't the most original, especially with a few being rehashes of ones from the main story mode, but they aren't the worst available in the game either. The new Klungo levels are really the selling point in my opinion. If you enjoyed what the original game had to offer and were clamoring for more, this content has just what you need. If you were disappointed that this wasn't an old-school platformer, you're better off using your five bucks elsewhere... unless you need some achievements, of course.