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Banjo Kazooie/Viva Pinata by Microsoft Game Studios

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$19.99

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E10+
  • Animated Violence
  • Crude Humor
  • Platform: Xbox 360
  • Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
  • Developer: Rare
  • Download Size:
  • Players:

Xbox bundle...2 Games in 1! Banjo Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts: The heroic bear and bird return at last to defend Spiral Mountain from their nemesis Gruntilda. Groundbreaking vehicular platforming awaits in wild new worlds packed with features and faces old and new. Build awe-inspiring vehicles and tackle the Jiggy challenges in any way you see fit! Viva Piñata: Attract and tame your favourite Piñatas. There are more than 60 species that roam wild on Piñata Island. Personalise everything from the grass at your feet to the hat on your Piñata's head. Welcome to Piñata Island, enjoy your stay!

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Well this is the banjoo Kazooie and Viva Pinata BANJOO KAZOOIE: The long-awaited return of Banjo the bear and his friend Kazooie is upon us, though this time development studio Rare didn't follow its own playbook. The platforming genre has all but disappeared from the gaming world and so Banjo has changed with the times. Elements of Nuts & Bolts will be familiar to Rare fans, but don't expect a trip down memory lane. This time it's all about designing vehicles to tackle a series of challenges. It's a unique idea that isn't for everybody, but Banjo 3 is put together well enough that most anybody willing to put the time in to learn the rules will find a lot of fun. Don't immediately write this game off just because it isn't the Banjo you remember. Nuts & Bolts may look like the Banjo of old at first glance and a lot of the hallmarks of the franchise are here in force. Gruntilda is back and can't stop rhyming. Jiggies must be collected to open new doors. Musical notes litter the ground everywhere to be collected. There's a quiz at the end of the game. This go around, the reason for the clash between Banjo and Grunty is a series of challenges set up by LOG, the Lord of Games and purported creator of all videogames. He's tired of the incessant fighting and has cobbled together this one as the final contest. The story really only exists as a way to tie this Banjo title to past ones and still have Rare's universe make sense. Nuts & Bolts features a powerful vehicle creation tool that works a lot like playing with LEGOs. Start with a seat, add some wheels, an engine, fuel and a few blocks to hold it together and you've got a basic car. Add another engine, or a larger one, and the vehicle will go faster. Put a spring on the bottom and you can make it jump. Nuts & Bolts puts the power of creativity in the hands of the player that, when you consider the hundreds of pieces spread across dozens of types, allows for a near limitless set of possibilities. A race isn't just a race anymore; it's a test of both how well you can drive and how well you can design the car. Knocking over a set of dominoes is suddenly a test of critical thinking instead of just a hand-eye coordination challenge. Consider this example of how a little extra design work and thought can flip a challenge on its head. One challenge puts you in an arena with another squat and powerful vehicle for a sumo match. Whoever falls off the edge of the ring first loses. To win, I decided against making a vehicle designed for power and ramming. Instead, I made a simple little car with an ejector seat. When the foe came at me to knock me off the edge I was sitting near, I ejected and he barreled through my ride before momentum carried him right off the edge while I bounced down inside the ring for victory. Total time spent in that one round: seven seconds. That should stack up well on the leaderboards. I just wish there was more variety here instead of so many race and fetch quests. VIVA PINATA: In a world where parties don't happen without piñatas and the candy-filled creatures need to be cultivated or captured rather than constructed, skilled gardeners who have a penchant for papier-mâché wildlife are in great demand. In Rare's Viva Piñata, you have the opportunity to become such a gardener. Although the game is very open-ended and looks like something that only young players would enjoy, its colorful exterior belies a carefully structured and occasionally challenging experience that provides plenty of depth. Yes, Viva Piñata is primarily aimed at the same audience that might enjoy the animated TV show of the same name. However, like hitting things with sticks or eating candy, you're not too old for its appeal just because you can get into PG-13 movies, drive a car, or claim a pension. Your life on Piñata Island begins on a small patch of land that used to belong to a legendary gardener named Jardiniero. It's been neglected for some time, though, and looks more like the beginnings of a desert landfill than a garden that any self-respecting piñata would want to call home. When you arrive, a tearful girl named Leafos, who spends her days lamenting the state of the garden, will guide you through all of the game's basic controls and gameplay mechanics. By the time you're done talking to her, you'll be armed with a shovel, a watering can, and a packet of grass seeds with which to get started on your piñata paradise. The game doesn’t present you with many specific tasks at any point, your goal is simply to create and maintain a garden that increasingly demanding piñatas will want to make their home. This degree of open-endedness can actually feel a little daunting at first, but you’ll quickly realize that your progression through the game is more structured than it first appears. Depending on your profile settings, Viva Piñata's controls will default to either a basic or an advanced scheme. Neither setup is complicated, but the basic option should be a welcome addition for anyone who isn't entirely comfortable with the idea of using both analog sticks simultaneously or with using the triggers in addition to the face buttons. The functions performed by the four face buttons are context-sensitive and displayed in the top right corner of the screen at all times, which goes a long way toward making the game accessible for family members who perhaps aren't as familiar with the Xbox 360 controller as you. The numerous menu screens in the game are also very user-friendly, with each option appearing as a petal on a flower. Viva Piñata's learning curve is near-perfect. It does a great job of giving you new abilities over time. It also prevents you from progressing to a point that you and your garden just aren't ready for, which is based on the way that you level up in the game. You'll earn experience points (read: blue flower petals) toward your next level each time you attract or breed a new species of piñata or successfully grow a new kind of plant. There are other, less obvious ways to level up as well. For example, you may discover different color variants of piñata that you already have in your garden by instructing them to eat or otherwise interact with different things. The majority of the piñatas have three different color variants for you to discover, and some will even evolve into entirely different species after eating certain items. While you're experimenting with telling your piñatas to eat different things, you'll also want to try out different colored fertilizers on any seedlings that you plant. Early on, you won't need to concern yourself with the art of fertilizing plants. But when space is at a premium later on (there's a limit on how many items--including piñatas and helpers--you can have in your garden), the skilled horticulturalists among you will find that growing one tree capable of bearing 24 fruit is far more efficient than planting two trees capable of only bearing 12 fruit each. Even small, seemingly insignificant plants, such as daisies and buttercups, can be fertilized to produce multiple flowers. Unless you figure out how to make your own fertilizers, you can count on regular trips to the gardening store.
Date published: 2010-11-23
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