Under the weight of too many new ideas and directions, Nuts & Bolts ultimately falters. Sometimes a genre is built on certain gameplay elements – but, more importantly, fans are gathered and kept through a developer knowing when these requisite gameplay ideas are cherished and essential, and when they are not. By removing Kazooie's trademark moves and shoehorning in her wrench-operation, for instance, she loses all value as a character. She's just Banjo's third (albeit talkative) prehensile arm.
There is a massive counter-argument to all of this, and that is, the future of gaming is what Rare (and other equally talented developers) choose to make it. By pushing no boundaries, nothing changes, nothing is gained and nobody ultimately benefits when people get bored and switch off. But the reverse is also true – if you push the envelope too far or in the wrong direction, people are just as likely to feel alienated and reject a game. It's a tricky balancing act – and we still completely applaud Rare. Everything works, as mentioned, and that really counts. The game is thoughtful in design, mostly clever in its handling of pacing, upgrading parts and keeping you on track as you work your way towards the final encounter. But it's just not as fun or interesting as it should be. Rare carefully assembled a whole lot of disparate parts and pulled it together under an immaculate bonnet and a glossy paintjob, but a few loose screws just keep on rattling away, always threatening to shake it to pieces.