Banjo-Kazoomie, at its core, is a kart racing game akin to others of its genre such as the Mario Kart series and Crash Team Racing. Eight characters participate in a race, using a variety of different items that can be collected by driving through Honeycombs, in order to achieve the highest possible placement and earn Mini-Jiggies. The game includes a variety of techniques common to kart racing games, such as the ability to drift around corners, perform tricks off jumps, and draft behind opponents, earning a boost by doing any of them.
How Banjo-Kazoomie differs from other kart racing games is the ability to customize the different vehicles characters use. While all characters have their own signature kart, the player can add and remove a variety of different parts to drastically alter the stats and abilities of a character's vehicle. Depending on the parts added to a vehicle, players are able to make use of different paths through courses: by adding propellers or wings to a car players can enter flying sections reminiscent to Banjo-Pilot courses, while adding floaters allows racers to boat across water. Vehicles can have a variety of other additions as well. By adding jets players can perform a boost on-command, though the trade-off is being unable to gain a boost from normal drifts. Additionally, players can also add a small pool of weapons to their vehicle. However, players can only choose to have one of these on their kart, as both are powered by a special gauge that fills up as the player drifts around corners. The combination of parts - such as tires, engine, wings, floaters, weapons - or lack thereof, determines the vehicle's statistics. Additionally, while all characters' have a signature vehicle that, at its core, remains the same no matter the changes made to it, the player can unlock certain Blueprints through the story mode that allow any character to instead use special vehicles with unique designs; though these can not be modified, some do have some of the various gimmicks pre-installed.
Most local multiplayer modes disable the use of custom vehicles, instead only allowing players (and CPU racers) to choose from a set of pre-made modified vehicles. Online multiplayer modes however support both the player's custom vehicles and the default selection.
Currently there are twenty-eight characters known to be playable, as well as two guest characters that do not appear within the game's story. Certain characters have alternate outfits that can be purchased with Music Notes collected during races. Some characters are not available for use at the start of the game, and are unlocked by progressing through story mode.
This fine bear's the hero of this half-baked series. You should know Banjo well, what with those yellow shorts and blue backpack. Unlike his feathered friend, he's actually pretty polite, though he could take some cues from a certain plumber on how to be a proper hero.
Adventurous, but annoying - those are really the only ways to describe Kazooie. This red Breegull's got a lot to say to everyone, so needless to say she's nowhere near as popular as the bear she freeloads off of. Granted she's more a weapon than a character, with how many eggs she shoots at people.
A long time ago this skull-faced shaman had his face changed into a skull by a wicked witch, though if you ask me he looks much better now. Mumbo's been around since the first game, constantly using his magic to help Banjo fight Grunty. Honestly I think I've kept him around so long because he's so marketable... even if nobody knows what he is.
Humba Wumba first showed up in Banjo-Tooie, but we don't talk about her appearance there. She's every bit as magical as Mumbo and basically replaced him after Banjo-Kazooie, though she doesn't seem to be any more intelligent. Humba's probably the most talented when it comes to designing cars.
The Jinjos live in a quaint little village on the Isle O' Hags... well the ones still alive anyway. These guys seem to show up in the weirdest places, always getting into trouble. In Banjo-Kazooie there were five Jinjos hidden in each world, so their whistling would get quick pretty fast.
One of the first characters that appeared in Banjo-Kazooie was Bottles the mole, who went on to teach Banjo and Kazooie a variety of different moves throughout the game. Honestly I've never put much thought into Bottles, his roles or design, which is why I had him killed off at the start of Tooie. I never could have imagined his ghost would continue haunting the game even after I cut that multiplayer mode out of the game.
Tiptup never seems to be consistent, and I admit that's because I'm never quite sure what to do with him. He first showed up with Banjo in a certain racing game, and then again in Banjo-Kazooie as the conductor of an orchestra. I never put much thought into what happened to those turtles afterwards, or even where Tiptup and his son went off to in Banjo-Tooie. Hopefully his family's doing alright.
The standard video game tells the story of a hero travelling the world in order to rescue a princess. In Banjo-Kazooie, Tooty was that princess, even though she was just Banjo's little sister and not actual royalty. After that, Tooty just disappeared, her face plastered all over the worlds' milk cartons. In actuality she had just been taken into custody by the rubbish video game character police after she had no place in Banjo-Tooie.
There's something I've never been able to stand, and it's the "pirate" speak. As the captain of The Salty Hippo, it makes sense that Blubber would have a habit of saying "yarr" and such, and he's certainly got a kind heart. I'm not entirely sure why I've put him in all of the Banjo-Kazooie games.
The cast of these games are rather... loose, most of the time, so it was certainly refreshing to see Jamjars try and whip the cast of Banjo-Tooie into shape. Even if he just stole the whole rhyming shtick from Grunty, I do think he pulls it off much better.
The has-beens of the Banjo-Kazooie franchise have nothing on Boggy. If you remember how Banjo and Kazooie let themselves go after Tooie, that wasn't even half as bad as Boggy got before I convinced him to start getting into shape and gave him the task of running Mr. Fit's old gym back in Showdown Town.
Every villain needs a brawny lackey at their side, and for the first two games Klungo fulfilled that role. I thought I'd throw a wrench into the stereotype by powering Klungo up with potions, but in the end it just made him a pretty boring boss. Now he's decided to try and compete against me and make his own games, even though "Hero Klungo Sssavesss Teh World" and "Hero Klungo Sssavesss Teh Universsse" don't even rival the quality of Ghoulies.
Back in Cloud Cuckooland, Mr. Fit tried to whip Banjo and Kazooie into shape by getting them to beat him in sporting events. Even if he doesn't look it, Mr. Fit is probably more athletic than anyone else in this series (and definitely all of its fans). After he gave up the gym I so graciously built for him, Mr. Fit decided to spend his time running all over Showdown Town - perhaps not my preferable pastime, but still very commendable.
Honey B. is a character I gave the title of "Apprentice of the Honey," though she insists to be called the "Mistress of the Honey" instead. I needed a way to make levelling up Banjo interesting in Banjo-Tooie, and having a character fill in empty health honeycombs seemed like the easiest way to do so. I admit that I may have mistakenly based her design on a wasp's instead of a bee's, but most players probably can't tell the difference anyway.
Trophy Thomas is the biggest braggart in Showdown Town, but where he came from is something even I'm unsure of. Perhaps he's a sly reference to an old racing game? He does somewhat bare resemblance to a certain tiger, and his initials remind me of a clock's.
Quite a while ago, Banjo and Sonic could have been classified as mortal enemies, though that was with another company. He's said to be the fastest thing alive, though I'm pretty sure that's just a bluff. Sonic's probably the biggest star in this game, even if his games are messier than Grunty Industries.
Now this is one popular little chimp, even if he's overshadowed by his bigger buddy. Diddy and Banjo go way back, so I felt obliged to invite him here too... even if he's only in the Nintendo Switch version of this game. It's not exactly a secret, but he's basically just little Chimpy from the first Banjo-Kazooie game.
Characters can be unlocked by purchasing them from the in-game store using Music Notes collected during races. Most characters will only appear in the shop after the player completes certain missions in the game's story mode.
In order for a hero to be a hero, they need a villain to fight. When Banjo-Kazooie was being developed, a lot of ideas were thrown around: pirates, dinosaurs, good game design. In the end, Gruntilda fit into the role. Every time she gets defeated, she somehow manages to come back to cause chaos. That comes with the territory of being the series' antagonist, I suppose.
The Jolly Dodger was once the mayor of a popular tourist attraction back in the year 2000, but now he's just running around Showdown Town selling illegal items. He's flamboyant and campy, but kind-hearted all the same. He's always been an odd character that just kind of shows up wherever he pleases - Jolly Roger was even thrown in to Banjo-Pilot to fill out the roster.
Bosses are the backbone of video games, and never get the love they deserve; though perhaps in Conga's place that's because he's just a copy of a more-popular ape. Game developers love using bosses to explain away game mechanics, so placing him in Mumbo's Mountain as a way to teach the player that they have to use their brain sometimes was an obvious idea.
Mr. Patch was a giant inflatable dinosaur... thing that was the most popular tourist attraction in Witchyworld. Unfortunately, Banjo and Kazooie just had to go and pop him - made it real difficult to bring him back for Nuts & Bolts. I think Mr. Patch is a popular character so I brought him back for this game, but I was too lazy to blow him back up to his original size. Now he's Mini Mr. Patch, and you just have to deal with it.
When I was making Banjo-Tooie, I had a lot of leftover materials from the first game that I needed to shove somewhere. Most of it ended up in a little pawn shop run by a rat named Pawno. He doesn't care for the customers of his shop, and outright insults them at times too. The only reason Banjo and Kazooie had to deal with him was because he had a Jiggy and one of Cheato's pages up for sale. Anyone not trying to 100% Banjo-Tooie probably went out of their way to avoid him - I know I would. Unfortunately for them... I don't care what they want.
Mingy Jongo, a very clear rip-off of that one sci-fi film series. This guy is a bounty hunter who just happens to conveniently look just like Mumbo Jumbo, though he's really just a lazy excuse to reuse the shaman's model. You'd think those has-been heroes would have noticed something wrong when this robot welcomes Banjo into his skull by name, something which the real Mumbo would never do, but clearly brains aren't needed to be a hero.
In 2003 there was a weird little game called Banjo-Kazooie: Grunty's Revenge. Ripovski was one of the characters I threw together for that mess, and he was added just to host minigames. Banjo would have to pay in order to play his shoddy games again and extend the amount of time someone would need to play that messy handheld adventure - hence his name.
Alfred P. Cock is not the most memorable of characters, but I was hoping he'd be the break-out star of Grunty's Revenge - I even gave him the job of selling ice cream out of the Mr. Drippy Van. Maybe the limitations of the system he was created for hindered his potential a bit, though.
Ah, Piddles. With Klungo gone Gruntilda needed a new sidekick to boss around and beat up, so I whipped up Piddles in a matter of days. She's not anything special, heck she doesn't even really do anything besides race our heroes in shoddily-made cars concocted by Winkybunion. I'm sure a number of players were curious as to how Piddles, being a cat so small, managed to drive a car, and the answer is simple - it's a video game.
I'm not going to make excuses - I regret ever coming up with Pikelet. I needed someone to keep the peace in Showdown Town, and Pikelet was the first thing that came to mind. He's corrupt, lazy, greedy, and overall just a slob. I probably should have just handed him over to the rubbish video game character police instead of putting him in a game.
Stop 'n' Swop
The mysterious Stop 'n' Swop mechanic originally planned to appear in Banjo-Kazooie is referenced once more in Banjo-Kazoomie. There are six Mystery Eggs and an Ice Key hidden off the road in levels played during the game's story mode. Collecting them all will add these characters to the game's shop, where they can be purchased for seven Music Notes each.
A long time ago, Banjo was supposed to show up in a Dream. Back then he wasn't the protagonist - he was barely even a side character. Captain Blackeye was also in that game as a greedy pirate that wanted to conquer the world, or something. He just kind of showed up in Banjo-Tooie too, but I can't remember why. Probably something to do with that Stop 'n' Swop rubbish.
Though I refer to most of the lackluster characters in this series as has-beens, none are more irrelevant than Sabreman. Well before Banjo-Kazooie, there were a series of games called Sabreman - a title even less creative than Banjo-Kazooie. Our titular hero needed to travel the world in search of the four Wulf Amulet shards. Somehow he managed to wind up dead in Hailfire Peaks, and our dimwitted bear, bird, and shaman trio just HAD to bring him back to life.
A long time ago a small company named Rareware used to have Mr. Pants plastered all over their website. He may not be the most original character in the world, but he somehow manages to pop up in a bunch of different games. How he ended up here is anyone's guess - I certainly would never have bothered to bring Mr. Pants back.
There are thirty-two racecourses present in Banjo-Kazoomie, with one being exclusive to the Nintendo Switch version. Each of the worlds from Banjo-Kazooie, Banjo-Tooie, and Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts has a track based upon them in addition to a world that was cut from Nuts & Bolts and two worlds from Banjo-Kazooie: Grunty's Revenge. Both Sonic the Hedgehog and Diddy Kong bring with them a race course from their own racing games, albeit altered to match the style and gameplay mechanics of Banjo-Kazoomie, as well.
Spiral Mountain (Banjo-Kazooie)
Gruntilda's Lair (Banjo-Kazooie)
Mumbo's Mountain (Banjo-Kazooie)
Treasure Trove Cove (Banjo-Kazooie)
Clanker's Cavern (Banjo-Kazooie)
Bubblegloop Swamp (Banjo-Kazooie)
Freezeezy Peak (Banjo-Kazooie)
Gobi's Valley (Banjo-Kazooie)
Mad Monster Mansion (Banjo-Kazooie)
Rusty Bucket Bay (Banjo-Kazooie)
Click Clock Wood (Banjo-Kazooie)
Isle o' Hags (Banjo-Tooie)
Mayahem Temple (Banjo-Tooie)
Glitter Gulch Mine (Banjo-Tooie)
Jolly Roger's Lagoon (Banjo-Tooie)
Grunty Industries (Banjo-Tooie)
Hailfire Peaks (Banjo-Tooie)
Cloud Cuckooland (Banjo-Tooie)
Cauldron Keep (Banjo-Tooie)
Showdown Town (Nuts & Bolts)
Nutty Acres (Nuts & Bolts)
LOGBOX 720 (Nuts & Bolts)
Banjoland (Nuts & Bolts)
Jiggosseum (Nuts & Bolts)
Terrarium of Terror (Nuts & Bolts)
Weird West (cut from Nuts & Bolts)
Breegull Beach (Grunty's Revenge)
Spiller's Harbor (Grunty's Revenge)
Wisp Circuit (Team Sonic Racing)
Greenwood Village (Diddy Kong Racing)
When a racer drives through a Honeycomb, they are granted a random item.
Throughout all of the Banjo-Kazooie games, I've placed these silly little eggs around the many worlds. They're very useful to ol' Blabber Beak, though how she can pop them out of any hole on her body is, in retrospect, probably not the best idea. If you get one from a Honeycomb they'll shatter on impact with another racer to spin them out. Perhaps not the most interesting of weapons but they've proven useful throughout all these games. You can also get three at once, but that only means you're carrying around more of these weak things.
Back in Glitter Gulch Mine, Jamjars taught Kazooie all about the powers of Fire Eggs. I guess a birdbrain like her needed that lesson; I thought the name was enough of a description. The best players of Banjo-Tooie could figure out how to transform Kazooie into a dragon, granting them an infinite amount of these eggs. In this game they're basically just a stronger version of the Blue Egg, though they'll follow the racer ahead of them instead of just travelling in a straight line. If you're doing poorly, there's a chance you may get three Fire Eggs from one Honeycomb.
I'm not sure how Banjo-Tooie managed to keep its PEGI 3 rating (or ESRB E, for all you yanks) with blatant grenades being one of the items you could collect, but it definitely helped the game reach a greater audience. This may be obvious, but the Grenade Eggs were the brainchild of the serious drill sergeant Jamjars, but I don't know why I indulged him. I even brought them back here too, and they explode a little while after being thrown. Every kart racer needs a type of bomb that can hurt several racers, after all.
The little Squits were found all over Spiller's Harbor in Banjo-Kazooie: Grunty's Revenge. Clearly no effort went into their gross designs, but a major part of the game had Banjo needing to track down Mrs. Squitter's two children. I don't know why I decided to bring them back for this racing game, but here they are. You can throw them forwards or backwards, and they'll stick to the stage. Think of them like the banana peels from that one popular racing game, yes? One would do best to avoid the Squits, and not only because they'll slow you down.
Remember the Saucer of Peril, the strangely-sentient amusement ride from Banjo-Tooie? It was a bit of work getting it back up and running after Blubber crashed it in Showdown Town, and I had to shrink it a bit to make it work as an item here. If you remember Banjo-Pilot, the saucer works the same way here: it'll target first place and crash into them. No, it's not supposed to be fair.
I need to wonder if Banjo-Tooie made a generation of children believe that all factories were powered by only four small batteries. Surely even children are smarter than that, yes? Lucky for all you players, you do not need to use the Taxi Pack to carry around the batteries here. Instead, you can put them in your vehicle to gain a short speed boost.
The Talon Trot was easily the favourite move that came out of the Banjo-Kazooie series, and the Turbo Trainers only made that move better. I plucked these shoes straight out of Banjo-Tooie, and they're just as stinky as they were before. Though I'm not entirely sure how a vehicle can wear the Turbo Trainers, but it grants the user a very great speed boost. They're far less common than the Bazza! batteries, but they're far better. Think of them like those fungi favoured by that Italian gentleman.
Most of the good platforming games have items that grant temporarily invincibility, and, as unoriginal as Banjo-Kazooie is, obviously it had to follow suit. Kazooie could collect golden feathers to protect her from harm, but obviously there is a limited amount of them. This game too needed something to make you invincible, so this choice was a no-brainer. It's only active for a short time, though you'll also get a bit of a minor speed boost while it's active. It won't magically make you good at driving though.
Glowbo - Temporarily transforms the user into a money van, which moves along the track at a slightly-higher speed automatically for a short time. The user is invincible during this time.
Mumbo Token - Transforms the user into a bee, which buzzes along the track automatically at a much higher speed for a short time. The user is not invincible during this time.
Music Notes - Gives racers a very small increase in speed for every 10 they collect. They respawn at the beginning of every lap and can not be lost.
Extra Life - Only appears in story mode. The player can trade these in to earn new parts.
The inclusion of Greenwood Village from Diddy Kong Racing as a race course in the Nintendo Switch version over other courses from the game is a reference to how that track reappeared as a multiplayer map in Jet Force Gemini and can be found in the code for Mickey's Speedway USA. All three of these games were developed by Rare and released for the Nintendo 64 within a short timeframe (1997, 1999, and 2000 respectively).