In the year 1998, “Banjo-Kazooie” saw its initial release on the Nintendo 64. Building on what was done with “Super Mario 64” in 1996, the title was hailed as one of the console’s best 3D plaforming games. Now, the game has finally seen a rerelease on a Nintendo platform via the Switch Online Expansion Pack, marking the first time the game has appeared outside the Xbox line since Microsoft purchased Rare in the year 2002.
Starring a chuckling bear named Banjo and his best friend, a “breegull” named Kazooie, the game tasks you with gathering puzzle pieces and a wide range of other items to prevent a rhyming witch named Grunty from using Banjo’s little sister Tooty to beautify herself.
The game was successful enough to inspire a sequel in the year 2000 known as “Banjo-Tooie,” and while 2008’s “Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts” garnered a divisive response for diverting from the established gameplay in favor of trying to ride the coattails of Sony’s “Little Big Planet” games, the characters have remained fan favorites among those who enjoyed the games made by Rareware. The two were even brought into “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate” as DLC fighters in the year 2019.
Now, the original game has returned to a Nintendo console after previously being rereleased as part of the “Rare Replay” compilation for Xbox One and PC. However, the game remains one of the best examples of a 3D platformer on any console. The graphics, gameplay, level design and sound easily place the game among the best titles in Rare’s catalog and one the most fun platformers on the N64.
Overall, “Banjo-Kazooie” remains one of the best 3D platformers on the Nintendo 64, and one of the best reasons to opt into the Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack.
Developer: Rare Co.,Ltd/Rareware
Platform: Nintendo 64 Online for Nintendo Switch (Originally released on Nintendo 64, Also Available on Rare Replay for Xbox One/PC)
ESRB Rating: E