Banjo & Kazooie (SSBU)
Banjo & Kazooie (バンジョー&カズーイ, Banjo & Kazooie), formatted in their reveal trailer as Banjo-Kazooie, are a playable fighter in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and are the first third-party fighter from Microsoft. They were revealed alongside Hero during the E3 Nintendo Direct on June 11th, 2019 as the third downloadable fighter from Fighters Pass Vol. 1. Banjo & Kazooie were released as part of Challenger Pack 3 on September 4th, 2019 and are classified as Fighter #73.
Chris Sutherland reprises his role as both Banjo & Kazooie, with his portrayals from across the Banjo-Kazooie series being repurposed for Ultimate in all regions.
Banjo & Kazooie, like Duck Hunt, are a tag team that fight together as if they were a singular fighter. Together, they are a heavyweight, and are tied with Snake and R.O.B. as the 18th heaviest fighter in the game. As Banjo handles the duo's walking, his walking speed is below-average, and his initial dash and traction values are among the worst in the game. Conversely, Kazooie handles the duo's dashing, in which she uses the Talon Trot to carry Banjo. In stark contrast to Banjo's walking speed, Kazooie's dashing speed is very fast; specifically, it is the 11th fastest in the game, which is nearly unrivaled among their fellow heavyweights.
Banjo is somewhat short for a heavyweight due to having a relatively average height. Like Wario, however, his hurtbox is fairly wide. Kazooie, however, lacks a hurtbox of any kind outside of the Talon Trot and up tilt; as a result, all standard attacks involving her are disjointed. Like Ridley and Charizard, Kazooie also grants the duo two midair jumps with her wings. Additionally, they have a fast falling speed, high gravity, slow air speed, and average air acceleration.
The majority of Banjo & Kazooie's grounded arsenal makes use of moves from their first two games, Banjo-Kazooie and Banjo-Tooie. Banjo's Claw Swipe and Kazooie's Rat-a-Tat Rap comprise their neutral attack. The former serves as a 3-hit gentleman jab, while the latter is a standard rapid jab. It should be noted that the hitbox of Kazooie's jabs is large enough to sometimes hit opponents standing directly behind the duo. This can cause the opponent to be continually jabbed into the duo's rear, keeping them locked in the hitbox and causing both of the fighters to be slowly moved backwards, often amounting to extremely high percentages by the time they reach the edge of a platform. Their forward tilt, Beak Bayonet, is a quick stab with Kazooie's beak, functioning similarly to Ridley's forward tilt. It can be angled and has a respectable amount of disjointed range, especially for its speed, making it useful for stopping predictable or vulnerable approaches. Their up tilt, a powerful upward kick from Banjo as Kazooie lifts him up from underneath, is an original move, and functions similar to Pac-Man's up tilt. It has barely any hitbox towards the duo's front or rear, making it very situational, but it hits through most platforms and can be a reliable follow-up from down throw. Their down tilt, Beak Barge, is a low-to-the-ground slide that launches at a very low semi-spike angle, making it a very potent edgeguarding and tech-chasing option. Their dash attack, the Forward Roll, is very similar to Donkey Kong's dash attack, but has more kill power and has fewer active frames.
Complementing their versatile tilts, Banjo & Kazooie sport very useful smash attacks. Their forward smash is Breegull Bash, a slow but powerful, good-ranged move that highlights a comical maneuver in their home game. The duo's up smash is the Bill Drill, a spinning attack with Kazooie's beak that is fairly useful as an anti-aerial and out-of-shield option, and is a reliable follow up to the duo's burying down throw, as the move is deceptively fast with a 7 frame startup. Banjo & Kazooie's down smash is an original move, a wing-slam from Kazooie on both sides of them much like Ridley, albeit weaker and much faster, making it a useful tool for catching rolls. Notably, their forward and down smashes, especially the latter, have long-lasting hitboxes that slightly penetrate the stage, making them both deadly 2-framing tools at the ledge.
Their aerial moveset also combines old and new moves. The duo's neutral aerial is the Twirling Wing Whack, a multi-hitting circular wing spin from Kazooie that is functionally very similar to Ivysaur's and Piranha Plant's neutral aerials. This move has respectable amount of combo potential, as well as being an easy way of scoring KOs offstage against fulnerable opponents. Their forward aerial, an original move, is a slow but powerful haymaker punch from Banjo, much like Dr. Mario's and Ganondorf's forward aerials. The move's clean hit is almost always a guaranteed KO offstage; additionally, his hand is intangible during the active frames, making the move great for covering the duo's approach, pressuring shields and edgeguarding. Rat-a-Tat Rap makes a second appearance as a back aerial that hits three times, similarly to Ridley's forward aerial. This move has respectable power, and is a good out-of-shield option as well as a reliable (albeit unsafe due to its lag) KO option offstage. Banjo & Kazooie's up aerial is a two-hit move that has Kazooie close her wings together in a scissor motion that weakly launches opponents upwards, allowing the move to be chained into itself, but its awkward knockback direction combined with its weak power doesn't allow it much juggling or combo utility. Beak Buster makes an appearance as their down aerial; it is a stall-then-fall attack that meteor smashes opponents during its initial frames, and has a fairly large hitbox upon impacting the stage.
Banjo & Kazooie's special moves are fairly versatile as well. Their neutral special is Egg Firing / Breegull Blaster. Egg Firing, activated when the special button is tapped, sends blue eggs out of Kazooie's mouth that are affected by gravity in a similar manner to Mario's Fireball, and acts as their primary edgeguarding tool and gimping option; the move also briefly stalls the duo's aerial momentum when used in the air. Holding the special button causes the move to transition into Breegull Blaster, in which Banjo wields Kazooie like a gun as in Banjo-Tooie's first-person shooter segments, with low damage but faster and constant projectiles, all while being able to move and jump freely similar to holding items such as the completed Daybreak parts. This can be used to pressure enemies in a similar manner to Mega Man's neutral attack, and even start ladder combos, though because the move is a "mode" that takes a moment to be entered and exited, it is often difficult to use in close proximity. Wonderwing has Banjo charge forward while Kazooie shields him with her magic-infused wings. It does high damage and knockback if it connects within the first half of the distance it covers, and its full-body invincibility that lasts through the entirety of the hitbox's duration allows it to out-prioritize nearly every other move in the game (exceptions include grabs and command grabs such as Buster Wolf). Wonderwing's duration and the size of its hitbox also allows it to act as a fantastic 2-framing option on the edge, as the duo will run in place at the edge for some time. Wonderwing can be an easy and effective way to brute force an opponent out of projectile camping, though this may backfire if the opponent is baiting the move or otherwise ready for it. It also functions as an excellent recovery option with its horizontal speed and distance and does not induce helplessness either. However, the move runs on a limited stock of five golden feathers that are not replenished until Banjo & Kazooie are KO'd, so its usage must be carefully considered; additionally, despite crossing up shields, Wonderwing's high ending lag and long-lasting singular hitbox make it fairly unsafe in any case where the opponent can see it coming. Shock Spring Jump makes an appearance as their up special. It is a decent vertical recovery move that does not leave them helpless and preserves their midair jumps; it can be charged to increase its travel distance, and when used in the air, the Shock Spring Pad itself possesses a damaging hitbox that can be used to gimp some recoveries. Rear Egg, their down special, has Kazooie lay an explosive Grenade Egg behind them. It bounces in an unpredictable fashion due to its football-like shape and launches opponents upward. The egg also functions as an item; it is catchable and throwable despite its much shorter fuse compared to similar explosive-related attacks. All of these properties make Rear Egg an incredibly versatile projectile that can be used for ledge trapping, comboing, camping, and neutral in general. Overall, their four specials have impressive utility with both physical and projectile options.
Banjo & Kazooie have an unremarkable grab game, with below-average reach. While each of their throws have vastly different functions, only in very specific situations are they useful outside of getting the opponent away from them (with the exception of their back throw). Forward throw is only really useful for putting opponents off-stage, with its awkward angle and high base knockback making it useless for combos while its nearly nonexistent knockback growth prevents it KOing. Up throw is useful for setting up juggles with up air, but has too much end lag to actually have any true follow-ups. Down throw buries the opponent, leading into various guaranteed follow-ups at very high percentages, although it is generally inferior to King K. Rool's similar down throw due to less bury time. The only one of the duo's throws that has consistently good usage is their back throw, a spinning throw almost identical to Mario's but more powerful, and is an extraordinary KO option at the ledge at high percentages, while its damage and trajectory allow for powerful follow-ups or edgeguarding in other situations. As a whole, for Banjo & Kazooie, grabbing is a high-risk, low-reward undertaking that usually only sets stocks when their opponent is at a very high percentage; at other times, the best that their throws can do is to rack up damage and put distance between them, only subtracting from their options for getting out of the disadvantage.
Alongside their grab and throws, the pair have other considerable weaknesses to balance their strengths. Outside of their smash attacks, Wonderwing, and offstage aerials, Banjo & Kazooie's potential to KO is somewhat limited despite their status as a heavyweight fighter. Most of their moves are unremarkable among their weight class in terms of power, and unlike other fighters with poor KOing abilities, Banjo & Kazooie have a very limited combo game. The duo's range is also unremarkable, despite Kazooie's lack of an hurtbox, which means that they will generally have issues trading blows with conventional swordfighters. Similar to Wario, Banjo & Kazooie have a wide hurtbox, and they are susceptible to combos and juggles due to their heavy weight, fast falling speed, slow air speed, low jump height, and lack of fast escape options. Their overall mobility is unorthodox; their excellent run speed is offset by their poor initial dash speed, which is tied for the fifth-worst, their high vertical recovery options are hampered by their low jumps, poor air speed, and fast falling speed, and their grounded mobility is hindered by the lowest traction in the game alongside Mii Gunner. Additionally, the duo's special moves, while strong, have significant flaws. Egg Firing has a slow firing rate on its own, and weak power when the pair transitions to Breegull Blaster; also, Breegull Blaster's eggs become weaker with repeated use, discouraging excessive use of the move. If the pair runs out of golden feathers, they lose access to Wonderwing, eliminating a potent move with plenty of offensive and defensive utility; Wonderwing is also vulnerable to grabs despite its invincibility, although due to its speed, an opponent taking advantage of this is relatively rare, and is notoriously unsafe on shield and on whiff, further punishing heavily its misuse. Rear Egg, while being a relatively potent combo tool, can be turned against the duo as opponents can grab it and use it due to its status as an item, as well as the fact that that a previously-laid grenade egg must explode or reach the blast zone before a new one can be laid, meaning the player must wait a while to try again if an egg misses an opponent. Shock Spring Jump requires slight charge time to make their recovery reliable, and it also does not have a hitbox outside of the Shock Spring Pad itself, making it vulnerable to aggressive edgeguarding.
Overall, Banjo & Kazooie are a fairly unorthodox character, but can be considered to fall in the heavyweight trapper archetype, similar to Link, R.O.B. and Snake, being centered on maintaining stage control with the help of a powerful explosive item, while at the same time being capable of fighting melee and having access to a strong finisher in Wonderwing. They are a quite versatile fighter that can adapt to multiple playstyles even over the course of a single match, though they are more adept to turtling playstyles. However, their capabilities fall somewhat short next to comparable characters; Grenade Eggs are not as good as they could seem at controlling space due to their limited lifetime, and the duo's overall frame data and KO power is unimpressive for this archetype, limiting their potential to act aggressively.
Initially, Banjo & Kazooie were met positively, attracting the attention of players such as Brood, Raito and Tweek, the latter of which placed 5th at Glitch 7 with them shortly after their release. The enthusiasm however quickly faded as their flaws became more apparent, and Banjo & Kazooie now see only sparse representation and results at top level play. Their low representation led to further skepticism from professionals, with the majority arguing that they are a mid tier character at best and some even claiming them to be low or bottom tier. Though their viability and definitive placement is still heavily debatable, they're generally agreed to be among the weakest downloadable fighters introduced in Ultimate.
Banjo & Kazooie were buffed slightly via game updates. Their only noteworthy buffs were knockback increases for their up tilt and forward smash via update 12.0.0, slightly improving the moves' already respectable KO potential. Due to the other changes they received being strictly quality-of-life adjustments, Banjo & Kazooie's competitive reception has remained virtually unchanged since their release.
For a gallery of Banjo & Kazooie's hitboxes, see here.
Note: All numbers are listed as base damage, without the 1v1 multiplier.
In competitive play
Banjo & Kazooie were initially met with a mildly positive reception due to their strong and flexible moves (such as forward aerial, forward tilt, smash attacks, Wonderwing, and Rear Egg), their ability to zone and edge trap effectively, and their versatile recovery. Their viability was strengthened with Tweek's 5th place at Glitch 7 - Minus World. However, the duo's flaws, including their below-average speed, problems with juggling and scoring KOs, fairly noticeable lag on their moves, and a barely adequate grab game, quickly became a problem. Despite their flaws and Tweek dropping the duo almost immediately after Glitch 7, opinions on Banjo & Kazooie's viability remained somewhat positive, as they garnered a sizeable playerbase that included huto, Raito, and Trela, the latter of whom defeated VoiD at The Big House 9. As a result, the early consensus among professionals, such as Mew2King and ESAM, was that the duo was between mid tier and the lower end of high tier.
However, ever since the end of 2019, Banjo & Kazooie have seen a decline in both results and reception, with several players such as the aforementioned 3 dropping them. Many players believe that they are only at their strongest in an online environment, while others believe that they are low tier overall. While Banjo & Kazooie are generally considered a respectable fighter, their viability as a solo main is widely disputed due to their competitive results being quite lacking compared to metagame-relevant fighters.
Most historically significant players
Classic Mode: Perfect Partners
Banjo & Kazooie's Classic Mode comprises opponents featured as a duo, akin to themselves being partners. Several of the music and stage combinations reference various worlds from the first Banjo-Kazooie game.
Note: Every stage until Round 6 plays a track from the Banjo-Kazooie universe, no matter what universe the stage originates from
Role in World of Light
Due to their status as downloadable content, Banjo & Kazooie do not have a legitimate role in World of Light. Instead, they are unlocked for use in the mode after freeing 10 fighters from Galeem's control. If loading an existing save file that meets this condition prior to downloading Banjo & Kazooie, they are immediately unlocked.
Banjo & Kazooie's fighter spirit can be obtained by completing Classic Mode. It is also available periodically for purchase in the shop for 300 Gold, but only after Banjo & Kazooie have been downloaded. Unlocking Banjo & Kazooie in World of Light allows the player to preview the spirit below in the Spirit List under the name "???". As a fighter spirit, it cannot be used in Spirit Battles and is purely aesthetic. Their fighter spirit has an alternate version that replaces it with their artwork in Ultimate.
In Spirit battles
As a minion