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 representatives from Microsoft. They were revealed alongside Hero during the E3 Nintendo Direct on June 11th, 2019 as the third downloadable fighters from Fighters Pass Vol. 1. Banjo & Kazooie were released on September 4th, 2019, and although they are a duo, they are classified as fighter #73.
Chris Sutherland's portrayals of both Banjo & Kazooie from across the Banjo-Kazooie series were repurposed for Ultimate in all regions.
Banjo & Kazooie are a duo that fights together as a singular character, akin to Duck Hunt. The duo is a heavyweight, weighing as much as Snake and R.O.B. Although Banjo's walking speed is below-average, and his initial dash and traction values are among the worst in the game, Kazooie's Talon Trot grants them a very fast dashing speed, which is fairly uncharacteristic of their weight class. While Banjo is somewhat short for a heavyweight (having a relatively average size), his hurtbox is still fairly wide, much like Wario's. Outside of the Talon Trot and up tilt, Kazooie does not have a hurtbox, meaning that all standard attacks involving her are disjointed. Like Ridley and Charizard, the duo has two midair jumps, courtesy of Kazooie. Additionally, they have a fast falling speed, high gravity, slow air speed, and average air acceleration.
Banjo & Kazooie's grounded arsenal makes use of the majority 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 enemies standing directly behind Banjo. This can cause the opponent to be continually jabbed into Banjo's back, keeping them locked in the hitbox, amounting to extremely high percentages. Their forward tilt, Beak Bayonet, is a quick stab with Kazooie's beak, functioning similarly to Ridley's forward tilt. Their up tilt, a powerful upward kick from Banjo as Kazooie lifts him up from underneath, is an original move. 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, bears similarity to Donkey Kong's dash attack, albeit with more kill power.
Complementing their versatile tilts, Banjo and Kazooie sport very useful smash attacks. Their forward smash is Breegull Bash, a slow but powerful and 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. Banjo & Kazooie's down smash is an original move, a wing-slam from Kazooie on both sides of Banjo in a similar vein to Ridley, making it a useful tool for catching rolls. Additionally, it can 2-frame opponents on the ledge very easily.
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 aerial. Banjo's forward aerial is an original move, a slow but powerful haymaker punch, much like Dr. Mario's and Ganondorf's forward aerials. Banjo's hand is intangible during the attack, making it surprisingly disjointed and great for pressuring shields. Rat-a-Tat Rap makes a second appearance as a back aerial that hits three times, similarly to Ridley's forward aerial. The duo'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. Beak Buster makes an appearance as their down aerial; it is a stall-then-fall attack that meteor smashes opponents during its initial frames.
Banjo & Kazooie's special moves are fairly versatile as well. Their neutral special, Egg Firing, sends eggs out of Kazooie's mouth that are affected by gravity in a similar manner to Mario's Fireball; the move also briefly stalls the duo's aerial momentum when used in the air. Holding the special button transitions into Breegull Blaster, during 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, though because the move is a "mode" that takes a moment to be entered and exited, it is less useful. Wonderwing has Banjo charge forward while Kazooie shields him with her 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 (although the duo is still vulnerable to grabs). As such, 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. 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 egg-shaped grenade behind Banjo. 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 has a respectable grab game, with above-average reach. Each of the duo's throws has vastly different functions. 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. Back throw is almost identical to Mario's back throw in both animation and function and is a useful KO option at the ledge at high percentages, albeit slightly stronger. 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 percents, although it is generally inferior to King K. Rool's similar down throw due to less bury time. Overall, Banjo & Kazooie have a fairly standard set of throws.
The pair is not without weaknesses, however. Outside of their smash attacks and Wonderwing, Banjo & Kazooie's potential to KO is somewhat limited despite their status as a heavyweight fighter. Most of their moves are fairly weak, and unlike other characters with poor KOing abilities, Banjo & Kazooie have a very limited combo game. 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, are also flawed. Egg Firing has a slow firing rate on its own, and weak power when the pair transitions to Breegull Blaster; additionally, 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. Rear Egg can be turned against the duo as opponents can grab it and use it due to its status as an item. 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 meteor smashes and aggressive edgeguarding in general.
Overall, Banjo & Kazooie have a lot of specialized tools to accommodate different opponents and playstyles. Their egg projectiles can be used in a multitude of ways, and their recovery, while flawed, is fairly strong, with many different ways to get back onto the stage. Banjo and Kazooie can be considered classic all-rounders similar to Mario and Pit, in that they have no real clear or punishable flaw, but in contrast have no clear strengths or abusable abilities, as Wonderwing, while strong, is limited by its resource pool. Players must change their playstyle with the duo to combat their opponent's playstyle, taking advantage of all the tools the duo offers. In short, Banjo and Kazooie are a jack-of-all-trades and master-of-none fighter that has solid performance overall, but lack superiority over other characters. Their power, therefore, comes from the ingenuity of the player and how they counter their opponent. While they have seen very little representation at top levels so far due to their relatively recent release, Tweek was able to place 5th at Glitch 7 shortly after their release, implying that the duo might be competitively viable, but to what extent is currently unknown.
For a gallery of Banjo & Kazooie's hitboxes, see here.
Note: All numbers are listed as base damage, without the 1v1 multiplier.
Banjo hops out of a dark Jiggy silhouette with Kazooie visible, and then the duo both bow twice. The silhouette is a reference to the cutout wipe seen as the player moves from one area to another in the Nintendo 64 games, and the bows refer to the second half of the animation seen when all 10 Jiggies in a world are collected or when a Note Door is unlocked in Banjo-Kazooie.
In competitive play
Banjo & Kazooie were initially met with decent reception for their strong attacks in forward aerial and Wonderwing, the ability to zone and edge trap effectively, and versatile recovery. Their potential as a character was strengthened with Tweek's placing 5th at Glitch 7 with mostly them. However, the duo's flaws were quickly noticed with their below-average speed, problems against juggling, struggles with taking out stocks, decent lag on their moves, and both horrible grab range and ineffective throws. Their competitive presence also toned down after Tweek stopped playing the character and now many people are unsure of who's the best Banjo & Kazooie player in the metagame as they haven't gathered the results of the same level.
They have gathered a few notable players in huto and Trela, however, and the latter was able to beat VoiD's Sheik and Pichu at The Big House 9. There's also players such as ZAKI who started using them as a co-main to his King Dedede and Raito who uses them as a strong secondary. These results and aforementioned strengths have been enough for top players such as Mew2King and ESAM to place the duo as a mid and high-mid tier, respectively. Overall, their status as a character is respectable but doesn't have the results of other high to top tiers or even other DLC fighters.
Any number following the Smasher name indicates placement on the Fall 2019 PGRU, which recognizes the official top 50 players in the world in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate from July 13th, 2019 to December 15th, 2019.
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.
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 coins, but only after Banjo & Kazooie have been downloaded. Unlocking Banjo & Kazooie in World of Light allows the player to preview the first spirit below in the Spirit List under the name "???". As a Fighter Spirit, it cannot be used in Spirit Battles and is purely aesthetic. Each Fighter Spirit has an alternate version that replaces it with its artwork in Ultimate.
As a minion