Banjo-Kazooie reentered my life when I bought an XBox Series S and signed up for Game Pass. I was tickled to see that a remastered version was available on the library, especially since I had the game as a kid but never managed to beat it.

But now I’m 30 years old, renting a townhouse, and writing novels. Not a kid anymore. So I guess it’s high time I conquered this game, right? Here are my takeaways.

The Pros

First off, this game is just oozing with charm. Everything is bright, colorful, delightful… even some of the character dialogue is clever. Every level and environment is chock full of personality. We just don’t see games like this anymore, and it’s a darn shame.

Now let’s talk about the music. The soundtrack to Banjo-Kazooie rips. My head gets bobbing whenever I hear the ditty for Treasure Trove Cove, and that’s not the only banger in the game. Whoever they hired to compose the music did a fabulous job.

The array of moves available to Banjo and Kazooie also make for some exciting platforming. The controls handle pretty tightly–hats off to the crew that adapted the N64 classic to XBox consoles. Overall, handling Banjo and Kazooie just feels good. It’s a polished platformer that feels calculated and refined.

The Cons

Camera angles. Camera angles! I don’t remember the camera angles being this bad on the N64, but I would have moments that were downright frustrating. Like, I would carefully navigate a narrow path, but the camera hits a foreign object, snaps to a different angle, and suddenly I’m falling to your death. It drove me insane.

Also, at points this game was hard. Like, unnecessarily hard. I’m looking at you, engine room of Rusty Bucket Bay! I can’t tell you how many times I died trying to get the stupid Jiggies associated with that room. My parents and roommates had to put up with my frustrated outbursts too many times. Whoever designed that room, I hope life has brought you more than its fair share of suffering.

The Verdict

Maybe I’m looking through my nostalgia goggles, but overall, Banjo-Kazooie was a delight. It’s one I’ll likely visit again, and since it takes up less than 1GB of space on my hard drive, it’ll probably have a permanent home there. Glad a gem like this withstands the test of time and remains a fun game. “Guh-huh!!

Overall score: 8/10