Banjo Pilot

Game Boy Advance
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Banjo Pilot delivers colorful, content-rich racing with unique aerial gameplay, diverse tracks, and engaging modes, offering hours of joyful entertainment

More than a decade ago, Rare, a UK-based developer, was in the midst of creating various projects for Nintendo’s Game Boy Advance. However, when Nintendo opted not to purchase Rare’s shares from the Stamper brothers, Microsoft stepped in and acquired the company. This left Rare with several unreleased projects for the GBA, including the games Banjo-Kazooie: Grunty’s Revenge and a racing game featuring Diddy Kong, titled Diddy Kong Pilot.

The Evolution of Banjo Pilot

Due to Rare’s loss of rights to the Donkey Kong characters and Microsoft’s focus on console gaming, Diddy Kong Pilot underwent extensive retooling and emerged as Banjo Pilot in 2005. This release came several years after its initial announcement. The result was a content-rich game, though not without its shortcomings.

Banjo Pilot (GBA Gallery 03)

Gameplay and Features

Banjo Pilot takes a unique approach to arcade-style racing, foregoing traditional karts in favor of miniature airplanes. Initially, players have access to characters like Banjo, Kazooie, Mumbo Jumbo, and Jinjo. Additional racers can be unlocked by completing cups and exchanging earned pages with Cheato.

The game boasts a total of sixteen tracks, featuring locations from various Banjo titles, such as Banjo-Kazooie, Banjo-Tooie, and Banjo-Kazooie: Grunty’s Revenge. While the venues differ, the tracks share common obstacles like trees or the occasional camel, along with speed-boosting rings.

Flight Mechanics

Despite the aerial setting, flight dynamics don’t significantly alter race dynamics. Boost rings may vary in height, necessitating altitude adjustments, but this remains a minor novelty. Straying off-course onto non-track terrain slows the player down and may lead to a crash due to the game’s Mode 7 design.

Items and Power-Ups

Banjo Pilot adheres to the kart racer tradition with a range of items. These include speed-boosting shoes, invincibility-granting golden feathers, homing fire eggs, and ice eggs that create hindering ice cubes. A well-timed barrel roll can counteract incoming attacks or provide a speed boost.

Game Modes

The game offers an array of modes to engage players. Four Grand Prix modes, each comprising four races, challenge players to accumulate the most points. Successful racers then face off against a boss character in an aerial dogfight. Additionally, the Jiggy Challenge mode tasks players with collecting golden jigsaw pieces and beating an AI opponent across 32 tracks, providing a substantial and rewarding challenge.

Visuals and Sound

Banjo Pilot shines with vibrant, Mode 7 graphics. The backgrounds are a visual delight, offering intricate and diverse scenery. The music, a remnant of the game’s Diddy Kong Pilot days, is characterized by playful chimp sounds, particularly in the character selection screen.

Banjo Pilot (GBA Gallery 01)


While Banjo Pilot may not introduce groundbreaking innovations or boast flawless physics, it offers a content-rich racing experience that provides extended enjoyment for solo gamers on the Game Boy Advance. Despite occasional frustrations like rubber-band AI and repetitive tracks, it remains a solid choice for arcade racing enthusiasts. The game may not have justified its five-year development period, but it ensures Banjo and company avoid a crash landing.

Soar through the skies and claim victory in Banjo Pilot!

Play Banjo Pilot onlineAnywhere, Anytime

You can enjoy the exhilarating experience of Banjo Pilot not only on our website but also on your mobile devices and tablets for gaming on the go!

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How many tracks are there in Banjo Pilot?

Banjo Pilot features a total of sixteen unique tracks inspired by various Banjo-Kazooie titles.

What are the different game modes available?

Players can engage in four different Grand Prix modes, as well as the challenging Jiggy Challenge mode, which involves collecting golden jigsaw pieces and racing against AI opponents.

Can I play Banjo Pilot on my mobile device?

Absolutely! Banjo Pilot is compatible with both mobile phones and tablets, allowing for gaming on the move.

Are there any special power-ups or items in the game?

Yes, Banjo Pilot offers a range of items, including speed-boosting shoes, invincibility-granting golden feathers, and various types of eggs with different effects.

What sets Banjo Pilot apart from other racing games on the Game Boy Advance?

Banjo Pilot’s distinctive feature lies in its use of miniature airplanes for racing, providing a unique twist on the traditional kart racing genre.