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Banjo-Pilot is a racing game released for the Game Boy Advance featuring Banjo-Kazooie characters racing in planes. It was developed by Rare and published by THQ in 2005. It is the only spinoff title of the Banjo-Kazooie series and has no storyline nor relation to the main series. The race courses are rendered using Mode7 technology.

Banjo-Pilot was originally under development as Diddy Kong Pilot in 2001, which would be entirely redone into another title of the same name, distinguished as the 2003 build. Its earlier iteration was cancelled because of the Microsoft acquisition in 2002, and that Nintendo was concerned over its quality.[1] While Banjo-Pilot courses are rendered in Mode7, it had an earlier build where courses were rendered with the voxel engine.


Kazooie racing in Spiral Mountain, the first course of the game.

The gameplay for Banjo-Pilot is very similar to the Mario Kart series. It involves the player racing in tracks against other racers, except they fly around in planes. Racers can collect an item from a Honeycomb, which are located throughout the tracks, usually in a pair. There are four collectible Musical Notes lying around a track, and collecting all four increases the number of Cheato Pages that the player obtains from completing the race.

Oddly, planes slow down when driving over rough ground. The player is also equipped with an indefinite supply of bullets, which slows another racer down for one second when it hits them. The player can hold down L Button to do a barrel roll, which is effective for taking sharp turns around corners. The player can avoid incoming items, such as Red Fire Eggs, by making a U-turn, which is done by pressing L and Down just when it is about to hit.


  • Grand Prix: In this mode, the first player races against other characters in a series of tracks to earn points. There are four cups that each contain four tracks with an aerial boss fight at the end. The player is given a trophy determined on his/her rank. Different Grand Prixes include the Bottles GP, the Grunty GP, the Endurance GP, and the Jinjo GP.
  • Quick Race: In this mode, the player can do a quick single race with any character he/she has already unlocked. The player can choose tracks from the Bottles and Gruntilda GP.
  • Time Trial: In this mode, the player races against the ghost of either Bottles or Gruntilda to try and beat their best time.
  • Trophies: Here, the player can view the trophies that he/she won throughout the game. There is also a photo album when the player completes all of the game's challenges.
  • Jiggy Challenge: In this mode, the player collects six Jiggies on tracks from the Bottles and Grunty Grand Prixes while trying to finish in first place. If they succeed, they can unlock Bottles, the most efficient racer in the game.
  • Cheato: Here, Cheato pages are used to purchase unlockables within the game.

Two Multiplayer modes were also included on Banjo-Pilot, with GBA Link Cable support for up to four players:

  • Head-To-Head: It's a multiplayer quickrace, with four players together in the same track.
  • Dogfight: Similar to a cup boss battle. Player can beat the opponent using weapons.


The character select menu, with all characters unlocked.

There are four playable characters from the start of the game.

Image Character Stats
Banjo BP icon.png Banjo Top Speed: 3/5
Acceleration: 3/5
Handling: 2/5
Kazooie BP mugshot sprite.png Kazooie Top Speed: 2/5
Acceleration: 3/5
Handling: 4/5
Mumbo character select BP icon.png Mumbo Jumbo Top Speed: 3/5
Acceleration: 2/5
Handling: 3/5
BP Jinjo select icon.png Jinjo Top Speed: 1/5
Acceleration: 4/5
Handling: 5/5

There are five unlockable characters, each of whom can be unlocked from Cheato's menu after meeting a criteria.

Image Character Stats Unlock criteria
Humba Wumba BP icon.png Humba Wumba Top Speed: 1/5
Acceleration: 5/5
Handling: 5/5
Complete the Jiggy Cup, then give 100 Cheato Pages to Cheato.
Jolly Roger BP icon.png Jolly Roger Top Speed: 2/5
Acceleration: 4/5
Handling: 4/5
Complete the Pumpkin Cup, then give 100 Cheato Pages to Cheato.
Klungo BP mugshot.png Klungo Top Speed: 4/5
Acceleration: 2/5
Handling: 2/5
Complete the Skull Cup, then give 150 Cheato Pages to Cheato.
BP Gruntilda selection icon.png Gruntilda Top Speed: 5/5
Acceleration: 1/5
Handling: 1/5
Complete Grunty's Grand Prix, then give 150 Cheato Pages to Cheato.
BP Bottles icon.png Bottles Top Speed: 5/5
Acceleration: 4/5
Handling: 4/5
Complete every Jiggy Challenge on Bottles GP, then give 500 Cheato Pages to Cheato.


Racers can receive an item by running into a Honeycomb.

Item Description
Golden Feather BP icon.png
Golden Feather
Temporarily grants the player with both invincibility and boosted speed.
Mumbo's Head BP icon.png
Mumbo's Head[2]
This item temporarily disables all other racers; despite its name, the Mumbo's Head more closely resembles Mingy Jongo.
Turbo Trainers BP icon.png
Turbo Trainers
Gives a short speed boost
Saucer of Peril BP icon.png
Saucer of Peril
Homes in on the leading racer, causing them to crash.
Red Fire Egg BP icon.png
Single Red Fire Egg[2]
Homes in on the nearest racer, causing them to crash.
Triple Red Fire Eggs BP icon.png
Triple Red Fire Eggs
Provides three Red Fire Eggs to the player.
Blue Ice Egg BP icon.png
Single Blue Ice Egg[2]
Drops behind the user's plane, causing another plane that hits it to crash.
Triple Blue Ice Eggs BP icon.png
Triple Blue Ice Eggs
Provides three Blue Ice Eggs to the player.


Honeycomb/Pumpkin Cup

Jiggy/Cauldron Cup

Beehive/Skull Cup

Feather/Broomstick Cup

Battle tracks[edit]

It has been requested that one or more images be uploaded and added to this section. Remember to remove the template once the image(s) have been added.
Specifics: Mumbo's Mountain and Rusty Bucket Bay

There are four battle stages, each of which are unlockable and only playable in multiplayer mode:

Image Name Unlocked by
Mumbo's Mountain Purchase from Cheato for 100 Cheato Pages
Temple Tussle.png Temple Tussle Purchase from Cheato for 100 Cheato Pages
Arctic Blast.png Arctic Blast Complete the Feather Cup in the Bottles GP, then purchase from Cheato for 100 Cheato Pages.
Rusty Bucket Bay Complete the Broomstick Cup in the Grunty GP, then purchase from Cheato for 100 Cheato Pages.


The music of Banjo-Pilot was composed by Robin Beanland and Jamie Hughes. Banjo-Pilot is the second Banjo-Kazooie game to not have Grant Kirkhope as a music composer.


Many characters from Rare's previous games make minor cameos in Banjo-Pilot. Characters like Tiptup, Gobi, and Master Jiggywiggy can be seen in various tracks. Sabreman, from Sabre Wulf, and Expresso, from Donkey Kong Country respectively appear in in Jolly Roger's Lagoon and Jinxy's Dunes. Other non-playable characters include Cheato, King Jingaling, and Roysten.

Pre-release and unused content[edit]


For this subject's image gallery, see Gallery:Banjo-Pilot.


  • According to Rare, Banjo-Pilot was known as Banjo-Kazooie: Pilot on THQ's UK website.[3]
  • Microsoft, who acquired Rare three years before this game's release, allowed THQ to publish this title and other Game Boy Advance games Rare developed on their behalf due to most of said games already being in development before the buyout. Microsoft had no equivalent in the handheld market and did not want the development time and resources they acquired to go to waste.