Banjo-Kazooie: Controls Guide for Nintendo Switch and Tips for Beginners

The late-90s classic Banjo-Kazooie is back! Here is your complete controls guide with gameplay tips.


A major hit once it debuted in 1998 on the N64, Banjo-Kazooie is back on Nintendo for the first time since Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts on the Xbox 360 in 2008. As part of the Switch Online Expansion Pass, Banjo-Kazooie is the newest game added to the small yet growing number of classic titles.

Below, you will find complete controls for Banjo-Kazooie on the Switch, including if you’re using the controller adapter. There will also be tips listed after the controls, focusing on beginners and the early parts of the game.


Banjo-Kazooie Nintendo Switch controls

  • Move: LS
  • Jump: A (hold for higher jump)
  • Basic Attack: B
  • Crouch: ZL
  • Enter First-Person View: RS Up
  • Rotate Camera: RS Left and RS Right
  • Center Camera: R (tap to center, hold to lock camera until released)
  • Pause Menu: +
  • Suspend Menu:
  • Climb: LS (jump to tree)
  • Swim: LS (movement), B (dive), A and B (swim)
  • Feathery Flap: A (hold in midair)
  • Forward Roll: LS + B (must be moving)
  • Rat-a-Tat Rap: A, then B (in midair)
  • Flap-Flip: ZL (hold), then A
  • Talon Trot: ZL (hold), then RS Left (must hold Z to maintain)
  • Beak Barge: ZL (hold), then B
  • Beak Buster: ZL (in midair)
  • Fire Eggs: ZL (hold), LS (aim), RS Up (shoot forward) and RS Down (shoot backward)
  • Flight: LS (direction), R (sharp turns), A (gain altitude; required Red Feathers)
  • Beak Bomb: B (only available during Flight)
  • Wonderwing: RS Right (requires Golden Feather)

Note that the left and right sticks are denoted as LS and RS, respectively. X and Y also serve the same functions as RS Left (Y) and RS Down (X).

The updated N64 Expansion Pass Page, with Yoshi’s Island the only one not pictured.

Banjo-Kazooie N64 controls

  • Move: Analog Stick
  • Jump: A (hold for higher jump)
  • Basic Attack: B
  • Crouch: Z
  • Enter First-Person View: C-Up
  • Rotate Camera: C-Left and C-Right
  • Center Camera: R (tap to center, hold to lock camera until released)
  • Pause Menu: Start
  • Climb: Analog Stick (jump to tree)
  • Swim: Analog Stick (movement), B (dive), A and B (swim)
  • Feathery Flap: A (hold in midair)
  • Forward Roll: Analog Stick + B (must be moving)
  • Rat-a-Tat Rap: A, then B (in midair)
  • Flap-Flip: Z (hold), then A
  • Talon Trot: Z (hold), then C-Left (must hold Z to maintain)
  • Beak Barge: Z (hold), then B
  • Beak Buster: Z (in midair)
  • Fire Eggs: Z (hold), Analog Stick (aim), C-Up (shoot forward) and C-Down (shoot backward)
  • Flight: Analog Stick (direction), R (sharp turns), A (gain altitude; required Red Feathers)
  • Beak Bomb: B (only available during Flight)
  • Wonderwing: Z (hold), then C-Right (requires Golden Feather)

To help improve your gameplay, particularly if you’re new to the game, read the tips below.

Banjo-Kazooie is a “collectathon” game

While your overarching goal is to save Banjo’s sister, Tootie, from the witch Gruntilda, the means of reaching the witch comes in the form of collecting the various items in each map. Most items you’ll find will need to collected, though some of these items are optional. However, the optional ones will still make the endgame easier, so it’s recommended to clear each map before leaving.

These are the collectible items you will find on each map:


  • Jigsaw Pieces: These are golden puzzle pieces needed to finish the maps of each of the nine worlds within Gruntilda’s Lair. Jigsaw Pieces are the most important item in the game. Clearing each world will lead to the final sequences with Gruntilda.
  • Musical Notes: Golden musical notes, there are 100 on each map. Notes are needed to open doors to proceed further in the Lair, the number needed on the door.
  • Jinjos: Multi-colored creatures resembling dinosaurs, there are five on each world. Finding all five will reward you a Jigsaw Piece. Jinjos play a role in the endgame.
  • Eggs: These blue eggs littered throughout the map are used as projectiles.
  • Red Feathers: These allow Kazooie to raise altitude while flying.
  • Golden Feathers: These allow Kazooie to engage in Wonderwing, a nearly invulnerable defense surrounding Banjo.
  • Mumbo Tokens: Silver skulls, these allow you to speak to Mumbo to gain his magical powers. The number of tokens needed and type of magic he conducts will vary by world.
  • Extra Honeycomb Pieces: These large, hollow golden items represent how to increase Banjo and Kazooie’s health bar, which is represented by small honeycombs at the top of the screen (you begin with five). Find six Extra Honeycomb Pieces to increase HP.

You will also find two other collectibles. One is Honeycomb Energy, dropped by enemies. This refills one health bar. The other is an Extra Life, a golden Banjo trophy, which grants you an extra life.

Lastly, you will find two items that will make traversing the terrain easier, but later in the game. The first is the Wading Boots which will allow Kazooie to cross dangerous terrain while in Talon Trot. You will also find the Running Shoes, which will turn Talon Trot into Turbo Talon Trot.

Some items will be tucked in hidden areas that even your camera cannot access, so be sure to search every nook and cranny in the game! This includes underwater.


Find Bottles’ molehills to learn about aspects of each world

You’ll find these molehills throughout the worlds, though the first one you’ll encounter is as soon as you leave the house. Bottles the mole appears and offers a tutorial, which you should engage. Follow his instructions and look for his molehills around the area before you proceed to Gruntilda’s Lair (press B at each molehill). The reason is simple: you’ll find an Extra Honeycomb Piece by fulfilling his commands. That gives you an extra health bar (Honeycomb Energy) before hitting your first world!

In each world, find his molehills and he’ll give you some tips and info on the world. He will generally provide the necessary information for you to proceed, or at least how best to proceed.

Also, the exchanges between Bottles and Kazooie, while juvenile, can be quite entertaining.

Have patience with the controls, particularly while swimming

Swimming underwater can be a pain, but you need that collectible!

While maintaining the N64 version does present a bit of nostalgia, the game is still hampered by a finnicky, sometimes frustrating controls system. You can find yourself just as easily falling off a ledge even though you let go of the stick as you will running in an open field. How the camera functions is not inducive of smooth gameplay as well; always hit R to center the camera behind Banjo and Kazooie for best play.

In particular, swimming underwater might be the most frustrating aspect of the game. While your air meter lasts a good while, Banjo’s movements underwater are too exaggerated to make gathering Musical Notes or Extra Honeycomb Pieces tucked in underwater alcoves difficult to retrieve.

While underwater, it is recommended to use A rather than B to gain finer control over your movements. Still, it will be difficult to navigate yourself underwater with the camera functions and the lack of stability while swimming.

Find Brentilda and jot down her tidbits!

You’ll come across Brentilda, the sister of Gruntilda, after you defeat the first world. Each time you find her, she will provide you with three facts about Gruntilda. These facts include that Gruntilda brushes her “rotten teeth” with either salted slug, moldy cheese, or tuna ice cream; and that Gruntilda’s party trick is either blowing up balloons with her butt, performing a scary striptease, or eating a bucket of beans. Brentilda’s factoids are randomized between three answers.

While these may seem trivial, even gossipy, they play a crucial role after you reach Gruntilda. Gruntilda will force you into “Grunty’s Furnace Fun,” a trivia game show that, you guessed it, is all about Gruntilda. You will be tasked with answering questions correctly or suffering such penalties as losing Honeycomb Energy or restarting the quiz. The information Brentilda tells you are the answers to the questions in “Grunty’s Furnace Fun.” This is why it’s imperative to not only seek Brentilda, but to remember her information!

These tips should help beginners have success in Banjo-Kazooie. Keep an eye out for all of the collectibles and don’t forget to talk to Brentilda!


Bruce L

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