Release Date: 09/10/2003
Available Exclusively On
I’m not a huge Banjo fan. I never was as a kid either. I felt the game was really tedious and easy. The only interesting parts of the game were the platforming and collecting everything, and even that got dull after a while. I personally feel it’s a very much overrated game and is one of the most nostalgia blind games in existence. I tried out Grunty’s Revenge for GBA, and it’s exactly what I expected. An oversimplified version of an already pretty simple game.
The story is mostly nonsense, but Gruntilda has created a robot form of herself and you need to stop her. The end. Yeah, Banjo was never much for the story. I do have the say the yapping voice samples are incredibly annoying and repeat themselves over and over again. It’s some of the most annoying voices I’ve heard in any game. It’s just irritating noises, they don’t even sound like voices. Never mind that though, your goal is to run around collecting Jiggies, musical notes, honeycombs, and various other odds and ends to acquire abilities to gain access to new areas. The levels in this game are fairly small but well designed. I have to say the level design overall here is great and I never got lost thanks to memorable landmarks which are key to a game with no map. You talk to a mole fellow who will grant you a new ability once you have enough notes. I never ran into an issue with this as exploring alone will give you more than enough notes. Abilities range from smacking enemies with your pack to a roll. Once you acquire Kazooie you can get the ability to fire eggs, batteries, a jump glide, and an aerial attack.
I do like how the abilities keep coming and in quick succession. It was satisfying to get back to the hub world and gain access to new abilities such as ladder climbing and diving. Thankfully just exploring on its own saw me collecting and completing 100% of each level with ease. There are boss fights and these are painfully easy and never change. The boss has an electric field around it and you just run around dodging attacks. Once the field is down you can attack. The life counter will go down with each attack and you are rewarded afterward. Enemy encounters are pretty much the same and enemies constantly respawn. Some enemies require more than one hit, but I found it annoying that they would get in the way of a platforming segment after I’ve killed them and only got knocked down to come back around have to kill them again. It was hard to judge depth with some platforms and it would lead to cheap falls.
I do have to say that while the game looks decent the pseudo-3D look makes everything look quite bland. While it’s by no means ugly I never cared for the art style of Banjo. Everything is just green and yellow in this game is it gets old after a while. There are only four large levels and the game can be finished in less than four hours. Thankfully you can save anywhere, and dying doesn’t even reset the area. You just start off at the next closest spot or platform so I didn’t see the point in having a life bar if there were no consequences to dying. The only thing that kept me going was the completionist in me wanting to 100% every level and acquiring the next ability was fun.
Overall, Grunty’s Revenge is a decent isometric platformer, but other games did it better such as Spyro. The visuals are kind of muddy and blurry and a bit hard to see when it comes to platforming, but the levels are designed well. The story is nonsense and there’s zero challenge outside of just the platforming. If you want a short and light-hearted pseudo-3D platformer for your GBA then you can’t go wrong here.