I remember the good ol’ days of the 90’s and the Sega Genesis. One of the most talked about titles for the console was ToeJam & Earl, a crazy game starring two aliens and their love for hip-hop who were just trying to find a way back home. It wasn’t long before a sequel came along, but now here we are some two decades later with HumaNature Studios bringing us ToeJam & Earl: Back in the Groove!. Old school fans will find their groove here while newcomers easily fit into the funky mix.
Almost coming off as a remake of the original game, the plot has our two alien heroes once again crash landing on Earth, scattering your funky fresh ride into pieces. It falls on you to travel the lands in search of the missing parts to your ship while cranking some fresh, dope beats along the way. This will prove to be a nice challenge for the duo, as both humans and aliens tend to get in the way of their search, from people wanting take pictures of our heroes and getting them to fill out surveys, to monsters knocking you all over the place, there’s always a crazy problem to overcome.
Thankfully you’ll come across items that will help you in your quest, as our alien buddies are not fighters, but lovers of hip-hop. So you’ll want to pick up the random power-ups that come along as you constantly walk and run through the levels, such as speed skates to zip by obstacles, to some good ol’ fashioned tomatoes to keep baddies at bay (though watch out for the one enemy that has a Segway-like ride with a windshield to block tomatoes). There’s also a slight RPG element here as you earn XP by clearing levels, finding items and pieces of your ship, and such. You can use these points to increase your luck, health and your speed. Sadly this falls on RNG to randomly place a point in any of those stats, so may luck be in your favor.
Those who remember the original will be happy to know two player co-op is back, but not without issues. Local co-op is the best way to go, as you and a friend can play and stick close to make your way through levels. Online co-op is a bit of a mess as anyone can drop in or out, which tends to throw off your gameplay when it comes to sticking together and communicating with random people to clear a level. At least you’re able to enjoy some funky fresh, colorful graphics and some thumping tunes as you play, as both are sure to pull people into the game and keep them dancing until the end.
Fans will love ToeJam & Earl: Back in the Groove! while those new to the scene will find themselves digging the simple but tough gameplay, cool graphics, and of course block-rockin tunes as they guide our alien heroes home. Despite some hiccups with the online play, and some technical issues (sometimes a game breaking glitch will occur, such as a needed item not showing up), there’s still plenty of funky fun to be had that’s sure to lock you in the groove.