ToeJam & Earl made its first splash into the world in 1991 on the Sega Genesis and was really in a genre of its own. The funky soundtrack and the hipster aliens that you take control of really hit a note with me and made me a fan almost instantaneously.
Flash forward 28 years and two sequels later we have HumaNature Studios soon to release ToeJam & Earl: Back in the Groove across all platforms including our beloved Switch which is the version we will be covering in this review.
Our favorite cosmic duo are in a bit of trouble after crashing their ship, Rapmaster Rocketship, and unfortunately scattering it’s parts across Earth. This is where you come in! Taking control of one of our hip aliens you are tasked with going through each of the 25 levels trying to locate each of the 12 pieces in order to put the ship back together to escape our “hostile” planet.
While venturing through the levels you will be faced with various enemies (some of which you will remember) such as hula girls, devils, and more. You will have to keep your energy up by eating various treats but be warned, there are rotten treats that will harm you rather than help you. Along the way, you will have to explore each area by shaking trees and well…just about anything you can shake to find extra items like presents that contain items that will help you out in sticky situations. However, sometimes these presents will be broken which is where money will come into play.
Earning money is a slow drip at first but with it you can repair your presents and also purchase help from ally characters. You can also use money to play mini-games of sorts that will net you more money in which to spend. The items vary in abilities like for instance shoes that will allow you to jump across platforms or a float that will allow you to float across water. Finding helpful items is a bit simplified with the help of a search feature which is used by pressing the “Y” button. This sends out a pulse wave and if anything within the vicinity wiggles it contains something you can obtain.
Being a fan of the originals, you will surely appreciate the artistic approach they took this time around. Trying to stay true to the original and maintain that “funkiness” that we all remember it seems that they have certainly pulled it off in staying true to form. The art direction actually seems a bit like Beavis & Butthead from the 90’s (remember that?). The soundtrack is spectacular as well, harkening back to the same vibes of the beloved classic with slap bass riffs and old school hip beats.
I have been playing the game for nearly a month now and can say that not much was changed up for this iteration as it preserves the original formula used in 1991 and truly feels like the first game with some shiny, new paint.
Will this title hold up well with newcomers to the series? Well that depends on if you can accept it for what it is and not what you want it to be. The series has never really been about intricate level design or top-notch aesthetics. It was always meant to be a bit of zany, a bit of crazy, a lot of hip, a great deal of uniqueness, and fun. If you can accept that this game was really more for existing fans of the originals and go in with that mindset then you will be just fine.
Will you like the game if you liked the originals? Absolutely. Back in the Groove stays true to what we all know and love and ultimately you will pleased with how HumaNature Studios stayed so close to the original formula while somehow managing to make it feel fresh. This game is most certainly groovin’ dude!
ToeJam & Earl: Back in the Groove will be released tomorrow, March 1. You can pre-purchase it on the Switch eShop for $19.99.
Nintendo Playroom would like to thank HumaNature Studios for supplying us with a review copy of ToeJam & Earl: Back in the Groove for this review!
Do you plan on picking up the game tomorrow? Are you a fan of the originals or a newcomer to the series? Drop us a comment below and stick around and visit us in our Community forums!
SourceCode, aka Lucas Hughes, is the creator/owner of Nintendo Playroom. He spends his days primarily as a husband/father/programmer/gamer. He loves all things Nintendo and is very passionate about the Nintendo community.