ToeJam & Earl are back in another adventure from the original creator of the franchise. ToeJam and Earl: Back in the Groove was published and developed by HumanNature Studios, and released on Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One, and the PC on March 1st, 2019. ToeJam & Earl: Back in the Groove can be considered a remake as it plays very similar to the original, and that is a good thing.
HumanNature Studios was founded by Greg Johnson, the original creator of the ToeJam & Earl series. In March of 2015, HumanNature Studios successfully crowdfunded another game in the ToeJam & Earl series.
ToeJam & Earl: Back in the groove plays homage to its roots. It is a sequel, yet acts a bit like a remake. ToeJam & Earl once again crash land on Earth, but this time they brought friends with them. The game allows for up to four players cooperatively either locally or online. And there are more than just two characters to pick from this time, featuring a total of nine characters to play as. Each character has their own stats and pros and cons. Just like the original, ToeJam & Earl: Back in the Groove has many levels in which you’ll have to find a piece of their crashed ship or find an elevator to reach the next level. Along the way, many weird and odd earthlings will try to harm you. But this time there is a lot of new friendlier earthlings that will aid you as long as you have the money to spend.
One big new difference I noticed in this edition is the fact that you can now search for things. You can shake trees, shrubs, even houses to find items hidden in them. If you have the cash one of the new friendly characters will create an area effect to shake all the items out of their hiding places. A Present will also do this as well. Yes, presents or gifts are back in ToeJam & Earl: Back in the Groove and they are random every time you play. You’ll need that crazy guy who dresses in a carrot suit to identify them. He can also be used to upgrade your level. If you reach enough XP to level up, you don’t do so automatically anymore, this time you have to seek out that Carrot Dude and he will upgrade you to the next level. Level upgrades will randomly boost your stats and give you a random reward.
The soundtrack to ToeJam & Earl: Back in the Groove still has the funk, as it did back in 1991. The soundtrack was always one of the highlights of a ToeJam & Earl game and this entry doesn’t disappoint. It is as funky and fresh as ever and helps keep the game moving forward. Listening to the soundtrack as you treck your way through a level or ride an elevator to the next level is always a delight.
Once you find all the pieces of your ship, the game ends and ToeJam & Earl can fly back to their home planet, Funkotron. You can unlock a random mode after playing ten levels of the fixed singleplayer campaign. This mode will randomize the maps and which levels have a ship piece them. Allowing an almost endless amount of gameplay.
HumanNature Studios did an excellent job bringing ToeJam & Earl back in 2019. I am so very glad they stuck to the original formula too. Doing so allowed the original game to shine again, but with a modern make-over. Playing ToeJam & Earl: Back in the Groove definitely brought back memories of my childhood playing the original. Whether you never played a ToeJam & Earl game or a fan of the series, ToeJam & Earl: Back in the Groove is well worth picking up, even if it’s just for the nostalgia feeling.