ToeJam and Earl: Back in the Groove is here! But… unfortunately, it’s a tragic effort at trying to stay relevant. I remember playing Funkatron when I was a kid and having great fun. Even though there were definitely some ‘dope’ elements to the game, overall it was, sadly, just a bore.
The story is set when ToeJam and Earl decide to borrow (steal) a ship and fly to Earth. Of course, they take their two lady friends with them and share some sleazy banter with on the journey. I have to admit that the humour was a cross between Keenan and Kel and a late night show on some “PayPerView” channel.
I began to realise why I found it so funny back in my Megadrive days; Due to an unfortunate pressing of a red button they crash-land – end up in a tumble dryer – and some other weird and trippy bits, then finally land. Realising they have to sort the ship out as it was destroyed, the adventure begins. Apart from the odd good gag, the story line is just ludicrously weak and really didn’t get me involved. Then again, so were games like Sonic The Hedgehog and I used to play that for hours, so I continued to realise why this may have been a favourite back in the day.
ToeJam and Earl: Back in the Groove offers a fair variety of modes including being able to play in coach co-op, online co-op and a mixture of different characters – well ToeJam, Earl and seven other random ones. The problem I really had with the game is the gameplay: There really was nothing to it. You ran around a little, played a funky song, danced a little, opened some presents… I just felt like nothing was really happening. After a few minutes, I was bored of running around and getting involved in psychedelic doorways and not having a clue what was going on.
The graphics resembled the old Megadrive graphics with sharper textures and a good palette of colours. That was one area I enjoyed and was grateful that they stuck to their old roots and didn’t try to upscale them and perform a shoddy job. As well as this, the funky jazz-like music shone throughout and – even though it didn’t appeal to my taste – I did find myself bopping my head along a times.
The biggest downfall to this game is how I just didn’t find it very fun. I appreciate that this game will probably appeal to some, and if I was a 19-year-old stoner, I may have been caught up in the trip. Alas, I am not. I am a 33 year old Dad who just – no matter how hard he tried – couldn’t fall in love with the game.
ToeJam and Earl: Back in the Groove is out now on PS4, Xbox One, PC and Nintendo Switch, all from their respective online stores.
- Developer: 4A Games
- Publisher: Deep Silver
- Players: Single-player only
I have been a video game player since 1993 and a music fan since I can remember. I studied Film and Journalism at university and ended up becoming a Primary School teacher. Video games changed my life and sent me on the right track and have stayed with me ever since.