Remember that wacky platformer from the 90s? you played as these two aliens and fought your enemies, the earthlings. Seems like the Alien Duo is making a comeback with the latest entry to the series ToeJam & Earl: Back in the Groove by Video Game Developer HumanNature Studios. While not technically a ‘remake’ of the original 90s game, this is more like Sonic Mania where the core part of the original games was taken and brought to life with new elements and additions.
ToeJam & Earl are two best friends from the planet Funkotron. ToeJam is a red three-legged alien. Earl is a jamming fella, orange in color and fat in appearance, with a very laid-back personality. Oh, and did I forget to mention that he loves to eat?
These alien rapping duos crashed on earth way back in 1991 and fought the ‘earthlings’ to get their spaceship parts back and get it fixed to get away from Earth. The first part was a ‘2.5D’ platformer on the Sega Genesis which was basically a 2D game with an isometric viewpoint.
The sequel to the first game set in the home planet of ToeJam and Earl Funktron, released in 1993, was a side side-scrolling platformer where up to two players could explore the protagonist’s homeworld. You could have a lot of fun with a buddy of your own playing as the two best buds in the game. Jam out the funky beats while cleaning your planet from all pesty earthlings.
Released in 2002 on the Xbox the third addition to the series introduced a new character, Latisha. This time around, the game was 3D Action-Adventure Platformer. You could play with either of the three characters in Single-player or Two-player modes, each character with different abilities and stats. Sitting on a couch playing these types of local coop games with a friend were and still are some of the best fun you can have.
Get Back in the Groove.
The latest entry in the series directed by the original game’s designer, Scott Berfield. The game is similar in gameplay to the very first ToeJam & Earl but with modern elements. You will play the game from a fixed, 2D Isometric viewpoint just as the original. The graphics have also been updated in this cartoon style visuals that looks alright but, It does not quite remind you of the original. The original was in this 90s era 8bit style graphics. In comparison, Sonic Mania has done a better job with reviving the old sonic series look with modern additions, It was on spot.
The gameplay is going to be mostly the same as well, you will search and explore a layer of floating islands to find ship parts hidden through the levels but, instead of just two characters available you have up to 9 characters to play with, each with their own unique stats and abilities, you will have to unlock some them though.
There is a new XP system that lets you level up. With each level up your characters stats increase and improve giving you even more fuel to destroy your worst enemies – the earthlings. Speaking of earthlings, there are more than 50 pesky roaming earthlings now. New ones for our moderns times like the person can’t stop texting and walks ruthlessly over anyone in his path, the Internet Trolls that have the deadliest weapons – SWEAR WORDS.
Have all the fun by yourself, with a friend locally or online. The game supports local and online multiplayer with up to two players locally and four players online. Either rebuild the rocket ship with your friends or enjoy fun mini-games.
For new players wanting to experience what the 90s was like or old players looking to refresh childhood memories, this game seems to hit all the checkmarks at a quick overview. Combining old core elements with new additions that will keep you busy over the weekend. The game has been released on the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC and Mac via Steam today.
All platforms do not support cross-play with each other which is a bummer. With games like Rocket League supporting Crossplay across all platforms, more and more games should go down this route so more users on different platforms can play together. There may be hope for cross-platform support if the game does well and the community demands it but, there is no news of cross-play whatsoever at this time.