ToeJam and Earl: Back in the Groove
If there’s a dynamic duo stranger than best buds ToeJam and Earl, tell me. These guys have what it takes to be the next Batman and Robin. Actually, maybe not. They’d break Gotham.
ToeJam and Earl: Back in the Groove is an adventure game. I don’t consider it to be an action/adventure game, just adventure. This game is about exploring, and having weird stuff happen. ToeJam’s biggest fan chasing after you, Cupid confusing you, literal devils, Earth is a strange place. That won’t stop ToeJam and friends from getting their spaceship parts!
I don’t think I’ve played any game like ToeJam and Earl: Back in the Groove. Most adventure games have some sort of combat in them, but ToeJam cannot punch anything. Well, he can high-five his buddy but that’s it. You may ask, “what kind of game is this?!” I don’t have an answer. ToeJam and Earl is a wonderfully weird game, but for a modern audience, the game’s not perfect.
The game’s focus on exploration rather than combat will make it accessible to some, but boring for many. As someone who wasn’t old enough to enjoy ToeJam and Earl on the Genesis, I was playing the game with little knowledge of the game. I really appreciated the combat-less game, but it became repetitive and boring.
The success of each run depends on which presents your character gets. Presents spice up the gameplay. For example, you can get running shoes, rocket shoes, springy shoes (what’s with all the shoes) or even an inner tube. Each level will have different ways to use them, so hopefully your run goes well.
There are pre-made worlds and random worlds. Random worlds are hard. Pre-made worlds are more fun. Then again, they tend to be. The regular worlds were challenging enough but the random ones gave me a real hard time. Random co-op is fun, but ToeJam is at his best when he’s in a pre-made campaign.
There’s even multiplayer in ToeJam and Earl, with two for splitscreen and four online. Multiplayer (I played local) is a fun experience. My only wish is that you could play with four people on splitscreen. There aren’t too many four player co-op games that are as accessible and goofy as ToeJam and Earl.
I especially loved the interaction between characters and enemies in ToeJam and Earl. The enemies will do more than just eat away at your health, some will make you dance, change controls, stun you, or give you presents. Each of the NPC’s are hilarious in design, and have different purposes such as leveling up and trading presents. I loved ToeJam and Earl’s world, or, their other world!
Music and art direction in ToeJam is jammin’! The tunes are actually really good. But the art is hilarious. So many wacky things, characters, and more. The music sounds very 90’s like and has a good hip hop vibe going for it. The art looks straight out of the 90’s, while still looking modern. I enjoyed the artistic side of ToeJam and Earl.
ToeJam and Earl: Back in the Groove may not be for everyone. For those who played the originals, the game is definitely worth your cash. For those looking for a fun co-op experience, ToeJam is a good choice. But for $20, a slightly repetitive adventure game that may not appeal to everyone seems just a little much for those unsure. For that, I recommend ToeJam and Earl: Back in the Groove. I had a fun time playing it, just not a blast.
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Reviewed by Jack Bankhead on the Nintendo Switch. Game provided by HumaNature Studios.