Monday 1 April 2019

ToeJam & Earl: Back in the Groove ★★★☆☆

Another Kickstarter, another Unity project feeding off the nostalgia of days past. This time aiming for the hearts of the Mega Drive kids and it hits the Mega Drive vibes quite well. In an attempt to impress two girls,  ToeJam and Earl "borrow" someone's spaceship, to show the girls the universe... and Earth for some reason. Guess they wanted to see something volatile. Earl presses the black hole button and blows both the Earth and the spaceship to pieces. It's then down to the funky duo to find all the missing parts of the ship, that have been scattered across multiple isometric, floating levels. There are no intentions to fix the Earth, guess they figure it was already doomed, to begin with.

As you start a game you can choose if you'd like the levels to appear the same way each time or have them randomly generated. This adds a whole lot of replayability to the game as it's not really very long but that's also not a bad thing. Toejam and Earl is intended to be played multiple times and you unlock a new character after each playthrough. There are nine characters in total and it's playable with up to four people at once, online or locally. The game is fairly slow paced as you explore all the corners of each map, trying to find the elevator to the next one, and search for the missing spaceship parts. To help out along the way you find mystery presents. This mostly comes down to lots of experimenting with them, to find out what they are and what each one does. You have no idea until you open them. Although you can mostly get by without them and I found the majority of them set me back more than actually helped out. 

Just like in real life, humans are the enemy. Generally just playing the role of a nuisance and getting in Tj&E's way. Humans come in a variety of annoyances, from ice-cream men, Fbi agents, fanboys wanting pictures and people walking around absent-mindedly with their face glued to their phone screen. Thankfully they're all really easy to avoid as once you interact with anything, within the game world, they instantly forget you exist. Go push a button, knock on a house or jump in (and immediately back out of) water they'll leave you alone. As you'd expect from a funkified game, the soundtrack is mostly on point and sounds like bad 70’s porn at worst but does become repetitive quite fast.

As long as you go in not expecting anything more than a Mega Drive game, ToeJam & Earl is a nice short and enjoyable couple of hours. Just throw it on now and then, when a friend's over and you just want to chill and play some games... and you can't find your Tekken disc.
I have no idea who owns the rights, but new Comix Zone next, please.

Bry Wyatt

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