ToeJam & Earl: Back in the Groove Image
Metascore
76

Generally favorable reviews - based on 20 Critics What's this?

User Score
4.8

Generally unfavorable reviews- based on 95 Ratings

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  • Summary: ToeJam and Earl have crash-landed back on Earth in ToeJam & Earl: Back in the Groove!, a funky fresh roguelike adventure infused with old skool hip-hop and jam packed with awesome throwbacks to the 1991 classic. Original Funk Lord (and co-creator) Greg Johnson is back at the helm with theToeJam and Earl have crash-landed back on Earth in ToeJam & Earl: Back in the Groove!, a funky fresh roguelike adventure infused with old skool hip-hop and jam packed with awesome throwbacks to the 1991 classic. Original Funk Lord (and co-creator) Greg Johnson is back at the helm with the sequel that ToeJam and Earl fans have been waiting for. Expand

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ToeJam & Earl: Back In The Groove . -Launch Trailer
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 20
  2. Negative: 0 out of 20
  1. Feb 28, 2019
    100
    Even if you don’t have an ounce of affinity for the first game, or weren’t around to experience it to begin with, ToeJam & Earl: Back in the Groove still comes together as a modern roguelike that everyone can enjoy.
  2. 90
    After years of relative obscurity, ToeJam & Earl is back in a big way. Back in the Groove likely won’t push the franchise beyond its cult status, but it is a good game that fans both old and new should check out. Pick up and play this one with a friend for the best experience.
  3. 85
    Despite some apprehensive dalliances with repetition, I loved ToeJam & Earl: Back in the Groove. The sublime style drips with funk, and the cadence of roaming through floors using my presents to try to avoid failure and find my ship parts is one that made for a charming experience. It didn’t matter if I saw some of the same things several times over my multiple playthroughs. The whole thing is spectacularly goofy and weird, even if I eventually do figure out why the hell the yeti has a pencil.
  4. Feb 28, 2019
    80
    ToeJam & Earl: Back in the Groove is a literal return-to-form for the series, and longtime fans should be happy about that. While it might not be a hardcore roguelike or fully integrate its more modern design choices, it does exactly what it sets out to do: give players a true sequel to the original Genesis classic. It’s hard to say how far this formula could have come in 28 years if the series hadn’t taken detours into other genres, but for now I’m just happy that it’s gone back to its roots.
  5. Mar 24, 2019
    70
    I do wish the time-honored gameplay was offset a bit more by balanced, polished, and tighter design at times. But if you’re “ready for a blast of funky nostalgia” the sense of déja vu that comes from familiar fun won’t be a negative.
  6. Mar 4, 2019
    65
    ToeJam & Earl: Back in the Groove just feels like more of the original game sprinkled with some modern-day trimmings (rogue-lite progression, for example) that feel like an afterthought.
  7. 50
    Back in the Groove might satisfy series fans that just want some new toys to play with, but the sluggish speed and obtuse design of the dated original remains.

See all 20 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 6
  2. Negative: 0 out of 6
  1. Mar 1, 2019
    10
    This is a game aimed squarely at fans of the 1991 original, with little concern for broadening that audience. There's a lot of merit to thatThis is a game aimed squarely at fans of the 1991 original, with little concern for broadening that audience. There's a lot of merit to that -- we've had two sequels that attempted to reconcile the franchise with contemporary game design to diminishing result, and this one aims to punch a big, red "RESET" button on the franchise and give those tried and true fans of the original the proper follow-up they've always wanted.

    Although this is a sequel, set after (and featuring characters from) the later games, it really feels like a reboot, and if you ignored the slightly different opening, you could even pass it off for a remake. There are a ton of new gameplay features, enemies, power ups, and mechanics, but the fundamental concept is almost identical to the original. You'll explore 25 randomly generated levels, stacked on top of each other, looking for 10 lost piece to TJ&E's ship, while avoiding enemies. It's one of the earliest non-traditional roguelikes, breaking out of the grid-based, turn-based design for something more organic and less combat-foucsed. That might not seem as revolutionary now, but it was at the time and there still hasn't been anything quite like it in the intervening years.

    This is certainly not a game for everyone. It's slow, there's very little combat, and you can beat the game in under two hours. Those who never understood the original won't be persuaded by this one. But it's long overdue -- and still one of the best couch co-op games around.
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  2. Mar 7, 2019
    10
    My previous review I turn back. ToeJam & Earl: Back in the Groove is a thrill. A completely revamped version of the original ToeJam & EarlMy previous review I turn back. ToeJam & Earl: Back in the Groove is a thrill. A completely revamped version of the original ToeJam & Earl (1991) - Complete with new features and adjustments to guarantee a fun experience.

    Edit: Bugs have been heavily tackled by this team and not ignored.
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  3. Mar 2, 2019
    10
    I never played the original Toejam and Earl, but find this one to be very fun and mesmerizing. The world created in Toejam and Earl reallyI never played the original Toejam and Earl, but find this one to be very fun and mesmerizing. The world created in Toejam and Earl really feels magical and sticks with you outside of the game realm. This game is the most fun I've had playing a video game ever. Expand
  4. Mar 3, 2019
    10
    This game is a co-op dungeon crawler. The goal is to locate spaceship pieces to get back home to funkatron. It's a unique experience, you'llThis game is a co-op dungeon crawler. The goal is to locate spaceship pieces to get back home to funkatron. It's a unique experience, you'll ascend randomly generated levels which puts the whole delving deep into a dungeon on its head. To aid you, find presents just like magical scrolls which can overcome obstacles. To identify them, instead of finding deckard cain you'll need to locate a carrot man. It's bold, loud and a bit bizarre and that gives it a charm.

    It a laid back co-op game and perfect for couch play with split screen or over the internet with up to 4 players. Progress can be saved but once you die your save is wiped so the experience can be pretty brutal and very satisfying to complete it.
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  5. Mar 7, 2019
    7
    It's not a game for everyone and it's definitely not a game of action. It's about sneaking, searching and patience most of the game you willIt's not a game for everyone and it's definitely not a game of action. It's about sneaking, searching and patience most of the game you will be searching the map for presents and money while dodging, hiding or getting rid of the earthlings in your way.

    You do this be collecting presents each present will do something different and you won't know what until you either take the risk and open one to find out or find the Wiseman and pay him $2 to identify what's inside.

    Each level consists of you uncovering map pieces to get XP as well as find the elevator and ship pieces hidden around the map. When you open presents you also get XP when you get enough you can visit the wiseman to get a promotion which gives you more stats you get 3 stats per promotion and it's completely random which ones you will get.

    When you reach the elevator on the level you go up to the next level if you fall off the edge of a level you go back down to the previous level and have to get in the elevator to go back up.

    Amped presents is new in this when a present is amped it gets double the power of what the present did meaning icarus wings and other powerups last longer, tomatoes instant pop an earthling and presents that did one thing now do two. You can even find presents that amp your other presents finding these and what to use them on is key to surviving.

    Another thing that is new or not new returns from previous game is the funk dimension. When you see a door with a portal on it jump in and prepare for a wild ride. This mini games plays like a runner you are constantly moving forward you can collect money and XP while avoiding the walls and exits.

    While your searching the maps your going to run into many earthlings and when they see you they will chase you. Depending what earthling it is will depend what happens if they get you, most will make you lose health, other will annoy you like the hula girl some will instant kill you.

    There are several presents you can use to POP earthlings most of tomatoes that you can throw at them or use a slingshot there's also tomoato rain which rains down tomatoes near you can hit any earthling around you. But knowing when to use this is the key to surviving the higher levels. dodge earthlings by hiding in sunflowers, jumping in water or staying on the ice. As soon as you hide in a sunflower any earthling that was chasing you will stop the same happens if you jump into water (except the shark he can get you) and if your on the ice earthlings can NEVER get you except the ones that can fly.

    Once you get all the ship pieces you fly back to funkatron where lamont will give you a hat which you can use in levels however i ended up disabling these I'll explain later. You can also unlock a new character you can use next time to play most of them are pretty weak though compared to OS toejam and by the way you only unlock these if you play on normal difficulty.

    It's a nice remake i don't mind the graphics even though some people say they are too childish what did annoy me was most of the unlockables are weak and the hats are more trouble than they are worth. You can't select what hat you want to wear on a level it's completely random and most of the hats have crappy bonuses others are downright dangerous like the fire hat using this hat is bad especially when it comes to trying to sneak around or get too close to the edge of the map all of a sudden your jumping off the edge! In the end i just plain disabled all hats and didn't use them I never needed them anyway.
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  6. Mar 7, 2019
    7
    Massive fan of the original. Played it co-op many times over with my big sister. This remake does successfully recreate the fun personality,Massive fan of the original. Played it co-op many times over with my big sister. This remake does successfully recreate the fun personality, features and systems of the original game, but is not as playable or as well-made. The original game had two invisible, excellent, features - a slower, deliberate pace, and plenty of visual breathing room. In this remake everything slides around fast and loose, clamoring to overlap and occupy more of the screen, ruining what made the original so approachable. New features have been added - new biomes, day/night, a stats system and a bigger variety of presents & unlockables add replayability, but the *core game* - the control response, movement, field of view, scale and readability of the enemies' (for dodging), the 'stealth' and 'combat' (sneaking and tomatoes) -- all of these things were great in the original but here they are a hot mess, lively at best but utterly frustrating and unplayable on the harder difficulties. Example - random generation places important objects directly atop eachother - impossible to see clearly and interact deliberately. Most enemy characters are oversized compared to your viewing area, they move fast and their sprites flail around so wildly you can't read and judge their collision area so as to negotiate dangerous situations - late in the game there'll be literally entire screens filled with oversize enemies flailing wildly and you can't hope to see what's coming and avoid it, and don't rely on tomatoes or a slingshot because they aren't easy to aim or satisfying to use. Sure it's a game about funky personalities and weird popculture gags, but the core mechanics have been slapped together with minor consideration for what made the original game so playable underneath it all. It's a damn shame that so many good new ideas have been piled atop a shoddy remake of the core mechanics. This game gets lots of new things right but screwed up what made the original so playable and satisfying. Tons of personality, lacking in basic playability. Expand