Developer: Humanature Studios
Publisher: Humanature Studios
Price: £15.79 / $19.99
Eshop Page: ToeJam and Earl BITG Steam Page
Available On: PS4, Xbox One, Steam, Nintendo Switch.
So in the spirit of the recent uprising of cult classic revival, HumaNature have taken on and revived the good old 90’s iconic duo of Toejam and Earl and their funky 90’s groove.
Back in the groove takes our crazy-ass hip hop alien duo, along with their girlfriends Latisha and Lawanda, back to the planet Earth to recover the scattered parts of Lamont’s ship after accidentally opening a black hole in space instead of “laying some funk on those earthlings”
Initially, straight from the loading of the game, you are dragged into a wonderful and comically immersive introduction video full of comic book style animations and bright eccentric colours. Followed shortly by the main menu, offering you a multitude of different options to select from, such as rewatching intro videos, game manuals, joining multiplayer sessions or beginning a new local or online game.
At the beginning of the game, it gives you the option of 3 main characters (TJ, Earl and Latisha) along with 1 set of variants for each character and another locked set of variants. Each character comes with their own unique set of stats to offer the player 3 different and immersive play styles. Alongside this, you are offered 3 difficulty levels Toddler, Easy Farty and Normal, although no harder difficulties for the more than casual gamer.
I decided having heard of but not played the original to play through the tutorial first! Although it’s not entirely necessary as the control scheme is pretty basic, you only ever really use your arrow keys plus maybe 4 or 5 others so that part is generally pretty easy to figure out. The game loads you into one of 30 (I believe) randomly generated worlds in the hunt for the prized parts of Lamont’s ship! Having you scavenge the world shaking down trees for money, presents and other items of use.
The presents generally speaking work as almost like an upgrade/power up offering things like the ability tun. Some presents also come in the form of stat upgrades giving you the wonderful luxury of what almost feels like a wheel of fortune style spin to randomly upgrade 3 of your stats alternatively I have currently just found a present that basically a short cut straight to a piece of the ship…..which is kinda unfortunate as my loot-whore nature had been compromised by being dragged past a load of goodies! BUT……luckily if you die (like I did via steaming over the edge of the map in a pair of pretty nifty rocket skates) you return to the original level offering you a chance to go back and re-loot previous areas for pieces you’ve missed.
Some of the power-ups are a little tricky to control initially, such as the mean rocket skates or the spring boots, I’ve genuinely lost count of how many times I’ve thrown myself off the edge of the map trying to use them to get across little gaps and failing miserably!
Almost every action of the game has a somewhat comical feel to it, from the general walking around, running, diving into the ocean or even the good ol’ fashioned dance moves you could probably catch your dad doing!
Each level has a funky little bonus round attached to it as well, it looks like a giant coffin bursting with all sorts of things, it takes the game into a Sonic The Hedgehog style platformer requiring you to run and spin your way through on a time period. You have collectables inside for extra time and XP but it gets pretty hectic real fast and I struggled to keep control.
Looking back on my previous statement regarding the harder difficulty, after an hour or so of gameplay I am starting to feel its pretty unnecessary seeing as though there’s no way to attack enemies, it’s just a simple case of avoiding them at all costs! The game has more of a roam around and loot feel to it! Although it is a very nice and extremely random assortment of enemies to avoid such as cavemen, hula girls, a devil, cupid and even a trio of soldier ducks with a giant egg launching mortar!
There are a small number of in-game achievements for you to collect, making scouring each level a little more desirable for those of you who like to be completionists! Although in all honesty, the levels are pretty simplistic and easy to get through if you aren’t in it to search for absolutely everything.
All in all Back in the groove is a fantastic revival and an admirable game of reminiscence and funkiness! Although I feel the game is rather short-lived (which its completely understandable based on the nature of the game) it also keeps me highly captivated with its quirky music, old school dance moves and beautiful artistry
Check out the trailer below:
The Review Key for this Game was supplied by Stride PR on Behalf of HumaNature Studios, for the purposes of this review.