ToeJam & Earl Back in the Groove Review

Rocket skates!

Audio/Visual: 45/50

The original game was presented in a ¾ birdseye isometric view and that viewpoint and angle return here. This viewstyle pairs perfectly with the exploration mechanic of the game because it provides you with a fairly large view of the current level you’re on. My only slight complaint here is that the mini-map is a bit too mini when played in handheld mode — but it doesn’t take away much from the game.

Handles/Feels: 38/50

The controls work well for what they need to do. You could still play this game with just a three button Sega Genesis controller: one button to view your items, one button to use your item, and one button to view the map. Moving around the levels can sometimes feel a little slow to respond which can be an annoyance when you’re surrounded by enemies. Aiming the shooting/throwing weapons can also be frustrating because while you can only aim in 9 directions the enemies can move and chase you from any direction. There are a few times when the gameplay stutters especially if there is too much going on the screen or you are transitioning from one level to another.

Overall: 83/100

ToeJam & Earl Back in the Groove is a great evolution of the game series and I hope we get more — either in a sequel or DLC. The sights and sounds of ToeJam & Earl Back in the Groove perfectly fit with the style and theme. The bright popping cartoon look and silly music and sound transport you back to a Saturday morning early-90’s hip-hop cartoon that unfortunately never existed. However, overall the game feels a bit like a mini-game rather than a full game. The $20 price tag on the Nintendo eShop reflects this and should make you feel better about this lack of depth though. If you’re looking for a nostalgia trip or just a quick, fun pick-up-and-play game for yourself and your friends you should definitely grab Back in the Groove.



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