L & # 39; original ToeJam & Earl Turns 28 this year. Released for the Sega Genesis in 1991, the roguelike adventure game features two wacky extraterrestrials with great personalities and passionate about bass-heavy funk. The game did not sell very well at the time of release, but its unique aesthetic and humor inspired by the Saturday morning cartoon set it apart from others and helped to give it lasting cult appeal. Unfortunately, all his momentum was torpedoed by a series of unsuccessful suites.
Now, thanks to a $ 500,000 Kickstarter campaign, non-traditional investors and years of extra development, the game's favorite aliens are back. ToeJam & Earl: Back in the throat is remarkable. Fans should expect a modernized version of the original game, a version that expands its format and accumulates a considerable amount of replayability. As a complete package, I think it could be the best entry in the entire series.
Of course, that does not mean it's perfect, but on a market populated by sinister heroes and dark violence, Back in the throat is a concentrated dose of joy. This is the rare game that the whole family enjoys easily. This alone makes him worthy of praise.
In the fiction of Back in the throatToeJam and Earl left for a ride with their friends Latisha and Lewanda when they accidentally destroyed Planet Earth with a black hole generator. The resulting explosion digests our original planet, transforming it into a series of flat land masses and strange shapes stacked on top of each other. In order to return to their home planet, Funkotron, the aliens must navigate in a hostile environment while collecting scattered pieces of their broken spacecraft.
The many Earthlings of the game stand in the way of research, from classic devils wielding the fork to crazy dentists, to crazy dentists, to much more modern threats. Among the new enemies of the game are the guard Segway, who tries to knock me off the top of a two-wheeled scooter, and the Internet troll, who launches insults that mix my control pattern for a short time but eventually run away when they are confronted.
Taken individually, Back in the throatThe enemies are interesting curiosities with which it is very amusing to play. In mass, however, they can turn levels into a kind of hell. The effect is amplified in the final stages of the game, when more powerful versions of enemies begin to appear. Completing an analysis requires patience and careful planning.
It also requires storing gifts, as in the original.
To go from one level to another, you have to use the bonuses, which appear as semi-random drops throughout the world. Gifts can simply be laid on the floor or hidden in pieces of landscape. They include classics like Slingshots, which I can use to cast tomatoes ashore until they appear, and Icarus Wings, which allow me to take in air and steal from them. one end to the other of the level. The new giveaways include a rather scatological gas cloud, which causes the dispersal of enemies, and an earthly disguise that allows me to go unnoticed among groups of enemies.
As in the original game, you do not know what's in a gift before opening it. The key is to collect enough money to pay for the carrot – shaped Wise Man Earthling to identify the gifts for you before opening them. Otherwise, you run the risk of accidentally opening a Randomize gift, which would change the identity of each secret package of the game, could cause you to lose hours of work and block the last levels.
Fans of the original game will be delighted to know that the variety of Earthlings and the gifts themselves are well worth the admission price. In addition to this, the HumaNature Studios developers have added a new upgrade system based on statistics. Each of the six starting characters in the game has a different initial stats game, which changes randomly during the game. The changes are not dramatic, but tend to add subtlety to many parts.
Beyond that, honestly, there is not much that differentiates the instant gameplay from Back in the throat from the original 1991. There is interest in continuing to explore each map in the form of parking meters and buttons. If you feed the player or press the button, a long string of interactive items will begin to appear, with a random bonus at the end of each. Sometimes it's a door to the Hyperfunk Zone, a timed two-dimensional bonus level that distributes money and presents. On other occasions, feeding the meter opens a rhythmic game of Guitar Hero style. These two mini-games are fun, but there is virtually nothing for what to write at home.
What the game lacks variety is offset by a replayability improved by tons of unlocking. By the casual game, I start to find unusual gifts and higher rank. The use of these gifts adds them to my spare available for the next game, which means that the more options I enjoy, the more I will play. A successful race to Funkotron also allows me to open other playable characters, for a total of nine. My favorite is Flo, Earl's mother, who is able to share more of her life bar with other players to help them stay alive.
L & # 39; original ToeJam & Earl has been highly regarded as an excellent sofa co-op experience. Back in the throat doubles this feature, expanding the multiplayer mode to four in total with the network game. But that's where some of the game's weaknesses begin to appear.
At the hour Back in the throat struggle with his sense of visual scale. The distance from the camera may seem restrictive, especially since some enemies of the game are just too big for their good. With five or more of them in the same small area, it can be difficult to understand what is happening. When the part of the screen you are watching is reduced in two player mode, it is easy to die just because you can not see the dangers you are running. Multiplayer games therefore consist of staying together to maximize visibility.
What offers is the ability to turn multiplayer sessions into guided tours led by more experienced players. This, with an E10 + rating, makes Back in the throat an excellent game for the whole family. Once I fixed the problem, I had no problem putting a controller in the hands of my 5 year old daughter and leaving her sticker. If she clashed with an enemy, I could even join her and press a button to score the fifth goal by sharing some of my life bar with her.
Be warned, however, that the game is a bit short. Qualified players should be able to complete everything in just a few hours. At the same time, it's refreshing to actually see the end of a match, to feel that I have completed a journey rather than to participate in a story that never ends.
And what an end it is. Just like the original, it brought me back to Funkotron for an alien dance party. Before the credits, fans are fully enjoying the excellent work of Cody Wright on the electric bass. His style reflects the high intensity of the original soundtrack of the original game while turning it into something quite unique.
There have been times when I had the impression of playing the same game as when I was 11 years old. But the look was just a little more sumptuous and the funky bass line was arranged quite differently. Back in the throat is the perfect blend of polish and nostalgia, and I can not wait to play again.
ToeJam & Earl: Back in the throat will be available on March 1st on Mac, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One. The game was reviewed on a Windows PC using a final "retail" download code provided by HumaNature Studios. You can find additional information about Polygon's Ethics Policy. right here.