That’s right! After seventeen years away, the old-school alien duo from the planet Funkotron has returned.

Crowdfunded through Kickstarter back in 2015, ToeJam & Earl: Back in the Groove is the fourth game in the series and the first to be independently published. Fans of the original 1991 Sega Genesis classic have no doubt been rejoicing, as Back in the Groove plays like the first game but with plenty of tweaks, surprises, and improvements.

Our heroes find themselves tangling with the crazy denizens of Earth once again, but they have plenty of friends and gift- wrapped presents to help them this time around. Back in the Groove features co-op with up to four-players and nine playable characters. After factoring in the randomly-generated levels and the sometimes unpredictable effects of presents, the game is a chaotic but fun experience like the original game.

In December 2018, I reached out to Back in the Groove’s developer and publisher—HumanNature Studios—with some questions about the game. The man who provided the answers was none other than Greg Johnson—co-creator of ToeJam & Earl and HumanNature Studios’ CEO.

OSG: The last ToeJam & Earl game came out in 2002. What inspired you to revisit the characters again after so long?

GJ: I have been wanting to revisit Toejam and Earl eversince [ToeJam & Earl III: Mission to Earth]. As you may have heard, that sequel started out as a spiritual sequel to [the original game], but then we had to change direction based on requirements from our publisher, so I never really got to make the sequel that I wanted to. I have been looking for an opportunity to do that since then, and with the advent of Kickstarter, and a growing interest in retro games, it seemed like I might finally have a chance. TJ&E fans have been waiting a long time for this one.

 

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Conor McBrien Conor McBrien (10 Posts)

Conor was hooked on gaming as soon as someone handed him a Game Boy and a copy of Tetris in the mid-90s. His first console game was Donkey Kong Country for SNES, which made him a devout Donkey Kong fan. He has taken his hobby with him everywhere he's gone, from his home state of Illinois to Florida, from the University of Iowa to Upstate New York. While in college, Conor wrote game reviews for The Daily Iowan. Much more recently, he started writing Game Grappler--a blog where he wrestles with assorted gaming topics, including the preservation of video games, odd characters, and game analysis.