Often adults, particularly the nerdiest amongst us, possess an unflagging love for an entertainment franchise that defined their childhood. Star Wars. The Lord of the Rings. Jem and the Holograms. My heart, for example, belongs to ToeJam and Earl, an all but forgotten roguelike for the Sega Genesis that starred the two aliens with a love for hip-hop and funk.
For better and worse, movie studios and retailers haven’t spent the last two decades rebooting, retooling, and reincarnating my favorite childhood property, as they have with bigger brands. So, I’ve had few new reasons to return to ToeJam and Earl, barring a middling threequel on the original Xbox and the occasional rerelease. And so I am, to say the very least, enthusiastic about the upcoming and long overdue fourth game in the series, ToeJam and Earl: Back in the Groove.
The first footage of the game, above, confirms this entry will return to the style of the original game. The music, the space-jumping elevator, the mini-map: in 35 seconds, the trailer drills deeply into my well of nostalgia, which has had decades to fill with anticipation.
But will the game be good? Is the formula relevant after all this time? I hope, obviously! I certainly believe that the original’s design was ahead of its time, and will fit more comfortably in 2016, a time in the gaming community in which the once niche roguelike genre has become surprisingly chique.
ToeJam and Earl: Back in the Groove will be available on consoles and PC in 2017; in the meantime you can play the original ToeJam and Earl on Steam.