The long-awaited fourth installment in the ToeJam & Earl series is officially headed to the Nintendo Switch. Called Back in the Groove, the sequel will also be available on Xbox One, PS4, Windows, Linux, and Mac.
The original ToeJam & Earl was released in 1991 for Sega Genesis. It focused on alien rappers who crash-landed on Earth and were just trying to put their spaceship back together. The funky soundtrack, off-beat humor, and randomly generated levels mark ToeJam & Earl as a favorite for many retro gamers.
While the first installment in the series offered only two playable characters, Back in the Groove will have a total of nine, including Earl’s mom.
Like the original, the upcoming installment will feature 25 levels of random worlds, but it will also have an intro mode for newbies and a hard mode for veterans.
ToeJam & Earl: Back in the Groove was featured at PAX East in Boston, and Polygon’s Charlie Hall said it goes “back to the series’ roots” in the best way.
While the 2D play style remains the same, Back in the Groove features much more polished graphics and more interactive gameplay.
“As I walked around the first few levels, I was able to search in the bushes for presents and cash. There was the wise carrot man to help me identify presents, but also a repairman to fix presents that were broken when I picked them up. There were the classic ringing telephones that revealed new portions of the map, little devils running around and bogeymen leaping out of the bushes. But higher levels will have a bigger variety of Earthlings than any game that’s come before.”
Back in the Groove also features several mini games, including an endless runner and a Guitar Hero-style rhythm game.
Though there is no release date yet, devs have said ToeJam & Earl: Back in the Groove is expected to launch this year for Switch, PS4, Xbox One, Windows, Mac, and Linux.