ToeJam & Earl is the latest of several classic old-school titles to get a sequel via Kickstarter funding.
Yes, you read that right. Everyone’s beloved extraterrestrial hip-hop duo will be making a return on the PC, assuming that it achieves its $400,000 Kickstarter goal.
The project is headed by Greg Johnson, the lead designer of the original T&E games back in the early 1990s, and a tiny team of two artists and one programmer.
As Johnson explains in his pitch video, him and his team had tried several times back in the day to make another T&E game in the style of the first, most well-received 1991 game. Unfortunately, interference from publisher Sega would always wreck their plans, resulting in two T&E titles, Panic on Funkotron and Mission to Earth, that strayed from the classic top-down perspective that fans wanted.
“[Sega] thought the style was too old school, so we deviated and the fans were disappointed,” Johnson explains, “Well now it’s time to finally make that true sequel. The one we wanted to make back then. And guess what? This time, no publisher!”
As promised, this new T&E sequel, titled ToeJam and Earl: Back in the Groove, will return to the first game’s top-down rogue-like gameplay with randomly generated levels, and will introduce several new features. These include 4-player co-op, both online and split screen, hybrid 3D and 2D graphics, experience points that can be used to customize one’s character, and an origin-story comic book.
Of course, this being a ToeJam & Earl title, there’ll also be loads and loads of funky tunes to bop to.
There is some consternation from the community over Back in the Groove‘s distinct art style, which has 2D sprite characters in a 3D environment. This, combined with the game’s top-down perspective, makes the characters and objects look like literal cardboard cutouts placed in a realistic 3D world. In spite of this, however, the game has already received $94,757 in funding just a day into its month-long drive.
The original ToeJam & Earl had players assume the roles of the two titular alien characters, who crash land on Earth while on the way back to their home planet, Funkotron. Stuck in a strange land with over-the-top satires of human society, the duo must recover the various pieces of their ship so they can reassemble it and fly home.
The game, upon its 1991 released, was very well received, with the ToeJam and Earl being hailed as one of Sega’s mascots, alongside Sonic the Hedgehog.