Before playing Back in the Groove I actively avoided any kind of research. I had read about the general thrust of the reboot a few years ago, and I did not want to expect the original. I'm glad I did that because when I first started it up with my switch, the punch of nostalgia was like a double dose of happy pills. The outrageous colors and the exaggerated funk soundtrack of the menu screen immediately brought me back to the early '90s. I felt like I was kneeling in front of a small CRT again.
"This game … bizarre " commented a friend. And he's right, it's plain stupid . In the opening sequence, our protagonists, would-be alien rap duo ToeJam and Earl, bring their Boombox Cum Spaceship to Earth. Their plan to impress a few female aliens, however, goes awry when Earl pushes the wrong button and creates a black hole that rips the vehicle. To rebuild it, you need to go through the game layers and restore parts, avoiding annoying earthlings and dealing with helpful ones. And that's literally – you get into an elevator through an elevator and can fall back to a previous level when you fall off the edge.
It was exactly as I had imagined. and I was thrilled to explore the early levels, with funky, bass-guitar rhythms humming in the background. I smiled when I met Gandhi for the first time, who will protect you from the enemies of the game if you stay close to him. Ah yes, the Hula girls! I thought when ToeJam met one and I could not help but dance. I plunged into the line-running and rhythm minigames, slipped into Santa Claus, and was flattened by an overweight Segway Riding Mall policeman. I was not sure if I was friend or foe first. I searched for hidden trails that showed up nearby, I took every gift (the version of the game of power-ups) and shook every bush in hopes of finding money. And within half an hour, I was bored with my thoughts.
In fact, you could probably complete a full playtime by strolling. Almost everything you do in the game has experience, and when you have had enough, you go to a man dressed like a carrot (there is one at each level) to ascend. This improves running speed, search radius, present capacity, and much more, but it feels like you're doing something. As you move through the levels, you always receive gifts, and you only know what's in each type after you open it. Maybe it's a pair of rocket skates or spring shoes that allow you to explore the level faster, but one wrong input, and you can easily fall from the edge to the level below. Or maybe it contains tomatoes that you can throw at enemies to defeat them, though it's easier to just bypass them.