ToeJam & Earl 3: Mission to Earth
Without a doubt this has to be one of the wackiest games I've ever had to review. ToeJam & Earl return from a long absence to once again save the world as they know it, at least that's what they think. This time though they are joined by another alien, the almost cyan coloured Latisha. The game is supposed to be an adventure game but after playing the game for many hours I can safely say it isn't an adventure game. Of course coming up with a genre to fit the game is probably an impossible mission.
The big cheese in the galaxy, the Funkopotamous has had his record collection stolen. The culprits are those naughty citizens of Earth. It is up ToeJam, Earl and Latisha to bring back these 12 sacred Albums of Funk. Their mission will take them through 25 levels of pure craziness. Of course they can always use their Funk-Fu to convert those pesky Earthlings if they wish. In fact it's necessary to progress in the game as once converted they will hand over cash and all kinds of goodies.
The game is played from the third person perspective and basically you have to walk around the levels collecting keys and other goodies and you have to complete various objectives in order to progress. Your primary objective is to collect the 12 sacred Albums of Funk but believe me there is plenty to do besides that. It seems like it's going to be a really good game except for the fact that it gets repetitive really quick and after about an hour's play you feel like you're doing the same thing over and over again. You could argue that the developers have relied on the appeal of the heavy funk music to help the game's cause but this is completely useless for deaf gamers. Where the game might have more appeal is if you decide to play in the 2 player co-op mode. This can, when played in short bursts, actually be quite fun.
Where ToeJam & Earl 3 really shines though is in the visuals. The developers have taken full advantage of the power of the Xbox and the game looks brilliant. The trees blow in the wind, realistic shadows are cast from almost everything and the characters look wonderful. There are absolutely no framerate issues at all with the whole thing playing as smooth as could be. The alien characters look and animate fantastically. The control also feels very responsive and comfortable.
ToeJam & Earl 3 is a real mixed bag for deaf gamers. When I initially played I couldn't find an option to knock the subtitles on and when the introduction was unsubtitled, I was beginning to fear the worst. However once I was on the first level I found that in the display options, that you access by pressing the start button and moving the screen on the right, you can activate movie subtitles. On restarting the game the introduction, songs and character voices were all subtitled. The subtitles were bright yellow and they should have placed on a dark overlay as they can be tricky to read when the background clashes with the text. The tutorial help messages though were verbal only which spoiled it to some degree. Still the game is playable and it is nice to see the songs subtitled.
ToeJam & Earl 3 is one of those games you are either going to love or hate. Personally I found it rather repetitive in single player mode but I could see how some people would enjoy the game, especially when played in the 2 player co-op mode. If you are interested in the game then I would rent it first to make sure it's what you are looking for. It's not a bad game by any means but it is an acquired taste.
Game Rating: 5.5/10