And yet, if the characters were so iconic, why were the sales initially so underwhelming? Unfortunately, it seems that having an idiosyncratic sense of whimsy is great for passionate cult appeal, but generally seems to annoy more people than it appeals.
But then, most people are massive idiots with sediment for brains, whose idea of cutting-edge comedy is a panel show with interchangeable jokes, featuring stand-ups whose only distinction from one another is how much hair they have - the comedy equivalent of a Boney M concert (what does the "M" stand for? Mudflaps).
I'm not bitter.
In fact, the original 16-bit Toejam and Earl is so iconic, that people tend to forget that there was an unloved third game in the series released for the Xbox.
Truthfully, if I peel back my nostalgia flap, I always found Toejam and Earl a case of style over substance. Yes, it boasted an aesthetic that was unique for its time, its tongue wedged firmly in the cheek of its conviction, but the gameplay was woefully slow and - dare I say it - a bit boring.
It's probably heresy to say it, but I sort of preferred Toejam and Earl II, precisely because it ditched the randomised wandering around in favour of a more traditional platform game (albeit still with the same wacky hip-hop stylings).
This is why I approached Toejam and Earl: Back In The Groove with a degree of trepidation (the worst type of idation). I liked the characters, I liked that Toejam and Earl was at odds with almost everything else around at the time... I just didn't really love that first game, and everything about Back In The Groove appeared to be a homage to the original.
And, indeed, there's no escaping that this is more remake than sequel, with little in the way of fresh ideas.
Just as in 1991, Back in the Groove is set on a series of floating islands, viewed from a fixed isometric perspective. Choosing the higher difficulty options randomises these levels, but the basic quest is always the same: search for the missing pieces of your spaceship, find an elevator, and then ascend to the next island. Getting knocked over the side finds you plummeting down to the island below, like a weird game of Snakes and Ladders.
These islands are the scattered fragments of Earth, after it was sucked into a black hole, and are populated with a bizarre selection humans. Just as in real life, humans can be both a help and a hindrance - some will lock you in place by compelling you to perform a hula dance, reverse your controls, or run you over with a Segway. Others will provide protection, level up your character, or reveal what is contained in the presents you gather as you make your way around.
Just as with the characters you encounter, presents are both good and bad; some might help you swim, or mark the location of your missing ship piece on the map... others will send you ricocheting around the world on barely-controllable rocket skates.
There are also bonus levels, which transport you to the Hyperfunk Zone from TJ&E2, where more presents can be gathered, and - upon encountering a boombox-equipped human - a basic rhythm-action game. Just as with the original, you can play spilt-screen with a friend or tender lover, and this time can invite another two players to join you online.
It's all jolly and silly, adhering to the original's early-90s Nickelodeon look - even the music is relatively stripped back and lo-fi - all which helps to sell what is, and there's no getting away from this, something of an exercise in nostalgia.
Back In The Groove is fine. Just as in 1991, it's not really like anything else. It's sporadically funny, but the humans soon lose their novelty. Worse still, certain elements seem entirely arbitrary; the randomised nature of everything makes the presents feel as much of a hazard than a help, despite the game urging you repeatedly to open them. It's also paradoxically rather repetitive, and somewhat short.
Furthermore, while the game is faster than its 1991 counterpart, it still feels slow by comparison to most modern games. I initially appreciated the more sedate pace, but soon wanted something with a little more oomph. Later levels become so populated by humans that progress becomes an exercise in how much frustration you can stuff into your knickers before they rupture.
Unfortunately, for all the jiggly, wriggly, 90s squiggles, the nature of the world you inhabit means that the visuals - while much crisper than their 90s counterpart, and ripped straight from an episode of Rocko's Modern Life - are a bit bland.
The biggest tragedy here is that these are all complaints I had the first time around. However, it's 28 years later, and thus hard to know - outside of Toejam and Earl's passionate fanbase - who the game is going to appeal to.
For all those complaints, I didn't hate it. I'm happy that it exists. I just wish they'd done something that wasn't quite so slavishly grafted to the original template.
SCORE: 1991 out 3000