The never sleeping megacity of Edenbyrg is full of crime. With gang bosses running the joint, the citizens of this once great city are at risk.
Enter the JYDGE, a cybernetic one-man machine of destruction as he goes about cleaning up the streets, saving the good people of Edenbyrg and ensuring that crime is eradicated forever.
With 10tons behind JYDGE – and the game being set in the same universe as Neon Chrome and Crimsonland – chances are it’s going to be pretty decent. After all, recent history has seen the small indie developer go from strength to strength, with its previous release, Time Recoil, faring pretty well.
JYDGE is very much like Time Recoil, in that it’s a top down shooter in which you need to slowly make your way through numerous levels, taking down bad guys and saving the world. Unlike Time Recoil though, the story isn’t one of its strong points and I’d have quite easily got my enjoyment without the little narrative that was being thrust towards me. The lack of real narrative is never a prominent issue in this title, and things would work just as well with zero backstory, and us just being given the chance to get on with things.
So JYDGE will have you wandering around multiple stages, gun in hand and setting your sights on the bad guys. But where you go from there will be completely dependant on the mission at hand. On a very basic level, it will mean ensuring that you, and any hostages that may be tied up, manage to get out safely. However, with locked doors that need keys, hacking points which allow access to further rooms and multiple cash bonuses to pick up along the way, how you go about heading through the experience that is JYDGE is more than up to you.
What JYDGE does do well – in fact does brilliantly – is give you replayability, as much of your time will be spent heading back to previous levels in order to carry out set objectives, just in order to open up further stages for progression. With three differing mission types for each level, and multiple levels of difficulty multiplying those missions and objectives, there is a hell of a lot of game within the walls of JYDGE.
Part of that is because it is nigh on unmanageable to complete all objectives in one run. For instance, you may need to hunt down and kill all enemies, but also save all hostages AND ensure you are back at the doors of your super cool JYDGE-mobile in less than 15 seconds. Hitting all those objectives in one go is impossible, and so you’ll therefore need to pick an objective, carry it out, and scout around for different routes which will help with your next run through.
Even then, by ticking off objectives as and when you can, you may find things a bit too tough, seeing your progress halted. It is here where the numerous skill, ability and weapon enhancements begin to go down a treat.
Everything you do in JYDGE earns you cash, and as you progress you’ll find upgrades become ready for purchase. These may allow you to kit your JYDGE out with more armour, have him utilising faster boots, or even send him into battle with a drone alongside. Your gun, the Gavel, can also be upgraded with different shot types (all of which can be upgraded themselves) whilst further augmentations can also be dropped on. Multiple slots are available for each of these segments, should you have the cash to unlock them, and so the chance to make your JYDGE utterly unique is high.
This in turn lets you play JYDGE how you see fit. Want to go slow and stealthy? Check. Prefer to head in as a fast and powerful machine? Double check. Fancy mixing it up with a combination of the both? Triple check. There are over a billion configurations of cybernetics, weaponry, companions and items. And it would be a shame not to bother using them!
The level design in JYDGE is equally as good, and although it’s by no means as varied as the customisation options you can mess around with, each level will take some serious going over. Multiple routes, of which you can make your own by shooting out windows or destroying walls, allow near utter freedom, and with sight lines being key to your success, will see you having huge fun with the exploration side.
Each stage is however only unlocked once you have met the objectives found in earlier levels, and this is where JYDGE slightly stutters. You see, if you find a stage which is particularly troublesome, and you’re stuck with little cash in the kitty for upgrades, then that ensures your progress in further ones is slightly stalled. I don’t want a completely easy walkthrough that doesn’t test the skills, but without three starring every single early stage by completing all the missions, you will most definitely see the latter ones locked down.
This is initially frustrating, but there is so much fun to be had with going back through levels, utilising different tactics and skills, that the whole issue is never really a game breaker. In fact, it’s normally just a matter of time before you find yourself soldiering on some more. But that said, I can see those who are looking for a simple run without too much hassle being left slightly annoyed by the amount of level repetition required.
With some lovely visuals that see a huge amount of destructibility, a level of audio that is fitting to the gameplay and more replayability than a number of AAA titles bring combined, 10tons have done it again with JYDGE. It is a title that oozes quality and demands to be played, but at the same time, the constant need for heading back over the same stage time and time again may see its downfall. On a personal level though, I adore the creativity that is needed and the huge customisation options that can be issued to the JYDGE are nothing short of remarkable.
If you’re looking for a new top down shooter in which you can play your own way, then you need to call the JYDGE.