JYDGE (Switch) Review – Jydging a Jydge
Platforms: PC, Nintendo Switch (reviewed), PS4, Xbox One
Release: 19th October 2017 (Switch)
After bringing their roguelite twin stick shooter Neon Chrome to Switch a few days ago, 10tons didn´t shy away of porting their latest success JYDGE to Nintendo´s indie friendly console as well. Described as a twin stick shooter with designed levels rather than generated ones and a fully customizable Jydge, mixed with some horrible y-puns, it´s certainly an interesting game but worth checking out as well?
Set in a city flooded with crimes and criminals, the government activates their last line of defense, the Jydge units. Completely free from restrictions and laws it´s their, or our, job to cleanse the city of all criminals. That´s it, basically. JYDGE is far from away from offering a captivating single player story but it doesn´t necesarrily need one in the first place, the gameplay is the best and most important thing.
Being a classic twin stick shooter in its core, the game offers basically everything known from this genre. Different weapon modes, special attacks, enemies and … a top down perspective. The Jydge isn´t a revolutionary new protagonist, only able to shoot and save hostages, his primary objective.
Every level starts out similar to Hotline Miami, arriving by car outside of the main level. Since the enemies don´t know where the player is, it´s not only possible to scout the area a bit but also to land surprise attacks, which deal more damage or get a better idea of the surroundings. Considering that every mission consists of saving hostages or kill a boss, along some additional requirements, knowing the level is a necessity to progress in the game. On the other hand, if you played any twin stick shooter in the past years, you will know how JYDGE works.
Where the level design is pretty straightforward, featuring quite a bit more than a dozen handcrafted levels, in order to enable some fluent, controlled action. From banks, to holiday houses or underground ones, 10tons covered nearly every area imaginable for a neon world. While they aren´t the best I´ve ever seen, every single one has its own quirk, like traps, key cards, narrow hallways or different buildings on the same map. Like the gameplay, the levels aren´t something too spectacular but work as great as in other games. However, my biggest concern is the progression system, relying once again upon the well-known medal system.
By collecting enough medals obtainable through level specific actions, new levels are unlocked. Of course, not even 7 levels later, and the game already forces the player to replay most of the mission, in order to get enough medals. I never liked forced backtracking, it´s simply not fun for people who don´t enjoy this. The game should´ve given the choice between simply enjoying the story levels, rather than artificially stretching it.
The true strength of JYDGE lies outside of the actual gameplay, hidden in the extensive and pretty great customization menus. Not only is the Jydge itself equippable with some neat bonuses but his weapon in particular can be modified into all kinds of things. From a normal machine gun to a shotgun or even a plasma gun, nearly every imaginable gun can be made out of it. Combined with the various special attacks, JYDGE offers a ton of different weapon combos. Along the four unlockable tech slots for the Jydge itself, granting him bonuses from more health to little attack drones, there are hundreds of possible combinations and every level feels different with each run. It´s some of the best customization systems I´ve seen in twin stick shooters.
So, porting it to a diverse console such as the Switch was more than a perfect fit for this game. On the one hand, JYDGE itself isn´t a bad-looking game, except some character models, the levels look stunning, playing with different lights, colours or themes, they can catch this unique neon sci-fi world feeling. Due to the great performance and visual fidelity, lacking big framedrops or crashes and amazing soundtrack, JYDGE is a true treat on the Switch, at least for me.
JYDGE may not revolutionise the twin stick shooter genre because of its very safe played gameplay and lack of many unique mechanics. Luckily, the amazing customization options and well designed levels help to make it more than just another generic game. Being able to play a level with a shotgun, a plasma gun or something entirely else is fantastic and conveys a great feeling of progression. If it wouldn´t force the player to backtrack, to collect the needed medals to progress in the story, I wouldn´t have much to criticise here. JYDGE is a great game that you shouldn´t want to miss out.
[A Review Code was provided by 10tons]