Jydge is a game that doesn't beat around the bush about what it is. A top-down, twin-stick shooter that besides clear audio/visual inspirations from Judge Dredd and Robocop clearly states once you start the game that it is inspired by another game from the same dev – Neon Chrome. I personally loved Neon Chrome and it was generally well received so that's a fairly good start. So let's dive into the specifics.
Jydge is available for purchase at the Nintendo Store for $14.99
STORY AND GAMEPLAY
Jydge is no different than many other twin-stick shooters in the sense that they give you the bare bones of a story as an excuse for you mowing down whatever bad sprites the game sends your way. Here, it's all about the Jydge Initiative which is tasked with bringing peace and order to the otherwise dystopian underbelly of Edenbyrg city. "Y" replacing "U" puns all around.
You as the titular Jydge set out night after night to dispense some merciless justice by killing bad guys and rescuing hostages. In other words, the story is non-existent and could be summarized in one sentence: "I am the law!". And be damn sure that I would replace Y with U in that sentence if there was one.
So it goes without saying that if you played and like Neon Chrome, you'll be right at home here and you can basically look at Jydge as a Neon Chrome lite for some quick fun on the go. As a twin-stick shooter, you already know what to expect and the gameplay is pretty straightforward – your character is, once dropped off at a certain stage, let loose to, as mentioned, either kill all the criminals, or rescue hostages. You do this with a large assortment of weapons and upgrades which are unlocked by earning medals for finishing stages and completing challenges. You also collect money from fallen enemies and chests scattered around each stage with which you then buy said weapons and upgrades.
This is by far the strongest part of Jydge as the amount and frequency of unlockables is substantial which in turn makes the game a bit more varied and customizable to fit your needs or playstyle. You could go for a full tank build with upgrades focusing on health and armor paired with a shotgun-like weapon that has the ability to discharge energy when reloading or you could go for a long range plasma weapon with upgrades focusing on stealth and one hit kills. There is plenty of options and you can experiment to find what works best for you or the task at hand.
When it comes to the task at hand, the game has a nice difficulty progression as the starting levels ease you into the experience and the default weapon is all you need. But once you get into the groove the game gradually introduces tougher and faster enemies that will make you vary your playstyle in order to come out on top. Each stage also gives you three challenges which start out fairly easy but also get progressively more difficult, bordering on the insane on higher difficulties but I had a ton of fun trying to complete them. And trying again is never tedious due to compact stages that you can breeze through fairly quickly to get back to the point where you failed. I would only like for the stages to be a bit more interactive as you can only interact with doors, some panels or break through thinner walls but that's about it. Also, the difficulty can sometimes spike and go from easy to insane between levels but luckily, this happens only once or twice.
VISUALS AND AUDIO
As mentioned, visually, Jydge takes inspiration from the 70's vision of the future with clean aesthetic to the level architecture as well as practically all surfaces and technology having some sort of colorful neon element to them. This, when paired with the game taking place at night, gives a colorful, nostalgic, retro-futuristic feel to the game. Jydge as with many of these top-down shooters suffers from uninspired level design and after a while it all kind of blends into a series of rooms that have very little difference between them. The UI is simple, minimal and to the point, as all the relevant info is displayed and navigation is easy and straightforward.
When it comes to the game running on the Nintendo Switch, things are not much different from other platforms and it runs smooth and without any hiccups. In my opinion, this game fits the Switch much better than the other platforms as you can take it on the go for that quick fix of twin shooter fun.
Music and audio
I don't know why, but many games with this kind of visual aesthetic always get the music right and Jydge is no different. It features an up-tempo retro-futuristic-synth assortment of tracks that play each level and really pump you for the action that's about to take place as you robocop your way around a stage. This soundtrack even transcends the confines of the game itself and is a great listen at any time if you are a fan of the genre. Overall, the other sounds and effects are serviceable with but you won't even much notice them over the pumping soundtrack and sometimes frenetic action.
|+ Simple and fun gameplay||– Uninspired and bland level design|
|+ Lots of unlockable weapons and upgrades||– Some difficulty spikes|
|+ Visuals and the soundtrack|