Things seem to be getting quite busy in the world of the Switch with big games aplenty heading its way and the eShop also becoming more heavily populated. It’s quite nice to see and, for small games like JYDGE, the Switch is a perfect playground to find its feet and gather a steady following.
Robotic Terminator-Style Bots
10tons are the creative minds behind JYDGE and previous games such as Neon Chrome, another top-down shooter. This, one of their first forays into the world of Switch, comes off the back of many outings via Steam and other outlets. So, what’s the situation?
JYDGE is a top-down shooter set in fictional city Edenbyrg and you control one of many JYDGEs which are part of the wider JYDGE initiative. These robotic terminator-style bots patrol the city fighting crime, causing carnage amongst the local criminal organisations. The key hook here being replayability and the ability to tailor the game to your favoured play style.
As any self-respected judge will know, you need to have your own trusty gavel with which to exact your justice. JYDGE delivers here as your Gavel is your firearm which is fully customisable, suiting any situation or favoured approach. Upgrades and modifications are unlocked periodically as you progress granting you different perks such as increased fire rate, increased range or indeed a civilian-friendly no damage function. These can also be purchased using the money obtained from looting deceased enemies and confiscating their loot crates.
Each level you play has four difficulty settings with the second being unlocked when you complete the first, this being the Hardcore version. The third being Grim mode and the final being Nightmare mode which is only available once you complete all of the missions once over. All of them have medals to obtain based on your performance and certain unlock criteria, and each is increasingly difficult. These hold the key to progression as each concurrent level requires a certain number to be achieved before you are granted access.
This certainly increases the game’s replay value but only because you are being forced to go back in order to progress. That being said, I do like going back to previous levels once I have spent money on upgrading my JYDGE to show those old crims a thing or two; exacting judgement on them once again.
Whilst JYDGE appears simplistic in its appearance and playstyle it can actually be quite tactical should you favour that approach. The run and gun approach can see you turned into a series of giblets all too quickly especially when your stray fire decapitates an innocent civilian waiting to be rescued. Instead, you can equip some sneaky perks (cyberware) such as invisibility whilst standing still and also decreased detection whilst standing in the shadows. The co-op mode also allows you to tackle Edenbyrg’s crime problem as a dynamic duo should you have someone to share Joy-Con duties with.
All-in-all I found JYDGE quite entertaining if a little short-lived. In the space of an evening’s worth of play, I had progressed to the penultimate string of levels with relative ease and little difficulty. It looks rather nice in handheld mode (my only method of play for this review) and my only frustrations were down to my own stupidity when I mistimed a shot or blew myself up. Its art style is also rather appealing with a futuristic neon inspired backdrop your playground for destruction.
My closing thoughts would be surrounding the cost of JYDGE which is £12.99. Is it worth it? I’m not quite sure as it’s the sort of game which you’ll pick up and play for a few days, then potentially abandon. The grind element will put a few people off as they won’t expect this from a top-down shooter, which is a shame as this is JYDGE’s main hook. And, if you were wondering, it is pronounced ‘judge’ the conventional way, albeit spelt incorrectly. You know, because why not…
Personally, I find JYDGE to be a great game to keep you occupied whilst travelling to work or if you have a spare half-hour or so at home and have time, or criminals, to kill. It’s a little short-lived, however.