Thanks to 10Tons for the review code
System: Switch eShop
Release Date: 10/19/2017
In a city overrun with crime, you must take control of a robotic soldier named JYDGE who sets out on a quest to stop crime and help clean up the city! There’s barely any story to find in the game outside of that little bit, but the game at least gives you a reason for why you’re going around shooting things.
Outside of an easy to navigate menu, where all the equipment, level selection and options take place, the levels of JYDGE are presented in an overhead perspective, with simple environments and models. They aren’t really detailed at all to be honest, but it does get the job done for this twin-stick action game. By far the best part of the presentation comes from the game’s voice acting, which is obviously terrible on purpose, taking the robotic nature of the main character to the extreme, with monotone line delivery consisting of gems such as “Get out of here” or “Leave the Area” that must be heard to be believed.
After the prologue stage is completed, you’re granted access to the first chapter, where you take go through one stage after another to clear the main objective of that stage. The left joystick moves your JYDGE, the right joystick aims, and the shoulder buttons fire the two equipped weapons, leading to a simple control scheme. There’s also a Melee attack that can be pulled off with the L button, but it’s almost never useful except for breaking things without using your weapon, so you won’t be using it much unless a mission requires it.
So with the controls learned, going through the first six stages won’t really take long at all, with simple objectives to complete as you go through the stages and try to complete them one by one, until you finish the chapter and see more of the story. However, it’s at the end of Chapter 1 where you realize that JYDGE has a strange progression system, one that might turn off those who aren’t dedicated.
You see, in order to unlock the subsequent levels, you need to get a certain amount of medals, which are obtained from clearing the objectives on both the normal and hardcore difficulties (with two more difficulties that get unlocked later on) The Hardcore Difficulty for a stage becomes unlocked after you clear that level’s main objective for the first time, and they are typically harder versions of the stages you just cleared. Since each stage’s medal requirement increases by five, this means that a lot of backtracking to older stages to redo the objectives is needed, and that is a bit of a shame considering how fun the first chapter was due to the streamlined progression. I think the game would have been a lot better if it saved the harder difficulties or locked bonus levels behind the medals, so that the main story could at least be cleared without having to do too much backtracking.
Still, the objectives in JYDGE are a ton of fun and will challenge you, from having you go through a stage as fast as possible to going through a stage without taking damage. (In some cases this can make you want to pull your hair out) With all that said however, the game also has support for two-player local co-op, and while the game is a lot more fun with another player, it also becomes more difficult when you’re hunting for the optional objectives required to unlock more stages, since both players will have to be in sync and not screw up, especially in hostage missions as accidentally killing the hostage will cause your character to explode.
Despite the slow method of unlocking stages past the first chapter, JYDGE does offer a lot of unlockables to mess around with, despite the odd padding on the stages. From being able to discover plenty of main and sub weapons, along with special abilities for your suit and weapon, (all of which can be upgraded with the gold you find in the stages) there’s a lot of customization to tinker with. Combine that with the many in-game achievements to unlock along with four difficulty options, and you have yourselves a surprisingly beefy game despite the padding. It may be a simple game, but I still had fun with JYDGE, and could see a lot of promising elements despite the few rough spots here and there, from the great humor and tight controls to the detailed customization, JYDGE is a title that you might want to keep your eye on, as despite the progression system that isn’t for everyone, there’s still a good game to be found here. I give JYDGE a 7 out of 10.