Hot off the heels of their time-travelling shooter Time Recoil, 10tons is ready to lay down some punishment with Jydge.
Like several of 10tons other games, Jydge is a top-down twin-stick shooter set in a futuristic society. You play as a type of robotic cop (hmmm....) who is tasked with ensuring society's safety and used to assassinate violent targets and defuse hostage situations. As with all the other 10tons twin-stick shooters I've played, the controls work well and provide satisfying, if simplistic, action. There are a variety of enemy types including powerful shotgun wielders and super-fast melee attackers to go along with the more traditional baddies armed with guns.
There are only 18 different levels in Jydge and each one features 3 objectives for you to complete. The first one is mandatory for progressing through the level and the other two are optional. All three objectives award medals which unlock future levels and upgrades. To make up for the dearth of levels, Jydge has four unlockable difficulties. After completing the first act on normal, you will unlock Hardcore difficulty for each level which contains a new set of 3 objectives and medals to collect. The same happens further down the line with Grim and Nightmare difficulties. These difficulty increases aren't really optional, though. You'll actually need to go back to almost every level and complete it 2 to 3 times, clearing the vast majority of objectives. This is because future levels are locked away behind how many medals you earn and the unlock prices are rather steep. At one point, I had to earn a whopping 55/60 medals in order to unlock the next act.
Levels are short and most objectives are challenging but fair. However, it does get a bit old to replay the same levels over and over. I usually don't have a problem with progress being blocked until you complete previous side tasks but I do feel that Jydge's progress roadblocks are too steep for their own good. Fortunately, Jydge features a robust upgrade system. You can upgrade your armor with four pieces of cyberware which provide health, speed, and other boosts. You can upgrade Jydge's gun (appropriately called the Gavel Mk 1) with a dozen primary and secondary fire modes (each having their own upgradable paths) and by attaching weapon mods that make Jydge even more deadly. These upgrades make going back to complete previous level objectives a bit easier.
You'll find yourself developing preferred loadouts for different objective types. Some objectives want you to complete a level quickly so you'll equip speed and heavy armor enhancements that allow you to move fast and absorb bullets. Other objectives require you not to be spotted so you'll want to swap to the powerful sniper bullets and camouflage cyberware so you can remain hidden in the shadows and take out enemies with a single shot. This builds a decent amount of strategy although I wish the loadout setup was a bit more intuitive. You have to choose a mission, figure out which objective you're going for, back out and set up your loadout accordingly, then reselect the mission. However, I will give credit that it allows you to swap loadouts without exiting the level if you die.
Visually, Jydge is pretty bland. I wouldn't go so far to call it ugly but the graphics are far from inspired and mostly just come off as blocky and dull. They're pretty on-par with 10tons other recent twin-stick shooters and are sufficient enough but I do wish that enemies and hostages stood out more. Finally, I'd be remiss to leave out Jydge's fascinating and revolting spelling scheme. Eagle-eyed readers might have noticed that Jydge is spelled with a "y" instead of a "u". This bizarre style is carried out throughout the game and I never know whether to smile or wince when I see words like "Lead Byllets", "Sentence Execyted", and "Department of Jystice."
Jydge is another entry in 10tons line of competent twin-stick shooters. The robust upgrade system and loadout options are its best features but the campaign is dragged down a bit by a lack of unique levels and being forced to replay them multiple times.
- + Simple and fun twin-stick shooting
- + The variety of cyberware and attachments make for a cool loadout system
- + Massive amount of upgrades
- - Less than 20 levels to master
- - Halfway through, the unlock requirements force you to replay levels over and over
- - Dark, bland, and unclear graphics