JYDGE is a top-down, twin-stick shooter not too dissimilar to Hotline Miami. You take on the role of what can only be described as a knockoff Judge Dredd, who is tasked with dishing out justice with his gavel gun.
The entire game is level based: each one set in a different location where the criminals have gathered hostages or stock piles inside buildings. You can enter this building in any way you like: smash a window, punch down a wall, or simply walk in through the door. You then need to dispose of the criminal miscreants inside while also confiscating any money and freeing any hostages along the way. There are a total of 20 levels; although it doesn’t sound a lot the game really encourages you to return to replay stages over and over to improve on your time, collect all money stashes, and complete every feat (like using only melee, for example).
There is a good, fleshed out upgrades and unlockables system in place, too. JYDGE can be equipped with cyberware modules that will give him a wide variety of different abilities that will aid him in battle, from extra health and armour to a little companion named Liam the laser drone. There are a whole range of modules to unlock by completing levels and various challenges; each must also be purchased with in-game currency you collect before it can be equipped.
The gavel gun which JYDGE uses has similar upgrades and unlockables. It has two types of fire: lead bullets and heavy rockets – but alternatively you could opt for a laser gun and stun grenades or one of the many others on offer, the choice is all yours so long as you’ve got the confiscated goods to be able to afford it. On top of the type of fire you can then add a modification such as piercing rounds, rapid fire, or quicker reload. There is a lot of enjoyment to be had in the preparation of your loadout before you even reach a gunfight.
The missions themselves are really enjoyable as the entire interior of the buildings are destructible, allowing you to bust your way straight through a wall to reach your next opponent with ease. This gives the combat a nice fast flowing feeling and keeps your excitement from the start of the mission through to the end. The AI is a fair challenge to overcome but becomes even more difficult to beat in the hardcore levels, which unlock on completion of the standard stages.
The only minor issue we found with Jydge was that we were forced to have to replay levels when we hadn’t completed enough feats to unlock the next level. We were also forced to play the hardcore versions of Act 1 levels before playing the standard Act 2 levels because of the amount of feats needed to be completed to progress. We found this didn’t give us a proper difficulty progression as there was a rather large jump between standard and hardcore difficulty levels.
JYDGE is an enjoyable twin-stick shooter that has a fun and destructive core mechanic and a lot of replay value. If you’re a huge fan of twin-stick shooters it’d be a crime not to give this one a try and judge it for yourself.