JYDGE review: Doling out sweet cyberpunk justice
When the future is overrun by gangs of violent cyberpunks, send in the JYDGE!
In the distant future, humanity lives in futuristic megacities like Edenbyrg, where crime is rampant and the only solution is swift, violent justice. The only solution is the JYDGE.
JYDGE was developed by 10tons, the team behind another fantastic twin-stick shooter, Neon Chrome. In it, you play JYDGE, a cybernetic enforcement officer who is sent into the most dangerous situations to take out violent gangs, save hostages, and try to bring some order and justice to the world.
While JYDGE isn't a direct sequel to Neon Chrome, it's safe to call it a spiritual successor. Both games are clearly set in the same futuristic techno-dystopia that's been heavily inspired by Blade Runner, RoboCop, and Judge Dredd and feature really slick graphics and a thumping good soundtrack.
What really sets JYDGE apart from Neon Chrome is there's more of a story being told here. Whereas Neon Chrome had a loose narrative to justify the endless procedurally generated levels, JYDGE has you play a cybernetic mercenary who basically gets to dole out justice as the judge, jury, and executioner.
There are four acts to play through, each broken up into 4 or 5 different missions that involve eliminating cyberpunk criminals, saving hostages, or destroying weapons of mass destruction. Each mission has six medals to unlock by completing goals. Some of them are pretty basic like kill all enemies or free all the hostages, but others are a bit trickier like completing the level in under 25 seconds or without sustaining damage. You'll need to keep collecting medals to unlock new levels and upgrades for your character and weapon, which means you'll be replaying certain levels multiple times.
Fortunately, this game plays like an absolute dream that you won't mind playing through missions over and over again. The touch controls are tight as I feel like Neon Chrome really allowed 10tons to work out the kinks and figure out what works best for mobile. There's a ton of strategy involved in picking the right cybernetic upgrades to get the job done, and there's an insane amount of variety included here.
One of the things I really love about playing JYDGE is that you really have the freedom to tackle each level as you see fit. JYDGE is able to smash right through window panes which is my favorite technique — I just love the imagery of a bunch of crooks just chilling as this robotic killing machine bursts through a window and just clears the room. You're also able to melee attack to destroy most objects, and can use explosions to blow out walls to create your own path. It's fantastic and really lends itself to multiple play-throughs.
I haven't played JYDGE long enough to unlock everything and that's partially due to switching devices and losing my progress — cloud saves via Google would have been really nice. You're going to need to invest some serious time in this game to master and complete it, but given the polish and attention to detail, this will be a game that I will play through to the end.
JYDGE provides the value you'd expect from a paid mobile game, and there are no ads or in-app purchases to deal with. Fantastic!
You can get JYDGE on sale right now for $5.99 on the Google Play Store.