I’m really into what 10Tons are currently doing with their twin stick shooters where every release is a variation on a theme, be it setting, mechanics or vibe.
I am an absolute sucker for folks tinkering around a formula across multiple games to see where different design decisions lead at the best of times. It’s something I embrace in my own work which I jokingly refer to as “making the same game for ten years” but that’s very much not really the case. There are patterns, formulas, sure — but each time it’s about pushing in a slightly different direction, changing ‘enough’ up and seeing what does and doesn’t work. Each time ending up with a game that feels different to the others.
I’m not really a big believer in the idea that games always have to innovate or push into new spaces, sometimes I like something familiar but not quite. I mean, what’s the point of genres otherwise, right? It’s a comfort thing too. I don’t always want to be learning new stuff or being surprised by something. Sometimes I want peace. OK, it’s a neon and lasers soaked peace but it’s still peace. Kind of. It’s my kind of peace, anyway.
The past few days I’ve been having a ball with Jydge, which brings the get in, get out of Hotline Miami via 2000ad and the world 10Tons built for Neon Chrome. Or, in other words, it’s a game where you play an android (complete with long wig) that’s tasked with clearing out buildings using a very big gun (that just so happens to be in the shape of a gavel) and things explode an awful lot.
There is an absurd amount of ways to clear the buildings thanks to the game throwing upgrades at you right up until the final stages and they’re ridiculously generous upgrades too. This is a game that says no to incremental stat juggling and a very big yes to handing you overpowered toys to play with.
Want to walk through walls? The game will, eventually, let you. Fancy seeing what happens when your Jydge is a giant? The game will let you find out (spoiler: you can’t fit through doors). How about if you were tiny? Yeah, that too. (spoiler: you can fit through doors). Sure it’s an arcade game where every stage is essentially “get in, complete an objective and get out again” but there’s just so many ways of doing that thanks to the huge amount of tweaking you can do.
When each map has 4 variations and 12 tasks to complete, 3 for each variation, there’s plenty of reasons to play around with the upgrade system too. Sometimes it’ll task you to clear a stage fast, sometime to defuse a bomb within a time limit, sometimes to steal everything as you go and of course, somewhere in amongst all this jydging, make sure that civilians survive too. Whilst the first two difficulty levels are a (relative) breeze, the highest two difficulty levels will definitely require a lot more consideration of what you’ll need to tool up with to get the job done.
Got 25 seconds to get in and out? Why not try popping some fast legs on and equip your jydge with the ability to crash through walls. That should do the trick. Need to rescue some hostages? Probably a good idea to ensure your ammunition doesn’t harm them before you go else that’s probably not going to end well.
Also, Jydge has the most amazing commitment to replacing the letter “u” with the letter “y” because why not, eh?
Thinking on, “why not, eh?” Is the perfect summary of the design behind Jydge. It would likely be a good enough game without all the silliness and upgrades, but why not, eh? Put them in anyway so folks can have fun.
Needless to say, I loved Jydge a great deal. Why not give it a try for yourself?