Jusant is a wonderful meditative PS5 climbing game that’s full of mystery
Jusant is a lovely little climbing game that’s both relaxing and taxing.
There’s no overt hit-you-over-the-head storyline, you’ll have to piece together what happened to the inhabitants of the Tower by finding various notes and letters left behind on your ascent.
And my what a wonderful ‘tower’ this is.
You play a young woman with her blue water blob companion Ballast, who appears in the arid desert with one aim – to climb the huge, massive towering rock that has seemingly become home to numerous seafarers.
The problem, however, is that there’s no water to be found anywhere anymore.
And the Tower dwellers are long gone, often having departed out of desperation to find that liquid gold as their world has slowly dried up, leaving old boats and nautical elements like lighthouses stranded.
I went into this game assuming it’d be a combination of the climbing bits you do in the Uncharted and Assassin’s Creed games.
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That in turn left me wondering whether it’d end up being a very same, and ultimately boring climbing game that repeats it’s core task over and over again.
It turns out I was wrong.
And what we have with Don’t Nod’s new game is a clever puzzle-driven title that is actually a very physical experience.
The key climbing mechanic comes straight out of the monkey-climbing parts of the PS5 pre-installed launch title Astro’s Playroom.
Like that game, you use the left and right triggers on top of the DualSense controller to climb, left-hand right-hand, up the rock face.
It’s quite a dextrous controller method and as the game’s difficulty increases and you find yourself throwing in new skills like hooking and swinging on a rope, placing pitons into the wall, you’ll find you hands working overtime, just like your on-screen climber to crack a biome and get past a tricky rock face.
It’s visceral and real and drags you into the game, while the wonderfully calming music hold you there, building a tragic-feeling but brutal world that’s struggling to survive the overbearing dry sunlight.
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Peeling back the onion of the story leaves a lot of mystery and questions that slowly reveal themselves to the player the further in you get.
And the challenge is tough the further up the Tower you get and incredibly rewarding when you pass an awkward head-scratching bit of a climb.
The art style is beautiful and really gave me Journey vibes from that particularly successful ten-year-old PS3 indie explorer game.
Gameplay becomes second nature quite quickly and is different to the norm, which is welcomed among a sea of recent playalike games.
You’ll have to mix climbing and roping skills with controlling a stamina metre and grapple points to ensure you make the next big section of an ascent.
Ballast is a great help when you’re stuck too, you can call on him to help point the way ahead and light up key areas with beautiful watery luminescence.
And there is a big emphasis on exploring all areas to really get the most out of this game, tracking down lots of little bits of info to really build-out the wonderful world created by the makers of the Life is Strange series.
Jusant, a French term meaning an ebbing tide, is a wonderful little game.
It’s very different, and as such stands out, physical in play but meditative too.
Enjoyable but difficult and always unravelling a deeper tale.
One of the most unique and lovely games of the year.
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