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Jusant Review

Do you thoroughly enjoy fast-paced first-person shooters?  How about explosions?  What about co-op play?  Time limits?  Also, do you have vertigo?  If you answered yes to any of those questions, then you probably won’t like Jusant. If a game was to ever be likened to a relaxing cup of coffee, then Jusant is it.  The aim of Jusant is to climb an exceptionally large tower.  The main themes throughout are serenity, calm and doing things in your own time.  However, there is often a fine line between “relaxing” and “boring” when it comes to video games.  Which side of the line does Jusant sit on? Find out in our Jusant review.

Climb to the top

Jusant begins with you assuming control of the nameless, androgynous main character and drops you immediately into the action, as such.  The action that I refer to is climbing a tower.  Easy, right?  Sure.  But it’s incredibly boring, right?  No!  In fact, Jusant is anything but boring and here is why.

If you strip the game down to a simple aim, then yes – you do indeed climb a tower and that is it.  However, the team at Don’t Nod, who developed Jusant, did a stellar job in attempting to keep your attention throughout.  Not only are there multiple activities to keep you busy along the way, but the very climbing mechanics also keep you engaged.

No button mashing

Climbing is not a case of walking towards a vertical surface and then pushing up on the left stick.  Nor is it a case of simply bashing the A-button whilst pushing up on the left stick.  You have to use the left and right triggers, each one representing your characters’ respective hands.  In order to climb, you approach a vertical surface – most commonly a wall, but sometimes a ladder.  You then press B to secure your climbing rope to the surface and then push forward on the left stick.  To actually begin climbing, however, you need to alternate presses between the left and right triggers. 

In addition to that, when climbing, you use the left stick to literally make your character look around for anything to grip on.  If there happens to be a grip to your character’s left, for example, and your character is looking up, down or to the right, they won’t be able to move, even if you are alternating the trigger presses.  You will have to direct your character’s head to the left in order to proceed and it is small touches like this that make the experience much more immersive than mere button-bashing.

The grappling hook

You have a grappling hook that you can deploy in order to reach high areas that aren’t accessible by climbing.  Using the grappling hook, however, is far too easy and has not been implemented very creatively. Especially when you consider how well the rest of the game has been thought out.  The first time you are required to use it, you stand on the edge of a platform, look up and press X.  Your character then proceeds to throw their rope no less than 50 feet up and across into the air, through a tiny loop on a pulley.  That’s like threading a strand of cotton through a needle from across the room!  Despite the poor execution, however, using the pulley is just as fun as the other methods of climbing.  You are able to ascend or descend at will and can even swing side-to-side or back and forth in order to build up momentum for a jump to a far ledge or grip spot.

Use all your tools

You must make use of all of the tools at your disposal in order to reach certain areas.  For example, the image above shows a puzzle that requires a three-step solution in order to reach the top.  Such tools might require you to use a double jump, a rope swing and also help from your little friend, Ballast, who happens to be made entirely from water.

Jusant is a single-player game and that makes perfect sense because the whole overtone of the game is to enable the player to feel calm and relaxed.  As such, being able to go at your own pace and not having to worry about other people certainly helps with that.

Despite being a relatively short experience, Jusant does lend itself nicely to replayability.  The reason for this is Jusant’s ability to invoke different emotions and overall feelings upon different playthroughs.  If you do take time to explore when playing Jusant, you will notice that the environments all radiate subtle themes such as resilience, the passage of time and even loss.  In short, whether or not Jusant is replayable depends entirely on how you feel at the time!

Bright and bold

Jusant uses a bold colour palette on a simple, minimalistic art style.  What this does is essentially create a dream-like effect, where everything feels like it simply flows smoothly into one another.  The environments have undergone the same treatment, with the vast mountain vistas looking both simple yet beautiful and, interestingly, not daunting at all.  

There is gentle background music throughout, consisting of calm, soothing instruments.  This, coupled with the sounds of nature – such as bird calls – creates an incredibly calm and relaxed ambiance.  Overall, the combination of simple yet beautiful art and serene, relaxing audio makes for an almost ethereal atmosphere throughout.

Conclusion

Given its simple premise, many might automatically assume that Jusant isn’t interesting and therefore isn’t for them.  Those people, however, would be wrong.  It is a combination of great mechanics, beautiful visuals, enchanting audio and the overall serenity of the whole experience that makes Jusant a great game.  Despite climbing being a relatively straightforward task, Jusant makes you really think about how to climb specific parts of the tower.  It creates puzzles out of the environment and forces you to explore all options before proceeding.  Despite poor implementation of the grappling hook, all other aspects are executed to the highest standard.   If you want a game that you can dive straight into for a few hours in order to relax and refocus yourself, then Jusant is certainly one to reach for!

Pros:

  • Stunning, dreamlike visuals.
  • Enchanting audio.
  • Superb climbing mechanics.
  • Adorable sidekick in Ballast.
  • You can’t fall off of the tower.

Cons:

  • Short campaign.
  • The grappling hook is far too easy to use and not realistic.

Grade: 8

Jusant is currently available through GeForce Now and Xbox Cloud Gaming. This review was made by Mus from PapaBear Gaming. You can check out his channel right here. You can follow him on Twitter by going here. That was it for our Jusant review.