Jusant is the latest game from Don’t Nod Entertainment, the studio best known for Life is Strange, Vampyr and so many others with great storylines and interesting gameplay. This game particularly caught my eye because of its gameplay alone; I knew it was going to be something different. I knew I was going to be in for a good time.
But first, what is Jusant? Jusant is a term most commonly used in maritime and coastal contexts. It’s a French word that means “Receding Tide”. And this is what the premise of the story is. The world as we know it has dried up. All of the water suddenly disappeared. But that is not entirely true. In this world, there are these creatures called the Ballasts. The Ballasts are these giant floating creatures that look like giant whales, but they are made out of water. And so the people, knowing that these creatures are made out of water, are hunting them down to extinction.
Our silent protagonist carries a tiny baby ballast that helps him out on this journey to find the Ballasts. At first, I wasn’t entirely sure what his quest was as the game doesn’t really have that much of a story to tell you what’s going on. Instead, you get to know the game’s story through notes that you pick up along the way. The story that’s most closely related to our protagonist’s quest is the story of this ballast hunter as they climb the same mountain our protagonist is climbing. From what I can make out of the story, the protagonist is trying to reunite his little ballast friend with the other ballasts and at the same time looking for a source of water.
Jusant is a puzzle platformer climbing exploration game. Okay, wow, that was a mouthful, but anyway, it’s a game about getting to that one goal with many possible paths. The puzzles can be tricky at times but if you just really explore and observe where things are, you will likely be able to find a solution to whatever problem you are facing. The game does provide hints along the way in the form of tutorial cues on how to do certain things in the game, like what controls to use to climb or how to get your little ballast friend to assist you. It’s one of the most interesting climbing games I’ve ever played, as you use both shoulder buttons if you’re using a controller to climb up on things. Left for your left hand and right for your right hand. So it feels like you’re controlling how the protagonist climbs.
But if these controls are too challenging for you to master, the game also has accessibility features for those who just want to relax and enjoy the beauty of this game. And I’m telling you, this game has a lot of beautiful things for you to enjoy and discover. I’m not going to tell you how many chapters there are to this game, but I can tell you that at least in each chapter of the game, the game adds more elements and ways for you to climb up this massive mountain. There will also be chapters where you’re exploring the inside of the mountain instead of just climbing through cliffs.
The game’s graphics are really good, and even though I am playing in low settings, I can still enjoy the beauty and serene landscapes that this game has to offer. I really enjoyed just taking a moment and being in awe at the wonder of this beautifully crafted game. Of course, if you are afraid of heights, though, this may not be the game for you as it can be a little too intimidating when you are staring down into the abyss of nothingness.
Combine that with the beautiful audio this game has to offer, and you are in for the most relaxing and yet stressful game you’d ever be in. There are even moments in the game where our protagonist picks up a shell and just listens to the sounds of the past through the wind. It’s like those moments in games like Life is Strange where you just really take time off from the hecticness of the game and just really admire the beautiful sights, sounds, and scenes in this game.
Jusant is one of those games where you get all these trials and hazards you need to overcome along the way and hope that at the end of the journey, something very rewarding awaits you. And I am glad to say the journey was all worth it, and the reward was this beautiful masterpiece of an ending.
The only thing I really find sometimes that this game has a hiccup on is that there are times your character just gets “stuck” in certain areas where he shouldn’t be stuck. I don’t know if this is a bug or if I’m not supposed to go through there, but it happens. I wouldn’t say it’s game-breaking, though, because it rarely happens, and it’s not like it’s something you would encounter every step of the way.
Overall, I believe the puzzles can be very tricky at times, and like I said, it’s all really about being observant and just trying out whatever you can to get to the top. The game gives you the freedom to explore on your own and try whatever you can to get to the destination. And I love that freedom; it gives the game this open-world feel.
Anyone who loves a good climbing puzzle game will truly love Jusant and its protagonist. From the many exciting sceneries that you get throughout your journey to the soundtrack that keeps you motivated to keep going. Jusant is a must-have if you ever feel like doing something challenging and daunting.
Almost perfect if not for the nitty-gritty. If it’s quite there but not enough to push the boundaries, it’s still an awesome game.