Jusant (PS5) Review

A Climbing Adventure That Redefines Traversal Mechanics

Climbing is often considered one of the dullest mechanics in gaming. And Jusant is a game centered entirely around climbing. From that premise, I expected it to be either a perfect sleep aid or the most innovative traversal experience since Octodad. To my delight, it was the latter.

Ascending a Unique World

Jusant begins at the base of an enormous mountain, equipped with nothing but a rope to scale its heights. Calling this structure a “mountain” feels almost disrespectful due to its vast and intricate design. As you climb, you’ll encounter small towns clinging to cliff faces and windmills scattered across the mountain. Inside the mountain, you’ll traverse through lush, wooded areas and encounter soft, squishy plant life.

The Dreamscape of a Desert

A subtly rising soundtrack accompanies your ascent. Dreamy synthesizers, strings, and piano, along with other atmospheric instruments, enhance your journey. The music style and progression are reminiscent of another mountain-based game, Journey, with its sweeping orchestral sound. Along the way, you’ll find letters, secrets, and crevices, enriching the world of Jusant, which you quickly learn is facing its own struggles.

The game’s lore is revealed through journal entries and environmental storytelling, effectively painting a vivid picture of the people who once inhabited this world. The writing, while sometimes feeling a bit forced, is generally pleasant. Importantly, there is no spoken dialogue or narration dumps; if you skip the journal entries, you might wonder if there is any story at all. But that’s okay, because Jusant’s main appeal lies in its physics and controls.

Rope Physics and Freedom

Once you master the basic climbing mechanics, you quickly realize the freedom you have in approaching each section. Jusant utilizes a robust physics system that’s part clumsiness and mostly brilliance. Traversing this space feels dynamic and satisfying.

This is best demonstrated with the rope system. True to real-life rock climbing, you have a safety rappel and carabiner, and you are immune to falling damage. These mechanics allow you to throw yourself at anything and everything.

The game lets you place up to three rope anchors almost anywhere, enabling you to tether yourself to walls and swing around. The rope is physics-based, meaning it can get caught around objects and terrain, sometimes to your advantage and other times to your detriment. This system keeps the climbing engaging and lets you set your own checkpoints.

Opportunity and Controls

One slight disappointment was the missed opportunity to fully utilize the DualSense controller features on the PS5. I had hoped the adaptive triggers would enhance the climbing experience, similar to Astro’s Playroom. However, I quickly got used to the controls, alternating between the left and right triggers for climbing, which felt natural after a while. The game subtly offers some forgiveness in the controls, allowing for swift climbing without the fear of slipping.

A Relaxing and Engaging Experience

Jusant is a game filled with atmospheric bliss, perfect for my relaxation routine. DON’T NOD has succeeded in transforming traversal into something soothing and satisfying. The art style, music, and gameplay combine to create a zen experience that becomes more gratifying the longer you play. This is the kind of game I’ll boot up at 11 PM to relax, only to look at the clock and realize it’s 2 AM. Bravo DON’T NOD, you’ve captivated me.

5 1 vote
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