As someone who is mildly afraid of heights, I wouldn’t necessarily describe climbing as a meditative experience. However, developer Don’t Nod has set out to make Jusant just that: a game focused on climbing with “meditative vibes.”
Jusant is a third person adventure game with some puzzle elements. You play as a character determined to climb upwards, along with their companion–a water creature called a Ballast–that hangs out on their back. Your companion is attuned with nature, and can make plants grow and even show you the way forward–quite handy to get around obstacles that might otherwise be unpassable.
Your main goal in Jusant is to climb–and as you do, you’ll climb through the ruins of an abandoned civilization. One that vanished along with the water. The secrets of Jusant are revealed through messages left behind, but also in clues scattered throughout the environment.
As you climb through Jusant, you’ll find yourself in multiple different biomes. In the preview version we had a chance to play through two different biomes. Each biome has different fauna and hazards; for example, we explored a hot desert biome that made your stamina go down quickly. Also, plants summoned by our companion shriveled and died in the heat, putting pressure on our character to climb faster.
Even if you do run out of stamina while climbing, or miss a jump, you aren’t punished harshly for your mistake. The stakes are never very high. Stamina is the only status gauge in Jusant–there is no health, and really no way to die. If you fail, you can just restart where your last landing or piton was.
Climbing in Jusant is a little more involved than just telling your character where to go. Playing with a controller, each trigger acts as individual arm movements. It’s not as unforgiving as something like QWOP, but it does add a little bit of strategy to climbing. Jusant is also just as much of a puzzle game as an adventure game, as some obstacles require some problem solving skills, and even outside the box thinking. And there are usually multiple routes to take, so if you get stuck, there may be an alternate route.
Our experience with Jusant was limited to the preview version we had available–and it really made us eager to climb all the way to the top. If you’re curious about Jusant’s gameplay, wishlist it on Steam and look out for the demo which is coming soon.
Jusant will be available in October.
A Steam key was provided to us for this preview