Jusant, by Don’t Nod, could be the relaxing game of the year

In a vast desert, strewn with eroded husks of dead boats long ago, stands a gigantic tower. The word “tower” doesn’t really cover it. oblong mountain? A city-sized monolith? vertical landscape? Whatever the case, our young hero, clad in technical gym gear and a feathery bird-like cloak, walks resolutely toward her. We’re going up.

This is it gossanta cool, contemplative and quietly fun climbing game from French developer Don’t Nod (Life is strange). Coming to PlayStation 5, Steam, and Xbox Series X later this fall, with Game Pass released for day one. I played a demo including the first few hours of gossantAnd it’s already one of my favorite experiences in a great year for video games.

In French, “jusant” refers to the ebb of the tide. In the game world, a human civilization once lived on that rocky tower in the midst of a huge, swollen sea, going down with the tide to fish and forage, then rushing back up. When at last the sea dried up, the people descended from the tower once and for all, and dispersed. Now, much later, our hero traces his way to the top, picking up the remnants of their lives, accompanied by the squeaky little dot of an aquatic creature that lives in the hero’s backpack and has resonance powers.

The art uses a mixture of mountaineering and marine motifs to evoke this mysterious person from his empty world. Everything is cracked and weathered, smoothly carved by the sea and the atmosphere, colorful and beautiful. You find notes as you climb, filling you in on the frivolous moments of a society that might have been dying or reborn as the sea retreated – it’s hard to tell.

That’s the context, and it’s very atmospheric, especially when you turn onto a bleached slope facing the sun and you feel the heat waves radiating from it. The game itself is quite rock climbing: it’s you against the wall, where every few yards is a road puzzle to solve. Don’t Nod has put together an impressive set of tactile controls gossant, supported by the fluid animation of the central character. The left and right triggers are your right and left hand grips, and the left stick directs your arm’s reach to the next small grip. You climb in a swinging motion, trigger to trigger, hand to hand, eye searching for the next knob. It’s very satisfying.

Gradually, nodding your head at complications without disturbing the pure upward trajectory of the subject gossant. There is a heart-to-mouth jump that you get by holding and releasing the A button. At the beginning of each ascent, you attach a rope to a carabiner, and you can add up to three beton stones to any surface as you ascend. Eventually, you’ll realize that pits are like quick save points that can catch you if you miss a jump, but they also open up other possibilities, like abseiling, wall running, and swinging. This wouldn’t be new to any true climber, but your rope is everything.

Photo: nodding

Moving a little higher, the environmental interactions and puzzles begin to emerge; Your cute companion (called Ballast) can bring plants back to life, opening up new paths – but on sun-facing rooftops, these plants wilt after a short while, draining your stamina faster too. This is a relaxing game, but it still has a bit of a bite at times. It is also mysterious, as secret alternate paths provide clues to be gathered about this alien civilization’s past.

But that was not the case gossantHer secrets or challenges that really moved you. And it was not even a simple, but effective climactic allegory. Like so different Dorfromantik As I did last year, minimalism cleared my mind. And in a year when more has become more, this game has become less. All it really gives you is a masterfully executed control scheme, and one direction to go: up.

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