Jusanth succeeds in a completely singular way. By jumping, you have one goal: climb to the top. Everything else is in service to that one purpose.
Perhaps an obvious statement, but it’s the most obvious – and most interesting – of the game’s mechanics. Developer Don’t Nod put serious thought into translating the action of mountain climbing to a video game controller; You control each hand individually, when you climb, where to create anchor points and so on. It asks you to think about every move you make and consider your path. In that way, it’s a puzzle game, but it neatly mimics the physicality of the sport it borrows from.
Unlike the death stranding of hiking in 2019, the Jussant carefully considers the labor of all movement and navigating the natural terrain. This is a unique position for a game. A lot of games want movement to feel effortless; It helps create fun. But the fun of Jusant lies in its arduousness, completing complex challenges that take time and careful consideration. And it does so with shocking success.
Jusanth is unlike any other and is sure to be one of the hidden gems of 2023 – and perhaps one of the hidden gems of the Don’t Know catalog, which is mostly known for narrative adventure games like Life is Strange. But if you’re itching for a different experience, you’d be remiss not to take this climb.