Jusant’s jump is one of the greatest things in games for an absolute age

I’d never normally start with a definition, but I gather “jusant” translates as “ebb”, the movement of the tide out to sea. And this is where Jusant’s Steam demo begins. What manner of post-apocalypse is this? It’s a dry one. The water has gone, we walk over sun-baked earth whose smoothness suggests that it was once far below the ocean, and there’s more to climb here because there’s less liquid moving around to cover it all up.

This is an apocalypse that’s doing double duty. It doesn’t just give you an end-of-the-world you can understand, but it gives you a look too. When I first saw Jusant in the Xbox Summer Showcase, I thought it was channeling Gaudi a bit. Shards of pottery and bleached bone and all that jazz. Turns out that Gaudi’s encrusted art style matches rather closely with the things the sea leaves behind. Arches of whale bone, rust, glinting coral. Metal things with corners rubbed smooth, paint long gone, shapes part eaten away, part broken.

This stuff is everywhere in the Jusant demo, which is, I will tell you now, a bit of a treat. You are a lone traveller faced with a huge tower to climb. A mountain, but also more than a mountain. It’s had bits added on, bits drilled into it. It goes up but in a higgledy human way. You’re ascending, but you’re also exploring upwards, starting amongst old fish nets, coils of rope, planks of wood, moving on to broken metal rungs, stones poking out of the wasted aggregate. Upwards and upwards, weirder and weirder, outside and indoors. Even in the demo it’s quite a journey.

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