Jett: The Far Shore
Edge|December 2021
PC, PS4, PS5

Developer/publisher Superbrothers, Pine Scented Software

Format PC, PS4, PS5 (tested)

Release Out now

Four words, spoken towards the end of Superbrothers’ science-fiction adventure, say everything about the kind of game it is. They come from your co-pilot Isao, who is ebullient, loquacious company in the early hours, but now cuts a despondent figure. He’s relaying to the rest of your group of scouts how, in the course of completing your current objective, you found yourself in an entanglement with a particularly large opponent – one he’s forced to admit involved “mutual belligerence” by way of your craft’s concussive ‘pop’. Head bowed in contrition, he addresses his colleagues: “Regrettably, there was a battle.”

Jett, then, is not like most other science-fiction games. It is slow, contemplative and, at times, deeply introspective. It is not afraid to confront the big questions. At one point, Isao even invites protagonist Mei to consider humanity’s purpose, presenting you with three options (which we won’t spoil here). The one you choose does not carry a significant narrative or mechanical impact. No one’s fate hinges upon it. All the same, we consider our response for some time. And when we eventually proffer an answer, we don’t need a text prompt in the corner of the screen to know that Isao will remember it.

Which isn’t to say Jett is all deep and meaningful existential chat. This is, at heart, an action game – a vehicular action game at that. The on-foot sequences are a tiny fraction of the time you spend on this far shore; for the rest of the journey you’re confined to the cockpit of your diminutive craft. It is frequently a joy to pilot: there are moments when, scudding across a twilit ocean alongside brine wisps that have surfaced to dart alongside us, engine roaring as the strings and organs of Andrew Rohrmann’s soundtrack swell with the tide, we wish our destination were much farther away.

By contrast, while exploring the more topographically diverse landmasses, where you need to manoeuvre between trees or glide up rocky pathways to higher ground, it can be an absolute pig to control. Yet once you acclimatise to powering down your scramjets to allow for finer handling (or you simply adjust to braking and turning at high velocity), it is exhilarating to weave between obstacles, popping over dormant blooms that burst on impact and send you soaring skyward while releasing seeds that spread far and wide, bringing colour and life to the land. There is a sense of symbiosis: you feel as if your presence is helping the planet to flourish.

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