JETT: The Far Shore Review: Leave Your World Behind
A truly unique title, JETT: The Far Shore is unlike anything I’ve played. With a fascinating story, fantastic feelings of movement, and a stunning world to explore, you’ll want to fulfill Jao’s Directive and check out the far shore.
JETT puts you in the shoes of Mei. An anchorite, a nomadic society where people live in tribes and have a spiritual connection to their planet, Mei and the rest of her crew leave their world behind to chase the hymnwave, a message of invitation, among the stars. With their world struggling, your crew feels the pressure to inspect this world after years in deep sleep. With everything they loved gone, you can only face the future.
A Whole New World
Arriving on an alien world, you’ll soon find yourself surrounded by mystery. While your crew is there to search out the hymnwave, that isn’t the only goal of your people. You’ll need to establish a base, investigate flora and fauna, solve puzzles, and get to the bottom of these mysteries. You’ll dive into dark mountains, frozen tundra, violent waters, a wide variety of different environments. These areas aren’t static either. Throughout your time there, you’ll feel the planet change and evolve.
The art style of JETT is beautiful, truly making you feel like you’re on another world. Your initial mission on Mei’s homeworld feels different as well, with a feeling of death permeating it. I love not only how different both feel from our world, but how different they feel from each other. It drives home the wonder your crew feels upon arriving. JETT perfectly sets the mood with an absolute masterpiece of a soundtrack as well. Dark, foreboding, with a wonderful sense of grandeur, it’s the best music I’ve heard in a game all year.
Your little crew of explorers talks in a dialect that takes some getting used to, but once you do, it helps JETT’s unique culture come to life. While getting to know all of these people and what makes them tick is essential, your partner Isao is a real highlight. He helps to keep you grounded and on mission throughout the game’s five increasingly tense chapters.
Feel The Flow
Actually flying around is done in your jett. While you can land and get out of the ship in certain locations, this is mainly done to interact with other characters. I appreciated the first-person view this provided and the scale it gives the rest of your adventure, but you’ll spend the vast majority of JETT in your ship.
While by default, your ship feels rather slow, that won’t last. Your ship quickly gets scramjets online, a sort of booster which allows you to zip around. While these boosters can only be used so much, there are ways you can get the most of them. Flying over steam provides a cooldown that lets you really put the pedal to the floor and whip around.
Fulfill Jao’s Directive
Flying feels fantastic, making excellent use of the dual sense. As your scramjets reach their maximum levels, the minor rumble your ship has at all times is replaced by a nearly violent shaking. Your triggers provide the perfect tension to really feel the push as you zip around. Your jett controls wonderfully, and new powers and abilities open up as you go. It keeps your journey fresh from start to finish. When things really click, it all comes together. The environments will definitely challenge you but exploring a new world should be a challenge.
In the early hours of JETT, you’ll mostly fly around exploring and scanning the environment, things grow more complex as time goes on. You’ll need to establish bases, manipulate the environment, use explosive elements of the planet to open up new areas, and eventually engage in combat with the creatures inhabiting this world. Most of this works great. The game’s puzzles provide a great sense of progression, with challenges coming at you at just the right pace. Your mission grows more urgent and throws your crew into increasingly difficult situations, but you’ll usually feel ready to take them on.
Turbulence On The Far Shore
Usually, while most of my journey with JETT was a joy, some moments made me want to throw my controller as well. To be fair, most of those came when things weren’t going right. I encountered a variety of bugs throughout my journey. The most common revolved around trying to put my ship to sleep mode. Several areas where my ship was supposed to land simply wouldn’t do so. I also found one spot where I went into the menu to sleep after landing, and the option was missing. Even worse, I couldn’t even leave the menu, so I could only close the game. Glitches cost me hours of play time. It says a lot about how interesting JETT is, though, that I always wanted to dive back in. A patch hit shortly before release as well, which could address some of this. I revisited a few sections where I previously had issues and found no trouble after the patch, though with these issues being inconsistent, it’s hard to say for sure, so buyer be warned.
A few issues late in JETT are less likely to be addressed by patches. While most of my time with it was a joy when things were working, I didn’t love a few late decisions made by the creators. For most of the game, you’re explorers, mostly taking a hands-off approach and only changing the environment when needed. Late in the game, though, as things grow more dire, you’re forced to take a more direct approach to some scenarios. This means combat. From a story perspective, this makes perfect sense. It isn’t as fun, though.
JETT: The Far Shore provides a truly otherworldly experience. With a unique look, stunning soundtrack, and a ship that controls like a dream, strap in and fulfill Jao’s directive. Late game choices take the wind out of things a bit, but I still recommend taking a journey on the far shore.
Final Verdict: 4/5
Available on: PS5 (Reviewed), PS4, PC; Publisher: Superbrothers; Developer: Superbrothers, Pine Scented Software; Players: 1; Released: October 5th, 2021; ESRB: N/A; MSRP: $29.99
Full disclosure: A JETT: The Far Shore review copy was provided by the publisher.