Clear blue waters as far as your eye can see, plethora of beautiful fishes, corals, vegetation, Egyptian Hieroglyphs, a journey of restoration, Abzu promises to be an underwater adventure the likes of which you’ll never experience.
Your character is a diver who wakes up to find himself face down in the ocean. The sunlight streaming through the water looks so visually pleasing that you can’t resist taking a photo (just like me, lol). You wake up and the game walks you through the controls, leading you to the first level of the game. Now, you might expect me to share the story of the game and babble on how heart-warming and wonderful it was. Alas, there is no such thing as a coherent story in Abzu and you just have to make your own interpretation but honestly, it doesn’t really matter. The pretty visuals, the vibrant colours of the surrounding vegetation, the flourishing wildlife and the melodious soundtrack makes playing the game worth it.
The game doesn’t tell you much about your objectives, you just have to figure it out yourself but fortunately that is quite easy to do so and the scenery is just the cherry on the top. The puzzles you encounter in the game are mostly for show, what the game actually wants you to experience is the life underwater. Swimming alongside gigantic blue whales, manta rays, sharks, turtles and a plethora of other fascinating wildlife creatures. You can also rescue wildlife trapped in the pools found in most levels as well as collect sea shells (optional, you do get a cool diving suit though if you get them all). You can also ride the fishes in this game, even a blue whale, so exciting!!!
To stay true to its relaxing and calm nature, the game has these meditation spots scattered throughout the game in shape of a Shark statue on which you can meditate after interacting with the it. In the meditative state, your field of view changes and you can interact with the environment around you in terms of seeing what the fishes are doing, their activities like feeding on smaller fish. Another dimension to its relaxing nature is the wonderful soundtrack, composed by Austin Wintory, the same person who is responsible for the Grammy nominated Journey’s soundtrack. The way music is intertwined with the game is just brilliant, making your underwater experience even more enchanting. Right music at the right time!! Talk about setting a mood.
(Egyptian Hieroglyphs, these provide clues to your purpose in Abzu)
There are a total of 7 levels in the game plus 1 credit level and each level has different locations, some have these jetstreams which makes your movement super fast, some levels have these minefields, probably the only ‘difficult’ part to navigate, and you also encounter these Egyptian Hieroglyphs which lends a mysterious tone to your adventure. From my own interpretation, I felt that the game was about restoring life to some lost civilisation and you are indirectly guided a great white shark to do it. The way you break these mines in the Chapter 7 leading to changes in your surroundings as well as the final act wherein the whole black triangular door turn lush with vegetation just makes me think of restoration as well as bringing a new life to fruition. I also liked the Hidden level in Chapter 7, the tiny island with the sleeping polar bear was so cute.
(Swimming close at a blue whale, massive)
(Hidden Arctic Region, cuteee)
- Breathtaking Visuals
- Mesmerising Soundtrack
- The feeling of peace and tranquility when you are meditating
- Vibrant colours
- Lack of a coherent story
- Slow walking speed
All I have to say is that this is an experience you shouldn’t miss out on, this journey will prove to be something you would want to experience and remember for posterity. The music, the graphics, the wildlife and the these cute diving lights you encounter all combine in seamless way to deliver you something more than just a game, Peace.
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Game & Developer Information
Developer Website: Giant Squid
Developer Socials: Twitter
Publisher Website: 505 Games
Publisher Socials: Twitter
PSN Store Links: £15.99/€19.99 Europe / $19.99 North America
Trophy Information: 12. 0 / 1 / 3 / 8