Platforms: PC and PS4
Abzu, from the art director and composer of Journey, was always going to evoke comparisons to ThatGameCompanies 2012 masterpiece. Both games feature intriguing settings and a wordless plot with sweeping orchestral scores and stunning art direction but who can complain when we get more games like this?
Abzu has you exploring beautiful underwater caves and reefs, discovering ancient alien ruins in Wind Waker visuals. Similar to Journey and Flower, there’s no survival element and no real challenge, you simply enjoy the beautiful world in front of you.
At around two hours, it’s a very short and linear game where you complete light exploration puzzles to take you to the next area. However, each new area is absolutely gorgeous. You’ll be in a colourful reef with sea weed swaying and turtles flapping around you to then be swiftly pulled through a jet stream to a dark and gloomy cavern with huge sharks and whales towering around you.
There’s no urgency to Abzu, just plenty of time to enjoy atmosphere full of dense life helped largely by the fantastic sweeping music shifting dynamically. The game is serene and peaceful, evoking a childlike quality as you discover each new area. There’s even a meditative button to simply gaze as the aquatic life transpires all over the place.
Abzu has excellent controls anyone can pick up and you’ll be catching rides with whales or back flipping through the air in no time, it’s just a shame that there wasn’t more of a challenge where I could test the skills I felt I had mastered.
Abzu is a staggeringly beautiful game, with some of the best atmosphere in a game I’ve ever seen that is over a little too quickly. I enjoyed my time with it but for the price I wished there was a little more. I was swept away by the soundtrack and visuals but needed more of a story, more to do, more of a reason to come back.
3 giant turtles out of 5