Abzu is a unique game. It follows the same approach as Journey, thus hoping for substantial gaming elements is pointless. The most essential thing is to explore and get to know this wonderful universe, which never fails to astonish.
The game maintains a mysterious vibe during the entire 3-4 hour underwater excursion. We don’t know who the hero is. We assume control of the diver when the adventure begins, not knowing how he landed there in the middle of the ocean. We progressively learn to use the controls, dive, and navigate under water. Then we proceed to the next place, discovering an increasing number of animal species, as well as odd artifacts and even artwork on the walls of buried ruins. The most essential element in a game with minimum gameplay is the basics, which were brilliantly accomplished. Swimming is simple and, most importantly, enjoyable. It’s easy to lose track of time and simply wander gently among the colorful fish rather than continuing your quest. Hero animations that are flawlessly crafted are also very important. Although the form does not appear to be spectacular, all motions are flowing. Seeing a diver in action may be completely enthralling.
Similar to the previously described Journey, the gameplay mainly consists solely of mobility. Comparisons to an independent hit from that game firm are not overstated, because Abzu is the work of the studio’s art director, which is evident from the start. It’s difficult to become lost while traveling. Each region generally has one exit that cannot be overlooked. Threats that occur after a period of time provide little difficulty and are relatively straightforward to prevent. We don’t even have to worry about running out of air. This is the basic idea: we are intended to relax during our underwater adventure. The tale portrayed through various components of the universe is engaging, but you get the sensation that the creators tried to transmit a little too much to the viewer at times – some sequences appear a little forced. This, however, has no effect on the game’s enjoyment. Although it may appear such when we first begin playing, the aquatic environment is not realistic. We notice certain weird and abstract features right once, yet they merge quite nicely with the stunning flora and animals. Abzu is a lovely game. The title’s vivid colors and fairy-tale – but not too cartoony – visual design charms the first time you see it and does not let you go for even a second. The color scheme is perfect.
The soundtrack complements the pictures nicely and is precisely timed to what is going on the screen. A comparable music would not embarrass the makers of Pixar’s finest cartoons.
The most essential aspect of Abzu is that we clearly experience the ocean’s magical and enigmatic aura. Only wonderful feelings and impressions accompany the aquatic journey. Although not as affecting as the amazing Journey, it is unquestionably one of the finest artistic independent works in recent years.