From the moment you find the Diver floating in this vast blue ocean, it’s hard to set the controller down. Not only because of the mesmerizing visuals and amazing score, but by the feeling of being something so tiny in a world so big.
Throughout the game, I repeatedly found myself getting distracted by the sheer scope of what I was experiencing. Which is not to say that ABZÛ is a very long game, because it’s not. I think, from beginning to end, it can be completed in about an hour and a half.
But that doesn’t matter because ABZÛ isn’t a game you play just to win, it’s really one that it’s meant to be explored and Giant Squid made the exploration so very enjoyable!
The sea is a desert of waves,Langston Hughes
A wilderness of water.”
I really loved being able to see and interact with different kinds of sea life, from itty bitty anchovies to enormous blue whales and giant squid! You can even hitch a ride on the larger sea creatures and explore the ocean from their point of view. As someone who grew up watching Flipper and Free Willy, the idea of riding a dolphin or a whale or even a Great White shark is just magical.
The main objective in ABZÛ is to revive underwater ‘temples’ and bring life back to the ocean. You accomplish this by finding clues, solving puzzles, and unlocking new parts of this massive underwater world.
One of the things I really appreciated is that as you swim up to these temples you can see a clear delineation between the layer of water you’re in and another that is deeper and much more ominous. Our oceans have layers similar to this, where the further down you go the different, darker layers you encounter. You must swim into the temple in order to access this deeper layer of the ocean and be able to continue on your adventure.
Along the way, you’ll activate hidden pools of fish and release new and interesting species into the waters around you. You’ll find creatures such as the…
Possibly my favorite part of the game was finding the meditation statues in each level. These statues allow you to ‘meditate’ and while doing so, you follow different creatures around you as they swim, eat, and communicate with each other. It was so peaceful to have the soothing music and a serene underwater ballet playing on the screen… I could just sit there and watch it for hours.
The sound design for ABZÛ is really great, as well. It manages to somehow feel like you’re underwater without being suffocating (no pun intended), rather it’s like being wrapped up in a really thick, warm blanket and just enjoying being a blanket-burrito. If I could wrap myself up in ABZÛ all day long, then believe me when I say that I would!
These last few weeks and months have been stressful in any number of ways and it was such a relief to find a game that let me forget the real world for just a moment. ABZÛ pulls you right in, with it’s amazing music and scenery, and if you’re willing to just keep swimming, you might lose at least a few hours to it.
Now, I am a huge fan of Indie games, but there have only been a couple that have actual re-play-ability. ABZÛ definitely makes the list, as I’ve played it now three times through (with another play-through planned for live-streaming on my Twitch page). I feel like the game is more than worth the $19.99 PlayStation Store price tag.
Like Among the Sleep and Unravel, I think that ABZÛ is a game that players can return to over and over again and still be able to experience the wonder and enjoyment of it.
As for trophies, the most difficult trophy in the game was Collector. If the game wasn’t so enjoyable, I’m sure I would have gotten frustrated many times over as I searched for all of the very well-hidden seashells. 😛
With a total of twelve trophies in all, there’s a little bit of a challenge required to hunt down all of the seashells, hidden pools, and meditations spots. However, if you’re looking to earn a (fairly) easy platinum, you won’t find it in ABZÛ.
I wish I knew what the criteria was to get a platinum in a game, because I feel like there should be one for a game like this.
Three of the trophies require the player to both pay attention AND to explore beyond the main objective. It was suitably difficult to find all of the trophy requirements while the game remained fun and getting to 100% entirely doable.
Developer: Giant Squid
Trophy difficulty: Medium