ABZÚ, a new underwater exploration game created by Giant squid, is calm and it’s peaceful. It gives you a chance to put down your respective swords & gun’s from other games and explore the sea and all its creatures.
Many reviews and comments about ABZÚ bring up three important points and while I don’t disagree with them, I have a slightly different take on why I enjoy/dislike them. The list comprises of; Similar to Journey/Flower, relaxing/calm, and tank controls that can be hard to control.
I have not played flower so I can only compare to Journey, but I find that both Journey and ABZÚ share one major aspect. They both instill you with a sense of in-world wanderlust and wonder. That hook, which sinks in so quickly, sets the pace for your adventure; YET, that pace is still as fast or slow as you want it. Do you blast through to get to the end or do you explore every nook and cranny of each section to find all the hidden items and images.
What I find compelling about my time with ABZÚ is how it pulled me in and away from games like DOOM, Brut@l and Grand Kingdom; all of which were frequent plays for the last month.
It’s calming pace, simple but enjoyable puzzles, and the ability to literally sit on a rock and watch the fish swim by, broke so many of my librarys normal ‘style’, which revolve around combat and killing.. Couple this with a light and breezy, albeit slightly devoid of content, story and you have the recipe to find yourself with two or three hours of inner calm.
These waters are not completely calm however. While not impossible, the tank style controls can be frustrating if you are trying to be precise while swimming. It is quite easy to get twisted around, especially if you are moving vertically near an entrence to new areas.
The control scheme carries over to your ‘ride’ as most of the aquatic life you see can take you for a go around. While not critical to the game, the task of leaping from the water ala echo the dolphin, can be either super easy or frustratingly difficult to pull off.
As mentioned above, there isn’t a solid story to ABZÚ, and if my opinion means anything I think it revolves around man’s industrial tendencies are destroying the world, and all it takes is one person to start the wheel of change. However I could be missing the forest for the trees and it could be about robots trying to take over the world. Lastly on the negative side, the collectables are not overly difficult to find if you want to, but the aspect of tracking them and figuring out which ones you are missing.
Those few issues aside, there is a lot of good to be found in this game. It takes you an evening to get through, and it makes a perfect cap to a hard days work or a great way to kick off your weekend. I recommend picking this title up on PS4 when you can.