One of the first things players notice as soon as they first start Abzû is the rich and varied color palette that engulfs the world around them. An eclectic tonal width and beautiful yet calm shades absorb you into the adventure. But hidden below its crystal clear waters, Abzû holds many more surprises for anyone that decides to take such a unique adventure.
The dulcet and varied use of underwater sounds and an exquisite musical score make players dive deep into this abstract narrative created by the same artists behind “Journey”. Case in point: the tones and beeps and bops utilized in the game coupled with its relaxing, mellow and sweet tunes can make players feel relaxed – almost to a meditative level, and as the game is set in a tranquil sea, audiences can almost wish to be transported to such beautiful locales as presented here.
Ocean of Wisdom
Underwater or over it, Abzû’s visuals are stunning, and could easily be considered some of the best ever created in a videogame, with a superb art direction that only misses the mark because of its main character: a protagonist that’s neither abstract nor realistic. Even so, the overlay of different hues throughout the world fully convey their own message, from peaceful, light tones to more dark and dangerous shades that submerge players into their own story. And submerge they will, as the game is brimming with small moments of joy, wonder or sadness that all add up to the experience, with a final message that is both beautiful and deep: we are all part of one united natural world, balancing the act of nature in one way or another.
Sadly, Abzû’s story is extremely short and its replayability almost null, even though it creates an interesting back story open for interpretation and supports it with its various hints (like its mysterious hieroglyphic depictions). Furthermore, its finicky controls make the journey itself somewhat daunting, as constantly holding a button to move is tiring and takes away from the overall experience.
In the end, Abzû isn’t a game for everybody, if it can even be named a game. But for those with patience and an open mind, it can be a beautiful journey into what might become someday classified as art in its most flattering expression.