Last year, I caught wind of a new indie game called Abzû, done by Matt Nava, the man behind one of PlayStation’s best and most wondrous games – Journey (2012). Unfortunately, I was preoccupied with the latest Telltale Games series – Batman: The Telltale Series and eventually I forgot about Abzû. Lately, it resurfaced as on of the PS4’s free games with a PS Plus subscription, and I downloaded it. It is impossible to forgive myself for missing this when it first came out. If you have a PS4, I highly recommend getting this for free while you can. Why? It is without a doubt the most beautiful and tranquil game I have played. Let’s talk about this thing.
As soon as you begin the game, you can tell there’s something different about this one. What makes this game unique – and what sets it apart from other exploration games like it – is that there’s no reason to be tense. This is a very quiet game that relies on extremely beautiful environments – some of the best I have seen – to invest the player in the game and its world. Instead of providing the player with an oxygen tank that compels you to travel back up to the surface periodically, Abzû lets you roam free. You can ride on as many dolphins and whales as you please without being taken out of the experience just to get a breath of air Once I fell down the rabbit hole, there was no going back. The sea creatures look absolutely stunning if you couldn’t tell by the screenshots provided.
The controls are a bit wonky (at least for me). I’m not the biggest fan of inverted controls, but I got used to it. If you are an even bigger stickler for them than I am, don’t fret; you can change the controls in the settings.
I absolutely love the ability to ride these magnificent creatures throughout the sea. You can travel on humpback whales, striped marlins, and manta rays…and that’s only the first couple of chapters. The puzzles are fun and engaging as well, and finding “coral spires” in chapters is really mesmerizing. The original score is amazing and serves as an accompaniment that is just as peaceful as the game is. While games can be violent and beautiful as well (like the BioShock and Mass Effect franchises), Abzû is a leap forward because it pushes the boundaries of indie video games.
If you have a chance, I would definitely recommend purchasing Abzû. It’s a really amazing experience with spectacular art direction, captivating visuals, and a phenomenal score. If you have PS Plus and this flew under your radar, I implore you to check it out. Abzû earns a 9.5/10.
Abzû is available on PS4, Xbox One, and PC (Steam).