Abzû

Moby ID: 80224
Windows Specs
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Description official descriptions

Abzû is a game about exploring an underwater environment. The player's character looks like a diver and can be freely moved around the 3D environment, along with free camera rotation. It is possible to swim in any direction, break through the surface and do a flip, explore the bottom with a headlight turned on automatically when it gets dark and so on. Next to a separate button for acceleration, there is a short boost function with three tiers to get a short burst of extra speed. Next to the interactive tutorial there are no prompts or HUD elements that explain goals. The diver has an unlimited supply of air.

The diver gets to explore different self-contained areas linked together by passages. These are all filled with different types of fish and interaction is possible by swimming through them. There is also a type of ecosystem as some will feed off others. The player's character cannot die and at times small environment based puzzles need to be completed to progress to the next area. Sometimes drones can be freed that swim along. These open up certain passages and the diver can interact with them through a sound, but this has no further function. Optional elements include locating places where additional fish types can be freed and collecting hidden shells. The game encourages the meditative element of the game to sit back and enjoy the environment as certain statues can be located where a meditation function can be activated. While meditating the diver is no longer controlled, but the player moves around the camera, following and watching the fishes in the environment.

No background information is provided at the start, but the story of a civilization in the ocean is unveiled gradually through elements in the background and there is a progress system based on bringing orbs to temples. Sometimes there are also different sections, locking the diver to a 2D plane or taking away some parts of movement and limited camera actions to swim along giant creatures, avoiding mine-like objects, gliding in a jetstream with other fish. At times it is possible to cling to larger creatures and hitch rides.

Spellings

  • Abzu - Alternate spelling
  • アブズ - Japanese spelling

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Credits (Windows version)

214 People (142 developers, 72 thanks) · View all

Creative Director
Lead Engineer
Studio Manager
Graphics Engineer
Technical Artist
Gameplay Engineers
Sound Designer
Environment Artist
Executive VP
Music Composed by
Additional Developers
Special Thanks
[ full credits ]

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 82% (based on 30 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.7 out of 5 (based on 27 ratings with 1 reviews)

Fascinating but ultimately unsatisfying

The Good
Gorgeous visuals hook you in, and exploration is cool. Soundtrack is pretty good.

The Bad
Very derivative of Flower and Journey; not entirely a bad thing, just wish it stood more on it's own feet. Story was not as engaging or as it could have been.

The Bottom Line
From some of the people behind 'Journey' and 'Flower', two of the best experiences on PlayStation 3, this game is quite amazing and also fairly derivative of the two aforementioned games. Strangely, my enjoyment of Abzu was lessened the more I played and saw the similarities and outright riffing of ideas used in Journey and even Flower before that. The character looks like Journey's protagonist in a diving suit. Watching the fish swarm and swim by and around you is STUNNING, but seemed to be a modification of the petal trails in Flower and some of the more automated sequences were definitely ripped from Journey. At the end of Journey, while I won't say I understood everything, I believe I came to a satisfactory understanding of the story they were telling. In Abzu, while I guess I caught on to some of the more major themes by the end, they seemed disjointed and poorly formed. The game, directed and designed by former thatgamecompany art director Matt Nava is gorgeous and visually breathtaking, but having a few more people - or maybe a few less - who worked on Journey's story would've made a game worthy of its predecessors legacy. I think the items I had issues with would bother a player less if they hadn't played Journey beforehand.

PlayStation 4 · by cycologist (5) · 2016

Trivia

Awards

  • The Game Awards
    • 2016 – Best Art Direction – Nominated
  • Steam Awards
    • 2016 — The 'Sit Back and Relax' Award — Nominated
    • 2017 — The 'The World Is Grim Enough Let's Just All Get Along' Award — Nominated

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  • MobyGames ID: 80224
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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Sciere.

Nintendo Switch added by Rik Hideto. Windows Apps added by Kennyannydenny.

Additional contributors: Havoc Crow, Plok, Rik Hideto.

Game added August 15, 2016. Last modified November 24, 2023.