Saturday, 25 May 2024

Abzu: Exploring the Depths of a Vibrant Underwater World


In the mesmerizing world of Abzu, players embark on a captivating journey as a lost diver, delving into the mysterious depths of the sea to unravel its secrets. Guided by the acclaimed art director of Journey and Flower, Matt Nava, of Giant Squid, the game offers a unique and creative premise that invites players to explore the unknown. As someone who had the opportunity to go hands-on with the game before its summer release, I was struck by the remarkable aspects that make Abzu truly fascinating.

Swimming With The Fishies

Prepare to be enchanted by the sight of schools of beautifully colored fish gracefully swimming around you. The team at Giant Squid aimed to capture the awe-inspiring experience of diving underwater, and they succeeded brilliantly. Wonderment awaits at every turn, showcasing the immense care and dedication poured into creating this aquatic adventure. Notably, Abzu boasts tens of thousands of intricately rendered fish, each reacting to the player and their environment. As you explore, you can even latch onto a fish and observe the world from their perspective. Recently, the addition of a food chain system provides a poignant contrast between the ocean’s beauty and its harsh realities. Swimming at your own pace, you can simply observe the fish, each with their own unique behaviors and lives. Witness moments like a larger fish hunting down a smaller one, as the smaller fish disappears into the mouth of its predator. The controls feel natural, allowing for freedom of movement, looped swimming, and extended periods underwater. The team at Giant Squid intentionally designed the game to focus on the experience, eliminating concerns about gear or oxygen levels.


Being Hunted By A Great White Shark

While exploring the depths, I couldn’t help but notice the presence of a menacing Great White Shark. According to Giant Squid, this shark plays a central role in the game’s storyline, making multiple appearances. The juxtaposition of the shark’s sudden emergence within the tranquil setting adds an intriguing element of suspense. However, it seems there is more to this creature than meets the eye. Matt Nava, of Giant Squid, explains, “We get to explore multiple facets of the shark’s character. Sharks are often depicted as one-dimensional killers in the ocean, but in Abzu, we wanted to showcase their complexity.” Intrigued by this development, I eagerly anticipate uncovering the secrets surrounding this enigmatic creature. During my initial encounters with the shark, I felt a genuine sense of fear, especially when it approached the screen and bit the drone I was using as a guide.


The Mysteries Within The Sea

Abzu offers more than just stunning coral reefs to explore. The vast ocean holds numerous mysteries and surprises. For instance, you will encounter drones that assist you in navigating certain barriers and accessing new areas. Additionally, magical undersea pools transport you to a surreal landscape, altering the environment in fantastical ways. In these ethereal pools, you can discover upgrades for your diver, enabling faster swimming. As you search deeper, you will stumble upon architectural remnants adorned with ancient hieroglyphs, offering glimpses into the world’s rich history. While Abzu’s story remains open to interpretation, Giant Squid deliberately leaves room for players to draw their own conclusions, resulting in diverse perspectives on the game’s narrative.


The Calming Effect

One cannot discuss Abzu without acknowledging its meditative nature, which sets it apart from many other games. Exploring the ocean is a serene and relaxing experience, thanks in part to the game’s emphasis on allowing players to proceed at their own pace. Another crucial element contributing to this ambiance is the enchanting orchestral score composed by Austin Wintory (known for his work on Journey and Assassin’s Creed Syndicate). The music truly captures the essence of drifting through the sea, evoking a sense of tranquility. While Abzu acknowledges the ocean’s harsh realities, Giant Squid seeks to create a contrast by providing players with the opportunity to appreciate and immerse themselves in the natural beauty that surrounds the aquatic life. Playing Abzu served as a much-needed respite from the chaos of daily life, as I felt my stress melt away with each passing moment. Such an experience is truly a precious gift.

Whale Ride

Abzu is set to launch this summer for PS4 and PC. We are eager to hear your thoughts on the game! Please share your impressions in the comments below.


Q: Can I explore Abzu at my own pace?
A: Absolutely! Abzu allows players to swim freely and explore the underwater world at their preferred speed.

Q: Are there any combat elements in Abzu?
A: No, Abzu focuses on the exploration and immersion aspects of the game, rather than combat.

Q: How long is the gameplay experience in Abzu?
A: The length of the game can vary depending on the player’s exploration and engagement, but on average, it takes around three to four hours to complete.

Q: Is Abzu a multiplayer game?
A: Abzu is a single-player experience, allowing players to embark on a personal journey within the game’s captivating world.


Abzu invites players into a breathtaking underwater realm, where vibrant marine life, stunning visuals, and a captivating soundtrack combine to create an unforgettable experience. The team at Giant Squid has crafted a game that not only showcases the beauty and wonder of the ocean but also offers moments of introspection and contemplation. As you immerse yourself in Abzu’s serene environments, prepare to be transported to a tranquil world that offers respite from the chaos of everyday life. With its imminent release, Abzu promises to captivate players and leave a lasting impression long after they’ve surfaced. So dive in and embark on this extraordinary adventure beneath the waves.

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