ABZÛ is a game about being underwater, and it’s really really beautiful.
Now that’s not enough to recommend a game, although it really helps. But ABZÛ is more than just a tech demo, more than just a floaty beautiful experience, more than a dive into the depths of the ocean.
You start in the shallows of a tropical part of the world’s ocean and you set off on a voyage of discovery down, down, down. You’re not alone on your journey, as the whole ocean is alive with creatures, both big and small, and much of your time will be spent gazing in awe at the creatures that bob and swim and scurry around you as you descend through layer after layer of oceanic bliss.
There’s a story to it too, one I won’t spoil here, but it has feelings in it, and a twist. It’s a much more disturbing experience than I expected when I set off on my oceanic adventure, having some moments of real peril and danger down there in the deeps.
It combines that with moments of pure joy and pure elation, especially towards the end. I never thought I could feel emotions over fish, but ABZÛ proves that in fact, it’s more than possible. Austin Wintory’s amazing score helps this, as his evocative string motifs play pirouettes on your heart and your emotions as your little swimmer careens through the waters.
That’s before we even talk about the swimmer itself, and the way it moves through the deeps. Swimming is always a chore in videogames, but in ABZÛ the frustrations are removed and it feels like flying, flying through clouds of fish and light and dark.