I now own Abzu on all 3 current gen consoles, I predominantly wanted it on the Switch for the handheld element. It’s one of those games that’s nice and chilled to play without having to worry about any set goals, which is always handy. It’s definitely influenced by Journey which is to be expected when some of the development team had previously worked on that title.
The game has you controlling a diver swimming through the ocean on a mission to rejuvenate it. The underlying theme seems to be around our destroying of the ocean in real life and to look how we can start reversing that. I will admit I could be entirely wrong but that’s certainly what I took away from it. There’s no real sense of urgency though so exploration is encouraged to find various items scattered around the levels.
The Switch version seems to be more or less identical to the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions, the visuals seem a little less sharp but that may just be how I see it playing it in handheld mode, regardless it’s still impressive looking and does exactly what it needs to. Sound wise the soundtrack is as good as it always has been, composed by Austin Wintory who was also responsible for the Journey soundtrack, it’s a perfect accompaniment for the game.
I only have two real niggles, the controls which take some getting used to (and this has been the case with all versions). I think this is mainly just due to being able to swim around the areas as you please, and once you get used to the controls it’s pretty fluid for the most part. The second is there being no achievements like with the other versions, this is a completely personal gripe as it has no real bearing on the game overall but it was just nice to have them as it encouraged more exploration and tracking things down.
Overall it’s a great game to just chill and play with a pair of headphones on to enjoy the soundtrack and do some exploring. The initial price of £15 seems a little steep to me but it’s still better value than something like Colonial Marines. I even have a friend that prefers Abzu to Journey, I don’t necessarily agree with personally but it’s still a hell of a recommendation.
Beard Score: 7/10
Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
Release Date: 29/11/18 (Switch)
No. of Players: 1
Category: Adventure, Puzzle
Publisher: 505 Games