A beautiful underwater adventure
I now own ABZÛ on all formats it has been released on, predominantly wanting it again on the Nintendo Switch for the added bonus of mobility. It’s one of those games that’s nice and chilled to play without overly having to worry about any set goals, which is always handy. ABZÛ definitely feels like it is influenced by both Flower and Journey, which is to be expected when some of the development team had previously worked on that title. Let’s dive in a little deeper.
ABZÛ has you controlling a diver swimming through the ocean on a mission to save and rejuvenate it. The underlying theme seems to be around our destroying of the ocean in real life and how we can take the necessary steps to start reversing that. I will admit I could be entirely wrong but that’s certainly what I took away from it and that’s the important part. It left an impression on me and got me thinking. There’s no real sense of urgency in ABZÛ so exploration is encouraged to find various items scattered around the levels and take in the views. It’s also a great reason to take the time to discover hundreds of unique species that the developers have skillfully created bringing the ocean to life.
Descend into the heart of the ocean
The Nintendo Switch version seems to be more or less identical to the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions. The visuals naturally are less sharp than I remember, my time was prominently spent in handheld mode, which is to be expected due to the downgrade in raw power. Regardless of this fact, ABZÛ is still impressive looking with no noticeable performance issues. 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 from my time revisiting ABZÛ. The controls take some getting used to, this has been the case with all versions, I think this is mainly due to being able to swim around the areas as you please. Once you get used to the controls though it’s pretty fluid for the most part. The second issue being the lack of trophies/achievements on the Nintendo Switch version, a completely personal gripe that has no real bearing on the game overall. I found them a massive advantage on the other versions as they encouraged deeper exploration of the beautiful world created while tracking down all of the collectable items required to get 100%.
Overall, ABZÛ is a great game to just chill out with for a couple of hours of escapism. It’s best played with a pair of headphones on for a fully immersive experience in a gorgeous world begging to be explored. The initial price of $19.99/£14.99 seems a little on the steep side but it’s still better value than something like Aliens: Colonial Marines. ABZÛ is born from the same great minds that gifted us with both Flower and the excellent Journey, which is one hell of a parentage and easy to recommend.
Platform: PC, PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo
Release Date: 29/11/18
No. of Players: 1
Category: Adventure, Puzzle
Publisher: 505 Games
Download link: US eShop / UK eShop