ABZU starts with the player diving in the sea. Reaching the dark depths of the deep ocean. A glowing pink portal teleports players to a calm area of water to learn the controls such as diving, swimming and boosting which can be utilized to breach out of the water similar to a dolphin. Predators such as sharks can be seen lurking in the waters with more dangers in the depths of the ocean.
Note: the developers recommend using a controller only.
It’s possible to interact with large fish by holding onto them to ride underwater. Objects can be found and interacted with such as plants, locking mechanisms, and statues. Some of these unlock doors whilst others release fish into the water. Robot helpers can also be utilized to open up inaccessible areas when the path is blocked allowing the player through to continue to explore.
For the most part the player is left to explore the surroundings without any guidance or set destination. Further into the game it’s noticeable that it’s only possible to progress through specific openings. Portals glow with unmistakable vibrancy. These transport the player further into the adventure. Minor puzzles are required to be completed in order to progress however they are simple in design. The scenery and marine life really draw the player in providing a unique experience and willfulness to dig deeper into the adventure just to see more.
The sonar ability interacts with nearby objects and fish either enabling it’s function or moving squalls of fish. Gameplay is very limited consisting of simply diving, swimming and interacting with objects. Camera controls can be twitchy and irritating at times depending on the angle.
ABZU is mesmerizing with its vibrant colours and incredible lighting. Graphics settings are limited with no advanced options available. The only settings include screen resolution, image/shadow/reflection quality, and the option to enable/disable vsync. There’s also the choice whether to run the game in full screen. The scenery is beautiful though the lack of plot or story make playing through multiple times redundant apart from the enjoyment of watching the marine-life live within their ecosystem.
An enthralling adventure whilst it lasts. The art style and immersive experience make up for ABZU’s short duration. However the price is rather high considering the limited game time and the actual gameplay is rather basic.