“ABZÛ” makes waves combining art, nature and gaming

In “ABZÛ,” you enter the game with almost no prior information or backstory, only to be greeted by a stunning and beautiful virtual marine environment in which you get to explore with the humanoid diver character you control. (PlayStation Europe/Flickr Creative Commons)

If you are native to the lovely Nutmeg State, then you are probably sick of winter, now more than ever with a fresh coat of snow to make sure you are extra cold and bound to stay inside. If you have a gaming platform then we here at The Daily Campus have just the game to get your mind out of any seasonal funk.

“ABZÛ” is an independent game published by 505 Games -- a publisher that is well known for releasing beautiful art driven narrative games like “Adr1ft” and “Journey.” It’s available for PS4, Xbox One and Microsoft Windows. It was released last year on Aug. 2 and was highly anticipated after the success of their former game “Journey.”

Similar to “Journey,” “ABZÛ” is a narrative-based, third-person adventure game that really goes against a lot of things that modern games represent in various attempts to please the masses. Many modern games are too easy, or just tell you how to win. It often feels like a glorified walkthrough. But with “ABZÛ,” you enter the game with almost no prior information or backstory, only to be greeted by a stunning and beautiful virtual marine environment in which you get to explore with the humanoid diver character you control.

With ballet-like swimming mechanics, even if you are a novice gamer, you cannot help but enjoy the grace of the animation that this studio has created. The game has a unique style that is both biologically accurate but mixed with the right amount of whimsical design. All the environments you encounter are complete with a tasteful color palate, unique species of marine life that you can interact with and a soaring symphonic soundtrack that is sure to get stuck in your head and put your stress about school to bed.

The soundtrack might be one of the most important facets of this game. The musical cues really capture and immerse the player in all the incredibly intricate levels. In addition to this aspect, if the game is played on the PS4, the light on the controller matches that of the biome you are swimming through.

“This is the kind of game you want to play at the end of a long day with a beer in your hand,” said Jason Gastrow, who is also known as VideoGameDunkey.

As you progress through the game, you go from ecosystem to ecosystem, breathing new life into every reef and kelp forest as you progressively enter more alien worlds of our oceans. Although not explicit about the game taking place on earth, “ABZÛ” allows true nature lovers to explore a virtual world so vivid and peaceful that they could have only imagined of visiting.

“ABZÛ” is available on the platforms that were mentioned previously for $20. This seems like a bit of a high price for an indie game that only has about a three-to-four hour play through but it is worth every penny. Since I purchased “ABZÛ” this past December, I have played through it four times, and every time I play it I notice more themes, unique sea creatures, and details I missed before. This game rewards the types of gamers that love to explore. I have shown “ABZÛ” to people, who generally dislike video games, and it completely drew them in.


Overall Rating: 9/10


Dan Wood is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at daniel.wood@uconn.edu