I’ve been looking forward to Abzu since we first saw its gorgeous E3 trailer, and fortunately, I haven’t had to wait long. It arrives today for PC and PS4.
If you love the idea of Journey but find it too complex to enjoy when you really need to relax, it looks like Abzu may be the answer. First, there are the gorgeous visuals – led by Journey’s creative director, Matt Nava. Then there’s the soundtrack, composed by Austin Wintory, who also composed for Journey. But where Journey asked the player to have some proficiency with gaming and some focus on completing mechanical tasks, it sounds like Abzu mostly eschews that.
This might be a bad thing if you’re looking for a thoroughly fulfilling gaming experience, but if you’re looking for a game that lets you relax and explore the ocean at an easy pace, it might not be a problem. As Polygon’s generally positive review points out, Abzu encourages that kind of play:
Abzu literally lets you press a button to meditate in specific locations, which translates to just watching fish swim around and occasionally eat one another. It’s profoundly relaxing, but does little to make the player feel more connected to the game as a whole.
If profoundly relaxing is what you’re looking for in a game, that’s not bad news at all.