Game Title: ABZU
Why You Should Get It
I'm typically not a fan of "feels" games, but maybe that's because I've never really given them a chance. I didn't know what ABZU was going in other than it looked cool and you spend time underwater. I figured I'd pop it in and do some quick first impressions and ended up completing the game two and a half hours later. I'll admit right now that's short for a game that's asking $20, but man it was an experience.
In ABZU, you play this "creature" who starts out aimlessly floating in the ocean. The game never explains why, and I'm not entirely sure your character knows either. So you float around and swim trying to get your bearings and suddenly you're thrust into the story. I say thrusts because this game thrives on curiosity and beauty. You see something weird or cool and you swim to it and more likely than not it progresses the adventure.
And what an adventure it is. You'll see some stuff that is absolutely breathtaking and will briefly make you wonder whether or not you're "tripping" while playing. At any given moment you'll have 100's of fish of different size, shape, and color flooding your screen. You'll also get a chance to interact with some of the larger ones and ride them around!
The score for this game is phenomenal. The chorus and orchestral pieces stand out, but that's only because they match the gameplay so well. Typically you know you're doing a good job if no one notices the soundtrack within the game but I only noticed because there were a couple times I said, "Damn, this is a good track" and there was no one around me but my dog to hear it.
That said, this is a game you experience and there isn't any real fighting. Essentially you're spending a bulk of the game swimming and solving easy puzzles to move the story along. The puzzles are essentially there to promote you exploring your surroundings, they're never too difficult.
That may turn some people off, and I can say that before experiencing it, it would've kept me from purchasing. In that regard, I'm glad I went in blind because I think it opened me up to appreciating a genre I essentially wrote off as artsy garbage with some but a very small valid place in the gaming world. The price may be a little high ringing in at about 10 bucks an hour for entertainment, but this game is well worth the price of admission just to experience. Even though I've completed it (there are still challenges I have to unlock) I can see myself jumping back in soon just to wind down after a long day and just relax swimming with fish.
Abzu is a bit pricey for the time it takes to complete, but it's visual value and soundtrack is a modern masterpiece. Definitely worth the money and a must experience if it dips below the $20 mark. I now have a new respect for "feels" games.