What can compare to the beauty of the deep?
This is a question I asked myself several hours into Giant Squid’s foray into the deep blue sea in their freshman outing, ABZÛ. As described by it’s creators, “ABZÛ comes from the oldest mythologies; “AB”, meaning water, and “ZÛ”, meaning to know. ABZÛ is the ocean of wisdom.”
Brought to us all by the masterminds behind “Journey”, we are given a game where you are tasked to wander the deep. Exploring and also finding out what lies below amidst this vast ecosystem of marine life. Yes, that’s part of it, but you’re also exploring to find out who you are.
I found myself swimming endlessly with no real direction. Sometimes I’d tag along for a ride on an Orca. Sometimes I’d just sit my character down on a rock to meditate and watch the marine animals simply exist. I was not the only one who enjoyed this game either.
My wife is a non-gamer herself, and yet found ABZÛ to be beautiful and serene… though sometimes a little chaotic when swimming within a school of fish. Either way, she felt as if she was there and loved the experience. Giant Squid founder Matt Nava and composer Austin Wintory created a fantastic world where the aim is to explore and get lost. And maybe while you’re doing that, you just might find a little more than you ever would have thought.
What is ABZÛ even about?
That’s a great question. It’s kind of hard to answer that question too, without spoiling all the beauty and discovery the game has in store for you. One thing is for sure, Matt Nava absolutely has style, and it shows in this game.
When playing it at first, I felt like I was playing an underwater “Journey”. You are a semi-faceless diver who is in the middle of an ocean of some sort and you just… go.
You dive into the water and begin to discover what you are and where you are. There is no narrative, and the only kind of text you receive is to show you how to maneuver the diver. In this manner of presentation, “Journey” and “ABZÛ” are almost identical.
The only difference is that you will not encounter any other divers throughout your expedition under the sea. This beautiful world, and the discovery therein, is strictly for you. Now, I won’t get into any spoiler territory, but there is a LOT to discover in “ABZÛ”. There are strange messages, non-aquatic creatures, and an overlying sense that there is something big going on here. Physically and metaphorically.