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I just finished ABZÛ, and as the credits just barely come to an end, I offer up a few thoughts before I’m on to the next game.

Transcript:

It’s time for a post-game smoke, where I give a few thoughts on a game as soon after playing it as possible. The credits have rolled on Abzu.

My fear when playing Abzu… And let me pause for a moment and acknowledge that the developers of Abzu never imagined that anyone would start a sentence with “my fear when playing Abzu” … The game is a serene delight, one of its achievements is literally finding all the places where your character can meditate. Plural places. This game has places dedicated to virtual meditation. But I’ll finish, So, my fear when playing Abzu is my fear when playing any game with a water level. It’s scary. Water levels are scary. You know you feel the same. Don’t lie to yourself. Space isn’t as scary as water. Flying isn’t as scary as water. Mansions owned by evil corporations aren’t as scary as water.

And Abzu knows this. Hence so many bright colors. No real enemies to speak of, so no fear of jump scares from the deep. Sometimes, the swimming feels like flying, and as we’ve established, flying isn’t scary.

What Abzu delivers is an environmental swimming simulator on par with journey. In fact, Abzu has been called Journey under water, which is a bit unfair considering the only link between the games is a shared art director/creative director, but on the flip side, Abzu is journey under water. These games have shown me just how much an art/creative director can influence a game.

But it’s not just Journey. Abzu has plenty of Flower in there, too. Also the same art director.

Without a doubt, Abzu is a worthy experience. It’s short, stunning to look at, and not as scary as the abundance of water would lead you to believe. Like an elf in a pool that appears to be drowning but you realize upon closer inspection that he’s actually teaching water aerobics.

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