This game is looking better each time I see it. It seems like a mix of NiGHTS, Journey and Ecco the Dolphin. Definitely a game I’m keeping my eye on, here’s the latest E3 trailer for the game:

Looks beautiful! I wonder what the gameplay will be like?

I have no idea to be honest. I imagine it won’t be too complicated though.

So, I just bought this for $20 on the PS Store. It will take about 2 to 3 hours to beat, depending on how much you want to explore. Not that it’s a bad thing but, It’s just copying Journey and putting it underwater. Don’t let that stop you from experiencing this game though!


Let me start out by saying: This game is breathtakingly beautiful! Basically, the game consists of you navigating your character through a vast undersea environment, exploring and taking in the sights. You progress by finding the mechanism which will open up the next area. And this could be considered it’s weakness: not enough variety concerning gameplay mechanics.

I really think this game could have used the ability to play with a second player. I mean, you even chirp to interact with environmental objects just like in Journey! You can swim faster by holding the X button and even collect hidden shells, not too dissimilar to collecting the hidden glowing symbols in Journey. While you can do a secret boost by pressing the X button three times, it’s hard to pull off and I never felt like I was swimming fast enough…While the game might not be so deep from a gameplay standpoint, the game has a vary strong visually appealing design.

A major highlight of the game is: swimming with, through, and inside a school of a THOUSAND fish! Simply awe inspiring! You can also grab onto and ride the various sea life. There are also fast paced sequences in many of the levels where it’s kind of on-rails and you are rushing forward through schools upon schools of fish! There is also one magnificent, emotional sequence involving giant whales, which I won’t get too much into. You just have to experience it for yourself!

This undersea wonderland wouldn’t be as touching without a wondrous soundtrack, now would it? You might be happy to hear the music was done by Austin Wintory , the same composer of Journey. In my opinion, the soundtrack is just as good as Journey’s and the game wouldn’t be the same without it. That’s how serene it is!

Also, like Journey, there is a hidden unspoken story you can piece together. Various murals found in ancient ruins will start to give you some insight regarding the circumstances of the undersea world you are in. Although, I’d say the story is a little bit more vague than Journey’s. There aren’t any enemies to fight really, except during the end of the game. Without spoiling anything: even then, it’s not what you would expect.

In conclusion, if you like Journey you will love Abzu! While the similarities to Journey are more than apparent, the game is stunning and hinges on the surreal. For a few hours I was completely immersed and in awe, of it’s undersea majesty! Abzu tries to carbon copy Journey to a point, but is lacking the depth and emotional connection Journey was able to convey. Abzu’s greatest strength lies in its: astonishing, organic, aesthetics! It’s a game that caters more to the experience and the discovery, not so much ground breaking gameplay. I will say this: Journey is the better game but Abzu is sort of like its handsome cousin that got left in the water for too long, resulting in more than a few wrinkles.

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On release day I played through Abzu. I definitely recommend it if you enjoy the Ecco games and walking simulators (although there’s not much walking in this one). There are a lot of parallels to Journey. I basically agree with @legaiaflame’s comments. The art, music, etc are all great. It’s not in Journey’s calibre - it lacks the defining moments - but it’s a solid experience, provided you go into it expecting more of a linear tour than an interactive game.

I particularly liked the treatment of sharks in this game. In entertainment, sharks are almost universality treated as ‘monsters’, but that’s quite different from reality.

I’m considering getting the game, but I didn’t like Journey all that much, so if this is basically Journey underwater than I imagine it might not be a game for me. I’m a big fan of the Ecco games though. I’ll probably grab this at a discount at some point, at this point I have way too many games in my backlog to justify purchasing this. I buying a lot less games now than I used to, there’s just no point in buying anything that I won’t play.

Well, basically it is Journey underwater, but it also feels like Ecco…

The controls resemble those from Defender of the Future, but it’s very much a linear experience and there’s not much in the way of puzzles. As @legaiaflame said, it feels similar… feeling being the keyword, not structure. Like Journey, this is an experience that is more about emotion than mechanics, so it might be best to wait for sale if you prefer games that are more about systems or story.

If anyone still hasn’t played Abzu, it’s on GOG now and 50% off in the sale. Although it’s a short and linear game, is quite a magical little ride so I think that warrants a topic bump at least. After Journey, Abzu is one of the better “walking” simulators out there.

I agree, nice find.

I played it a while ago. Much like Journey, it has some visually impressive moments. But it really is “Journey underwater” and as a result it shares the same vague storyline that you could interpret in a number of ways. In that sense it’s totally unlike Ecco, which offered a very compelling narrative that actually provided answers to the game’s mysteries as the story unfolds. I think it really depends on how you get invested emotionally in games. They way people talk about Journey or Abzu reminds me of similar comments about Rez, as they compare it to something of spiritual experience that transcends traditional games. While it doesn’t have that effect on me, I do find it interesting to read about people describing their experience with these games.

In any case, at this price point, and if you haven’t played Journey, I’d recommend giving it a try.

The way I interpret these games is not so much that they have vague stories, but rather abstract narratives. This is quite different from a game which tries to tell a story but that story contains contradictions, plot holes, or leaves concrete details unresolved. IMO these games don’t really have stories in the traditional sense, they have a series of abstract themes and ideas that can you impose your own story and discussions on top of.

Abzu is currently free on the Epic Store.