Swim with the Fishes in Abzû

by | Aug 2, 2016 | Reefs in Art | 0 comments

The newly released video game Abzû is ready to take you on an adventure under the sea. Available for PS4 and PC, players undertake a journey through a mysterious underwater realm full of stunning aquatic visuals, with at times thousands of dynamically interacting organisms on screen. Whether it’s hitching a ride on a manta ray, leading a school of trevally through gracefully choreographed motions or just maneuvering about a dense kelp forest, this game is a dream come true for all the armchair scuba divers out there.

So far, this game is getting rave reviews. It marks the first release by the fledgling gaming studio Giant Squid, founded by Matt Nava, art director for two of the most artistically stylized games in recent memory—Flower and Journey. Like those efforts, Abzû is told without dialogue and is full of exploration, relying on the player to determine the details of the story. For a game that takes place entirely underwater, this allows plenty of time for a leisurely swim through the marinelife, and, with a total playtime of just a few hours, this one shouldn’t be devouring a tremendous amount of your time.

If there are any gripes to be had, it might be that there are Yellow Tangs schooling alongside Sheepshead Wrasses in the aforementioned kelp forest, but such biogeographical quibbles don’t take much away from the splendors of this game. Not since the nostalgic glory of Ecco the Dolphin has the ocean been so masterfully captured, and, needless to say, I can’t way to play.

  • Joe Rowlett

    Joe is classically trained in the zoological arts and sciences, with a particular focus on the esoterica of invertebrate taxonomy and evolution. He’s written for several aquarium publications and for many years lorded over the marinelife at Chicago’s venerable Old Town Aquarium. He currently studies prairie insect ecology at the Field Museum of Natural History and fish phylogenetics at the University of Chicago.


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