Deep Dive

PlayStation’s most beautiful indie game is free for 1 month only

This indie hit lets players explore the deepest ocean.

There’s something alien about the deep sea.

It’s a place completely inhospitable to us, but teeming with life that’s both beautiful and terrifying.

Maybe that’s why so many water levels in games make the player feel in danger and out of control. Ecco the Dolphin took it a step further, adding actual aliens to its aquatic adventure.

Abzû by Giant Squid Studios takes a different approach, playing up the mystery of the ocean, but dialing down the terror and helplessness.

Abzû starts with you diving into the water to explore the world beneath — and that’s where it stays.

There are no traditional levels in Abzû, no HUD full of icons and health bars, and no enemies to fight. You simply swim, taking in the beauty of its environments and its lush soundtrack until you find a path forward.

The marine life in Abzû is content to let you share its habitat for a while.

Abzû is mostly a calm, meditative experience that lets you explore at your own pace.

But every so often, that calm is cut with thrilling high-speed dashes through undersea highways.

If the concept of serenely swimming with fish sounds like it would get old fast, there’s good news:

Abzû is only two hours long, and a mid-game twist drastically changes the environment you’re exploring.

It’s around this point that the game’s story comes into focus. Without a single word, Abzû tells a simple but moving parable based on Sumerian mythology.

On the surface, Abzû is about the pure joy of movement and sharing space with its aquatic ecosystem. Dive deeper, and you’ll find a story about our responsibility to nature.

Abzû is free as part of PlayStation’s Play At Home program until April 22, 2021.

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