A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Kids can learn to explore the world around them and discover more about the mysteries held beneath the ocean's surface. From a science standpoint, the game can increase kids' interest in learning about the facts behind the sea life they come in contact with. From an artistic standpoint, Abzu teaches not only how to seek out new discoveries but also challenges kids to interpret those discoveries and craft their own stories from what they experience.
Shows relationship between man, the ocean, but also how creatures of ocean work together, coexist. Positive messages about discovery, exploration, complexities of different relationships, including how they may change with time, knowledge.
Positive Role Models
Only human interaction comes from the swimmer, who's an extension of player. Without any dialogue, with clues/discoveries left open to interpretation, swimmer is more a reflection of what player projects onto him.
Ease of Play
Simple controls; easy to learn.
Violence & Scariness
No blood, gore, very little overall violence, outside of a few close encounters with a great white shark.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Abzu is a downloadable adventure game focusing on exploration and discovery under the surface of the ocean. The game leaves players to their own devices, without any scripted dialogue, leaving both discoveries and events open to interpretation. The game spotlights the ocean life that lives around the underwater ruins, including having the player interact with those creatures. There are a few tense confrontations with some of the ocean's predators but no overt violence, blood, or gore.
Is It Any Good?
There seems to be a never-ending debate as to whether or not video games could ever be considered true works of art, but this could easily be considered a masterpiece. The best way to describe the game is poetry in motion, as you swim through the ocean depths, surrounded by all manner of aquatic life. Movement in the game is fluid (no pun intended), not only for the Diver but for the animals, the plant life, and everything else surrounding your senses. It's almost Zen-like to ease up to a stingray and hitch a ride on it, cruising through the currents and watching the schools of fish zip by.
Just based on the presentation alone, Abzu is a phenomenal experience, but there's a deep story here as well. The game takes its name from the ancient Sumerian myth of a cosmic sea that exists between the Earth and the underworld. This influence is shown in the paintings and writing on ruined temple walls, as well as the ethereal shrines where the diver returns life and light to dead areas of dark water. The game encourages players to explore areas off the beaten path, to discover the elements of the story on their own, and to interpret what they find as they see fit. While Abzu gives you the building blocks, the game ultimately leaves it to you to write your own story. The result is an experience that's as deeply and emotionally personal for the player as it is for the Diver.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.