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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What 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.
- Parents say
- Kids say
Oh dear god really common sense? 10+?! This game is my favorite game ever it's peaceful and awesome! By the way I'm about to say some spoilers so if you haven't finished the game don't read this. The only "death" is when a shark dies and he some how comes back to life so yes it's $20 but it is worth $60 in my opinion
What's it about?
ABZU starts with you, "the Diver," floating in the middle of the ocean. Diving beneath the surface, you find an underwater world bustling with life and ripe for adventure. Swimming with the denizens of the deep, you soon discover even more mystery as you stumble across ruins left behind by an ancient civilization. As your connection with the ocean and with these long-forgotten relics grows, you begin to uncover your role in a grander plan. It's up to you to bring life back to dark and toxic areas, restoring a sense of balance to the world and following an underwater path to your ultimate destiny.
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.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the exploration of the ocean depths and the creatures that live there in Abzu. How does Abzu's representation inspire kids to learn more about the ocean and its inhabitants?
Talk about the relationship between humans and the environment. What are some ways, good and bad, that people's behavior affects the ocean? What can we do to help protect the ecological balance?
- Platforms: PlayStation 4, Windows
- Subjects: Language & Reading: storytelling
Science: animals, ecosystems
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: thinking critically
Creativity: combining knowledge, imagination
- Price: $19.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: 505 Games
- Release date: August 2, 2016
- Genre: Adventure
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Ocean Creatures, Science and Nature
- ESRB rating: E for Mild Fantasy Violence
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.