Generally favorable reviews - based on 72 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 53 out of 72
  2. Negative: 3 out of 72
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  1. Aug 3, 2016
    If you aren't entranced by mechanically shallow games like Journey, don't bother. But if you find exploration titles even marginally interesting, Abzu is an absolute must-play – it's the most majestic one yet.
  2. Aug 2, 2016
    ABZÛ should be played with as few story details known as possible. The story and your journey are made great by the surprises that happen along the way, so take your time and explore everything that ABZÛ offers to you, it is absolutely worth it.
  3. 100
    It really captures the majesty of ocean—the beauty of it, but also the power of it. In that sense, maybe “diving simulator” is accurate, because as stylized and fantastical as it is, it expertly captures what it is that makes diving such a rewarding activity: exploring the wonders of the sea.
  4. 100
    ABZÛ simply has to be seen to be believed, as it's a real achievement for the video game medium and deserves to be played by everyone.
  5. Aug 2, 2016
    For those looking for a narrative journey that’s unlike anything else on the Playstation 4, Abzû offers plenty to experience.
  6. Nov 4, 2016
    Abzû is one of the best games of 2016 with a cryptic yet very good story, alongside with beautiful visuals that go way beyond the aquatic screensaver. Unless you're a hardcore action fan, you have to try it.
  7. Aug 10, 2016
    Abzû wears its inspirations like a badge of honor, but there's so much more to this than just "underwater Journey". There's emotional weight behind every single aspect of the game, from the incredible music and visuals, to the ever-changing feel of its surprisingly meaty story and life under the sea. As a result, Abzû is simply an amazing game, one that you need to experience for yourself.
  8. Aug 4, 2016
    A unique and awe-inspiring game; the story, while open to exposition, has much to say and every one should delve in to the depths and have a listen.
  9. Aug 3, 2016
    Those that have profoundly enjoyed titles like Journey or Flower, games that push the concept of what a “video game” should be, will relish in the opportunity to take the plunge in this atmospheric underwater world. Rather than ask players to challenge themselves, ABZÛ gives you the freedom to explore the mysteries of the deep at your own pace, providing an ebb and flow that offers a masterful experience.
  10. Aug 2, 2016
    Abzu is something that was never even on my radar. Then I booted it up, and never let go. Every area was an experience, and it made an impact on me. I don’t spend my time trying to figure out what it means, I just enjoyed the ride, and it is easy to recommend. Especially to those that enjoy the idea of swimming in the depths of the ocean, and exploring the alien life found below the waves.
  11. Aug 2, 2016
    ABZÛ is a fantastic, evocative, abstract and mesmerizing experience, with one of the best musical score of recent years. If you liked Journey, this one can't be missed.
  12. 90
    Abzu is a videogame to love, live and relive. If you loved Journey, this new masterpiece from Matt Nava will astonish you, and will make your eyes sparkle. An underwater adventure that can be enjoyed on many levels, a love letter to the ocean and its wonderful seascapes. Not everyone will love it, but those who do will cherish the memories for the rest of their lives.
  13. Aug 2, 2016
    A beautiful, emotional journey through some of the best looking environments on the PlayStation 4, Abzû was well worth the wait.
  14. Aug 2, 2016
    Art exists to bridge a gap, to communicate emotions or ideas that would otherwise be impossible to articulate. Abzu does this--courageously, confidently, sincerely. Its stirring soundtrack, vivid colors, subtle storytelling, living world, and thoughtful execution combine to create a singularly moving, transcendent experience. In a word: Abzu is beautiful.
  15. Aug 2, 2016
    A riot of color, emotion, and sea life wrapped up in a stellar soundtrack and stunning visuals; Abzû walks a fine line between being a game and being a near-spiritual experience.
  16. Aug 2, 2016
    Austin Wintory’s masterful and emotive score is ultimately the perfect accompaniment… the soundtrack is hauntingly beautiful from start to finish.
  17. Aug 2, 2016
    ABZÛ is a triumph of exploration and atmosphere. Its gorgeous underwater playgrounds are a joy to explore thanks to its perfectly tuned controls, awe-inspiring visuals, and beautiful sound design. A somewhat predictable story does little to hamper what is otherwise an utterly unique and rapturous experience.
  18. Aug 2, 2016
    A mesmerizing audiovisual triumph that will feel heavenly to your eyes and to your ears, unfortunately without warming your heart as much as you would expect. It probably won't leave you teary-eyed like Journey did, but it will still be a trip absolutely worth embarking on.
  19. Aug 2, 2016
    ABZÛ is a wonderful experience that follows the path of games such as Flower or Journey, where we play to feel. This is an almost perfect masterpiece which should be played by everyone.
  20. Aug 2, 2016
    Like Journey, Abzû is in some sense a game about archetypes and archetypicality, letting you dwell within and among them as though to remind you of their firm embeddedness at the foundation of other things. And yet, in a significant structural twist, it’s about recovering archetypes that no longer seem to have potency, rather than playing through an archetypal sequence—the Journey—that’s still going strong.
  21. Aug 2, 2016
    Abzû is one of the greatest looking games in existence, with a simple message at its heart. You’ll revel in the wonders of its beautifully designed ocean.
  22. Aug 2, 2016
    Everything is optimally designed to give the best underwater experience in a game. The non-written narrative is the perfect way to create a story leaving the gamer the choice to have an intimate solution and understanding of the game. A must buy for genre lovers.
  23. 85
    ABZÛ is perfect for fans of Journey and other thatgamecompany titles, thanks to the sweet simplicity of its gameplay and visuals, as well as marvelous musical score.
  24. Aug 2, 2016
    The colorful settings, beautiful soundtrack, and basic controls made it a great experience that constantly piqued my interest, even if it never challenged me to master it other than deciphering its cryptic environmental clues. Instead, Abzu relishes in giving you freedom to simply enjoy exploring the fascinating deep blue sea.
  25. Aug 10, 2016
    The gorgeous sea world in Abzû is very beautiful and relaxing, but can also be exciting. It will only take you two hours to swim your way through the story and there is not much freedom, but it is an amazing experience to remember.
  26. Aug 7, 2016
    Abzû is one of the most beautiful and relaxing experiences of the year. It's simple game mechanics, awesome art direction and outstanding music, are just some reasons to play this amazing game.
  27. Games Master UK
    Oct 3, 2016
    A gorgeous adventure that improves the more time you invest. Take it slowly and explore. [Oct 2006, p.76]
  28. Abzu is giving player an amazing atmosphere. It's really an amazing journey from start to finish like Journey.
  29. Mar 16, 2017
    Abzu is quite simply a breath-taking piece of interactive art, that feels vivid and more alive than you’d imagine a video game was capable of being.
  30. Dec 1, 2016
    A wonderful trip beneath the waves, abounding in small surprises and impressing with the sheer density of life in certain scenes. Whether you’re riding a manta ray or zipping along a speedy current like a highway, it makes the natural world fun while adding its own intriguing mysteries to uncover.
  31. Edge Magazine
    Sep 26, 2016
    Rather than a criticism, however, the lingering feeling is a testament to the sense of wonder Abzu instills in the player, the feeling of grand adventure it manages to conjure in its short runtime, and the appeal of its enigmatic world. [Oct 2016, p.108]
  32. Playstation Official Magazine UK
    Sep 26, 2016
    An undoubtedly captivating experience that has some of the strongest art design on PlayStation 4. While not quite as groundbreaking as Journey, every single fan should give Abzu their time. [Oct 2016, p.82]
  33. Sep 13, 2016
    A unique experience that has more in common with virtual tourism than with a game. Abzû looks great and sounds wonderfully, but that's all. Don't expect anything beyond the three-hour splendor. Swim, repeatedly press the square on the driver and eventually get lost in a philosophical opus without words.
  34. Playstation Official Magazine Australia
    Aug 24, 2016
    While it great barrier reeks of quality, Abzû is not as breathtaking as it could be. [October 2016, p72]
  35. Aug 15, 2016
    Abzu is one of those games that comes along and manages to capture you into its world, allowing you to shut out all of the stress and worries of your own life. It successfully allows you to live in its dream-like environment for a few hours and delivers tranquility you may not have even known you needed.
  36. Aug 9, 2016
    If Giant Squid had removed every trace of its name from Abzû, you could easily have mistaken it for a thatgamecompany production. For a developer to nail that same sense of artistry and wonder with its debut is nothing short of amazing.
  37. Aug 7, 2016
    ABZÛ is a very original game on the PlayStation 4 and if you played Journey before, you may see a few similarities but at the end of the day, this is game should be played on its own merits and on that level it succeeds.
  38. 80
    ABZÛ is a beautiful experience. It’s still technically a game, but one that can be appreciated by anyone who loves bright colors, art, fish, meditation, and more.
  39. Aug 2, 2016
    Abzu is a mix of poetry and onirism. Music, DA, graphism... everything is here to create an unforgettable experience. This is without a doubt a true masterpiece. The only problem: only 3 hours of game, that's too short. We want one thing after finishing the game, to go back to the ocean and discover all its secrets.
  40. Aug 2, 2016
    If you’re the kind of gamer who typically needs explicit direction or a heavily mechanics-focused game experience, you may think that ABZÛ isn’t for you. Move beyond that and give it a try. Between the rich visuals, orchestral soundtrack and chill playing experience, you’ll find something to like.
  41. Aug 2, 2016
    Abzu is an interactive exposure of wonderful underwater nature, concentrated but memorable. However, the game is still missing an important message, a sort of subtext that can impress the player. It remains an important debut for a young team that will be able to achieve great things, with a little more experience.
  42. Aug 2, 2016
    Abzû is a beautiful game the way “The tornado uncoiled harmlessly into the air it was made of” is a beautiful sentence. Splendor is its stock in trade, and its sun-washed seascapes are stunning in a way you can rhapsodize without feeling like you’re just lionizing some renderer’s feats of geometric efficiency.
  43. Aug 2, 2016
    In many ways Abzu looks and feels like a successor to Journey, but while there's mystery and beauty in its underwater world, it's rarely quite as engaging. The simple, predictable gameplay is one barrier, the abstract nature of the story another, creating an experience that's big on audio-visual power and artistry but short on the stuff that made Journey truly magical.
  44. Aug 2, 2016
    Abzû is a game of mysteries and its world will move you to muse the beauty of life and our place in it. It contains moments that transcend the simple act of playing a video game by making a connection with the beings around you – a profound experience.
  45. Aug 2, 2016
    Absolutely gorgeous and a joy to behold, but sticks too close to Journey's formula for its own good.
  46. Aug 2, 2016
    Abzu is a testament to where we are with video game development and shows how diverse the medium can and should be, even if it's not quite as emotionally resonant as it perhaps could have been.
  47. Aug 2, 2016
    Journey in the ocean? Abzû is inevitably inspired by the previous works of Matt Nava; nevertheless this is an extremely fascinating experience, a myth that deserves to be discovered by anyone.
  48. Aug 12, 2016
    Abzu is a relaxing dive, balancing the lack of gameplay diversity with its beautiful design.
  49. Aug 3, 2016
    ABZÛ is neither as lengthy nor as trascendental as Journey. However, Matt Nava and his new team made audiovisual magic once again, a precious journey among thousands of fishes, seaweed and danger. The unfolding of a forgotten legend will cost you 20 bucks.
  50. Aug 2, 2016
    ABZU is extremely beautiful, charming and awe-inspiring, but the lack of challenge and its length prevent it from achieving something bigger. Still, it's one of those games that you need to try.
  51. Aug 2, 2016
    Abzu is still an experience we were glad to witness, but its substance is all too minor to make it more than a fleeting encounter with awe.
  52. Aug 2, 2016
    A beautiful exploration game that is as gorgeous as it is plain in its narrative. Also it's a pretty short experience.
  53. Aug 2, 2016
    Exploring and playing in Abzu's oceans is a gorgeous, soothing experience that's easy to recommend. We have precious few games that strive for placidity and even fewer that reach it as handily as Giant Squid has here. But for all its aesthetic wonder, Abzu's threadbare mechanics feel like they're keeping the player at arm's length. For a game that's all about plumbing the depths, it's just a little shallow.
  54. Aug 30, 2016
    It has plenty to satisfy the explorer in you, but not the gamer.
  55. Aug 18, 2016
    An astonishing, relaxing and beautifully crafted experience. It's not as thrilling as it pretends, but is able to link us with the ocean the same way Journey linked us with total strangers.
  56. Sep 15, 2016
    If you go into Abzû knowing what to expect, you won’t be disappointed. Few games have such capacity to draw the player in with beautiful artistic direction and subtle environmental storytelling alone.
  57. Sep 8, 2016
    For me, Abzu came off as beautiful, but empty. And while it certainly had parts I loved and would revisit, its entirety as a package was overall lacking.
  58. Aug 10, 2016
    Abzû successfully copies the most important and much-loved features of Journey, but it misses that polish to make it just as memorable as Journey.
  59. Aug 7, 2016
    Scouring Abzu's marine paradise opens an argument for emotive communication and softened storytelling. Too often, however, Abzu is less a defense of its beliefs and more a negotiation out of a cornered medium.
  60. Aug 2, 2016
    I did enjoy being in the water, but I can't help but feel the beautiful visuals and music were jamming pictures of places and emotions in my face instead of earnestly telling a compelling story. There's an unshakeable air of falsity about Abzû. As a treat to the senses, however, it's hard to beat.
  61. Aug 2, 2016
    I don't even know if I'd necessarily recommend ABZÛ even if I did enjoy it. It's one of those games where you have to list a ton of caveats off when discussing, to the point where many people will be turned off. But if you regularly partake in walking (swimming?) simulators and artistic endeavors merely for aesthetic value, it might be worth the...ahem...dive.
  62. Aug 5, 2016
    Audio-visually this is a gem. An atmospheric composition of sounds and images that reminds you of Journey. But storytelling, mechanics and exploration are not nearly as elaborate as in the PlayStation classic.
  63. Aug 10, 2016
    Abzu is clearly a labor of love, but its heart is missing. It has all the trappings of a universe that we long to inhabit, which makes the lack of depth all the more bewildering. By introducing intriguing images and wonderfully strange encounters, we are invited into a fascinating world. The problem is that it's never clear what we are there to accomplish. Plunging into Abzu is ideal if you're there for the scenery, but not so much if you're looking for more.
  64. Aug 7, 2016
    When it tries to be something beyond an aquarium, Abzu is as inscrutably intricate as a black light poster from your neighborhood head shop. That’s not necessarily a criticism. Besides, sharks really are misunderstood.
  65. Aug 4, 2016
    Giant Squid Studios clearly wants Abzu to be as evocative of an experience as Journey, and while I enjoyed how calming it was, I ultimately found myself unsatisfied after my three-hour playthrough. The game’s world and setting is incredibly beautiful and atmospheric, but there just isn’t enough meat to the game to really sate your hunger.
  66. 60
    A disappointingly direct copy of Journey that offers an incredible audio and visual treat, but lacks the deeper meaning of the original.
  67. Aug 2, 2016
    Does beauty alone justify a game? Can the novelty of swimming through majestic oceans teeming with life overcome an otherwise fairly by-the-numbers experience that never quite achieves the creative heights it so earnestly aspires to? I suppose that's down to the player, but as much as I wanted to love Abzû, the end result fell just short of brilliance. It's worth playing for the incredible presentation, but don't expect something profoundly new here.
  68. Aug 2, 2016
    In the best sense, it’s a game for tourists more than travelers.
  69. Aug 3, 2016
    No matter how hard it tries, Abzû just isn't Journey.
  70. Aug 2, 2016
    It fails to satisfy the natural urge to explore a three-dimensional realm of seemingly endless possibilities.
  71. Aug 2, 2016
    Matt Nava and Giant Squid Studios have played it safe. Too safe. If there were to be a Journey knock-off, this is among the best you could hope for, but who really wants an imitation at all? There is an obvious artistry to Abzu however, that we can only hope is put to better use in whatever comes next.
  72. Aug 2, 2016
    This undersea tour is quite short. I got through it in about two hours or so and was surprised by the brevity, but it’s probably better that way. No matter how beautiful it is to swim with whales or to descend into an undersea crevasse, there is precious little to do in Abzu, and it’s never particularly touching or thought-provoking. If it told a better tale or if there were more to it than swimming and occasionally pushing a button, it might have been a knockout. As it stands, the appeal of looking at pretty fish wears off in a hurry, and there’s not much else to recommend it.
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  1. Aug 16, 2016
    Abzû is a beautiful audio-visual treat that's light on challenge but big on wonder.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 471 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 45 out of 471
  1. Aug 2, 2016
    It's like Journey but under water...and not as good...and slightly boring...and short....I was expecting something a little bit moreIt's like Journey but under water...and not as good...and slightly boring...and short....I was expecting something a little bit more productive. Sometimes the game feels a little Full Review »
  2. Aug 4, 2016
    Probably the most overpriced game ever sold. This is a $4.99 game selling for 19.99 at the PS Store. The game is fine, as the reviews say, butProbably the most overpriced game ever sold. This is a $4.99 game selling for 19.99 at the PS Store. The game is fine, as the reviews say, but they are capitalizing on the success of Journey for this price at 2 hrs of play time. Full Review »
  3. Aug 3, 2016
    Abzu has been a game I have had my eye on since it's announcement a few E3's ago and I couldn't wait to explore such a beautiful world. Sadly,Abzu has been a game I have had my eye on since it's announcement a few E3's ago and I couldn't wait to explore such a beautiful world. Sadly, there isn't much to find other than stunning vistas and unique art style. There isn't really anything to do other than swim using very clunky controls that I never got used to. Abzu fails at everything that made Journey so good, and it's a shame considering the fantastic look of the game. Full Review »