Follow TV Tropes

Following

Context VideoGame / Abzu

Go To

1[[quoteright:350:https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/abzu.png]] ²[[caption-width-right:350: Don't worry, the fish don't bite. ]]²²''ABZÛ'' (coming from the cuneiform signs Ab, "ocean", and Zû, "to know", making the title roughly "Ocean of Wisdom") is an independent game from developer Giant Squid and published by [[Creator/FiveZeroFiveGames 505 Games]] for the PC, UsefulNotes/PlayStation4 and UsefulNotes/NintendoSwitch. It is styled like the works of Creator/ThatGameCompany, which shouldn't surprise anyone, since the art director and composer of ''VideoGame/{{Journey}}'' teamed up on this game, too.²²You play as a mysterious humanoid being venturing into beautifully rendered regions -- in this case, the ocean -- while pursuing a narrative which contains [[SilenceIsGolden no narration and no dialogue]], having to piece together the plot via the events and scenery around you.²²Swimming around under the water, you occasionally find mysterious statues on which your character can perch to meditate, surveying the wildlife around her. You also occasionally find and activate small robots which follow you, using them to open passages through the coral which has grown over cavern entrances. Each chapter sees you exploring ancient, mosaic-laden ruins of a seemingly primitive, sea-oriented culture, then concludes by seeing you swim into a large, mechanical pyramid which seems to be powered by some advanced, alien technology, but you are left to discover how they relate to one another, assuming there ''is'' a relationship.²²Compare ''VideoGame/EndlessOcean'', a Creator/{{Nintendo}} franchise similarly focused on diving amidst lush visuals and a tranquil, relaxing atmosphere.²----²!! This game provides examples of:²²* HundredPercentCompletion: The game features three kinds of collectibles - the meditation statues, the secret pools, and the hidden shells. Each set features its own achievement for finding every one.²* AdvancedAncientAcropolis: [[spoiler: Throughout the game the diver encounters mosaics and tiled ruins, as well as the remains of an enormous underwater city, clearly left behind by an ancient civilization. The diver also encounters fragments of highly advanced technology, and at one point enters what appears to be a still functioning automated factory in a state of extreme disrepair. Members of the civilization themselves are nowhere to be found.]]²* AlienSky: At first the world looks normal enough while you're treading water at the surface, but if you look in a certain quadrant of the sky you can spot what appear to be a series of floating rocks [[spoiler: [[{{Foreshadowing}} that look oddly pyramid shaped...]]]]²* AmbiguousGender: The diver is quite slender and has no hair, just a colorful helmet, and could easily be male or female. [[spoiler:Or neither at all.]]²** The developers refer to the diver as a "she" in the [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bir8E8862vM dev diary video]], though.²* AndYourRewardIsClothes: Collecting all the Sea Shells and visiting one of the murals that contains them will unlock a light blue suit, which gives you an infinite and stronger boost.²* AndroclesLion: A great white shark, who you've been following up to this point, is trapped under some wreckage, and your character frees it. [[spoiler:It ends up TakingTheBullet for you in Chapter 5.]]²* AnimalsLackAttributes: Played straight; most of the animals in the game lack any gender specific characteristics whatsoever. [[JustifiedTrope Justified]], however, since in RealLife the differences are usually very subtle and unlikely to even be noticed by anyone without intimate knowledge of a specific species' anatomy.²* AwesomeUnderwaterWorld: One of the main points of the game is to just take in the amazing underwater vistas. The diver's task is to restore and preserve this beauty.²* BackFromTheDead: [[spoiler:The great white shark performs a HeroicSacrifice, but is later resurrected by the player.]]²* BeautifulVoid: If you didn't know before what a colorful place the ocean could be, you will now.²* CameBackStrong: [[spoiler:The great white is resurrected when you activate the Source and given a massive power up that allows it to rip through the pyramids like tissue paper.]]²* {{Foreshadowing}}:²** The great white bursts out from past the wall of a cavern and trashes one of the mini-subs you've acquired. [[spoiler:Turns out it's sourced from the same device which created the pyramids. And you.]]²** The [[spoiler:RoboticReveal is foreshadowed almost right from the start, from the fact that the protagonist does not seem to need to breathe (she can stay underwater indefinitely but has no visible gills), to her astounding ability to dive into insane depths where the water pressure would crush a human body and back without so much as decompression sickness. Perhaps most telling is the small radar that emits from the diver's head along with an electronic beep when you stray off course, which makes more sense after the reveal]].²* FriendToAllLivingThings: The diver frequently attracts the interest of any and all wildlife that happens to be nearby, especially when performing acrobatic feats. None of the larger creatures seem to mind letting you swim in tandem with them, either. In the final chapter the diver can amass a giant school of fish that will follow your every move.²* FrigidWaterIsHarmless: The final sequence takes place in the Arctic ocean, complete with drifting ice, penguins and polar bears. The protagonist is not deterred by the temperatures in the slightest, though this is justified as [[spoiler:she is actually a humanoid robot with superhuman resilience]].²* GoldenSuperMode: [[spoiler: Activating the Source not only repairs the damage you took in the previous chapter, but enhances your abilities so that you can swim continuously at bullet speed. The effect also wraps your entire body in a golden light.]]²* GottaCatchThemAll: There are nautilus shells hidden throughout the chapters, as well as special pools which [[CreatingLife spawn sea creatures when activated]].²* GracefulInTheirElement: The diver is incredibly elegant in her underwater movement, yet [[spoiler:when the time comes to climb onto land, all she can do is an awkward duck walk]].²* GuideDangIt: For the collectible seashells, several of which are ''extremely'' well hidden.²* HeroicSacrifice: [[spoiler:The great white saves you from the device, ramming into it to destroy it, and dies of its wounds in the following chapter.]]²* InterspeciesFriendship: [[spoiler:You form one with the great white shark seen throughout the game, after freeing it when it becomes trapped under a pile of wreckage. It outright becomes your companion after you bring it back from the dead.]]²* JumpingFish: Many smaller fish can be seen doing this frequently. The player can also make larger creatures do this while riding on them. [[spoiler:There's a hidden achievement for leaping out of the water while riding a blue whale.]]²* KrakenAndLeviathan: Subverted. There aren't actually any of these in the game, but "Kraken" is the name of an achievement you get for riding on a giant squid (the animal that directly inspired the kraken legend).²* LostWorld: [[spoiler:In a region of the ocean apparently cut off from the rest of the world, you find a habitat containing extinct species from nearly every time in Earth's history, from ''Tiktaalik'' to ''Ichthyosaurus''.]]²* MinimalistCast: It's just you, swimming through a sea full of completely ordinary fish. [[spoiler:Though towards the end, you gain a Great White Shark as a companion and ally.]]²* MisplacedWildlife: [[spoiler:You eventually find yourself with ''prehistoric'' creatures like ''Ichthyosaurus'' in Chapter 6, throwing the entire time period of the game into question.]]²* NoAntagonist: Just you swimming around the deep blue. [[spoiler:Whatever left the devices behind appears to be long gone.]]²* NoCartoonFish: Not just the fish but all the animals are realistically designed.²* OhCrapFakeout:²** One point early in chapter 4 makes it appear as if a blue whale is about to eat your character - but no, it was just gathering up some fish swimming next to you. Though anyone who is aware of real blue whale biology probably saw this coming, since despite their large size, they're physically incapable of swallowing anything human-sized.²** Also the great white's presence throughout most of the game. The first time you see it, it comes out of nowhere and takes out one of your mini-subs with one terrifying bite. From that point on, you keep seeing it around in various places, making the player wonder if it's going to attack them eventually. [[spoiler:But then you find it trapped under some wreckage and you free it, and from that point on you never feel threatened by it again.]]²* OneWordTitle: ''ABZÛ'' (coming from the cuneiform signs Ab, "ocean", and Zû, "to know", making the title roughly "Ocean of Wisdom").²* PainfulPointyPufferfish: Averted. The pufferfish are only ever shown in their normal, non inflated state, and are completely harmless to the player.²* TheRival: The dynamic between the Great One Shark and the diver is very much like a classic rivalry story, even though there is not much for them to rival each other ''over''. They start off on a bad note, with the shark spitefully destroying one of the diver's companion mini-subs, and then, throughout the game, we see the shark always one step ahead, as if racing the diver to [[spoiler:the central core of the LostTechnology polluting the ocean]]. Then, however, [[spoiler:the diver [[AndroclesLion saves the shark from being crushed]], revealing no hard feelings whatsoever, and in return, the shark [[HeroicSacrifice charges the central core]], possibly saving the diver at the cost of its own life. Then, in the final level, the shark is resurrected and the [[RivalsTeamUp rivals finally team up]] towards their goal, and it's glorious]].²* RoaringRampageOfRevenge: Of a sort. [[spoiler:After you revive the Great White in the final chapter, the both of you proceed to thoroughly trash some pyramids and bring life back to their regions, culminating in the giant one which initially killed it.]]²* RoboticReveal: [[spoiler:You, after being caught in a giant chain-reaction explosion, spend the next chapter with visible artificial limbs and what looks like a power core.]]²* SceneryGorn: Chapter 4. It starts out nice enough, swimming with a pod of whales, but then you get to the ocean floor...²* SceneryPorn: The whole game is exquisite to sit back and admire.²* SeasonalBaggage: The first four levels represent the four seasons in the ocean. After that is more connected to the ideas of Life, Death, and Rebirth.²* SeldomSeenSpecies: The majority of the animals in the game certainly qualify. Unless you had a prior interest in marine biology, you've probably ''never even heard of'' many of the species the player encounters.²* ShoutOut: One room in Chapter 3 has [[WesternAnimation/FindingNemo a lone clownfish and blue tang swimming together]].²* ShownTheirWork: A lot of detail was put into the animals in the game. [[spoiler:They even avert ArtisticLicensePaleontology with the various prehistoric animals from the LostWorld (AnachronismStew and MisplacedWildlife aside). Particularly, the plesiosaurs have fairly rigid necks and ''Helicoprion'' has its teeth built like a saw instead of hanging out of its mouth]].²* SinisterGeometry: The pyramids are a decidedly alien/mechanical presence among all the lush vegetation and wildlife.²* SpiritualSuccessor: To ''VideoGame/{{Journey}}'', kinda. It was not made by the same company, but was conceived and created by that game's art director, Matt Nava, and scored by its composer, Austin Wintory. It also shares many of that game's sparse mechanics, as well as a roughly similar plot. ²* SuperNotDrowningSkills: You never have to come up for air. [[spoiler:Due to being a robot.]]²* TentacledTerror: Completely averted. Just as in real life, octopus are extremely shy and will hide from the player when approached. The various species of squid can be seen predating smaller fish, but are entirely harmless to the player.²* ThreateningShark: Subverted. The game appears to build up to a confrontation with a Great White Shark, who frequently appears, acts aggressive, and eats one of your helper robots. However, you end up ''saving'' it from some wreckage that it's pinned under. [[spoiler:It then proceeds to help you, first by ramming the massive device, saving your life at the cost of its own, and then joining forces with you after coming BackFromTheDead to destroy the machines once and for all.]] ²* TurnedAgainstTheirMasters: [[spoiler:You. Possibly.]]²* UnderTheSea: Where the majority of the game takes place.²* UnderwaterRuins: Everywhere. The figures on the mosaics bear a striking resemblance to your character.²* WaterIsAir: Most of the time, water is represented realistically with real (present or past) creatures inhabiting it. However, the ancient ruins often contain another layer of water under the water, as pools, fountains and the like.²* WhamEpisode: Chapter 5. [[spoiler:You find out via a holographic display that your character is based on the same technology as the small submarines and the big mines and that they are likely a creation of a highly destructive, advanced civilization.]] You get over it, only to later witness [[spoiler: the Great White Shark [[HeroicSacrifice sacrificing itself]] for you when you meet a gigantic mine]].²* WorldHealingWave: Any time you restore life to a dead region, it blooms forth with kelp and fauna in a manner not unlike ''VideoGame/{{Okami}}''. The ending implies [[spoiler: that with the end of the core piece of the mines, that the whole ocean is now restored.]]²----

Top

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

/

Media sources:

/

Report