AbyssPosted at 12:00 am on 8th May 2014 by Martyn Locker
You are Nep2no, and you are a biomechanical robot in the year 3024. The entire human race is endangered by its lack of self-sufficiency, and you are the only means available to retrieve a newly-found yet highly-important energy source, Gaia, from deep within the Earth's abyss.
That's as far as the story goes in Abyss: a minimalistic approach that stretches throughout the entire game, for better or - in some cases - for worse. Thankfully, for the sake of a £1.79 download, EnjoyUp does a lot right in offering an enjoyable bite-sized experience, although it's not without its shortcomings.
Each stage, visually, makes up for its lack of detail with artistic flair - the foreground and obstacles being silhouettes, while the background is filled with the bright colours emitted by Nep2no. The twist? This light reduces with time as you prowl the abyss, making trickier parts of the levels harder to navigate, until you find more Gaia to top up your energy levels.
I do use the term "find" loosely, however. The Gaia isn't exactly well-hidden, as levels are usually linear affairs with little-to-no puzzling elements. Later levels do require you to hit switches to unlock obstructing doors, yet these look deceivingly similar to the end-of-level switches, catching me out at the end of one particularly frustrating mission more than once.
The challenge, instead, derives from tight gaps and moving obstacles within the abyss. When paired with fiddly controls and a lack of checkpoints, the difficulty does tend to spike - albeit often unevenly - throughout the twelve main and eight bonus "Dark" missions. With a little perseverance and a lot of patience, I did manage to make it through to the credits after around the three-hour mark.
As an added bonus for those who picked up the game upon its original release on DSiWare, EnjoyUp's thrown in an extra two-player mode (which I didn't get around to testing) and an Arcade mode for added replay value; challenging the most dedicated players to complete all of the missions in one sitting. And this is on top of the aforementioned 'Dark' stages, too, which have been added in this HD port as an extra challenge - although in fairness, most seemed easier than the standard missions.
Leaderboards are integrated into the menu, and do appear to to offer replay value... although I can safely assure you that they don't. They don't contain the scores of your Wii U friends; in fact, they don't connect to the Internet at all! The leaderboard for each stage is filled with a generic list of initials; and the scores? They're identical across each of the levels' leaderboards, so it's clear that these haven't even been set by a human. And truthfully, even the highest of these generic scores is unbelievably low - you'll finish atop the leaderboards practically every time without so much of a hint of urgency.
Going back to the matter of cost, it shouldn't take too much to overlook any minor annoyances with the game. For £1.79 you'll be treated to an enjoyable experience filled with atmosphere, and perhaps even nostalgia. If you're looking for an affordable time-sink to whittle away a couple of hours on Wii U, Abyss is for you.