Sometimes sitting down to review a game is an almost impossible task. Games that you love, or hate are easy; you simply start typing and the words will flow out of you. After all, being passionate – whether positively or negatively – about something really makes it easy to talk about. The real struggle is the middle-of-the-road games, the uncertain games. These are the ones that end up being a little frustrating, usually both to play and write about. I realise that this is a long meandering intro, but it is incredibly relevant here… plus it helps me get my word count up.
The weird shrug of a game that I’m writing about here is called Everything. My editor thought it would be funny to offer me all of the outstanding reviews when I asked to review Everything, it was a solid Dad joke. I did that little breathing out of the nose thing. It was a good time for all involved. Anyway, Everything is a game about consciousness, the ties that bind everything together, and all objects from tiny molecules all the way up to planets and beyond. Not infinity and beyond though. That’d be hard to animate, I guess.
You start off as an animal. You are given no instruction but see a little speech bubble off in the distance. You roll your way towards it (the animation is quite charmingly minimalist) and start to talk. You do this a few times and eventually uncover the various mechanics at play within the game. The main mechanic involves you possessing various objects, like some spooky philosophical poltergeist. If I was better read, I’d come up with a killer pun here. Honestly, it’s haunting me that I can’t think of something.
You can take control of things the same size as you, smaller than you, or bigger than you, but only by a certain margin. A bear can become a rock, but not a planet. A tick can become a blade of grass, but not a very large piece of kelp. This is effectively as far as the game aspect goes. You can listen to the thoughts of other things, ranging from deeply philosophical to higher irreverent, but aside from some mild entertainment and the abilities to begin with, they don’t give much from a gameplay standpoint.
There are a couple of other little bits too actually. You can join up with other objects the same as you to form a wave of pigs, or a horde of trees. You can also dance, magic dance. While both change how the game feels momentarily, they serve no purpose. Maybe they don’t need to serve a purpose? Everything is more of a philosophical experience, one that encourages you to think about yourself, those near you, and well, everything. This is reinforced by the philosophy quotes played over certain sections as you go from one plane to another.
You can leave the game to play itself too. Which furthers the idea that this isn’t a game, it is something to take part in, not necessarily control. Watching the game tick along is a weird feeling, almost like watching a let’s play but without “What’s up, its ya boi DPD, like and subscribe and don’t forget to hit that bell.” Which is an infinitely better let’s play, sometimes. At the very least you’re unlikely to get any random racism from this game.
Playing Everything left me kind of empty feeling, which is almost definitely not the intention. I feel as though it is meant to leave you feeling in awe of how connected everything is. The trouble is, I’m already a hippie vegan with an interest in quantum mechanics. I already know everything is connected. So, I can only conclude that it’s not for me, but it isn’t necessarily a bad thing because of that. It isn’t a game though, it’s just a thing to start up and experience. Just don’t play it while on drugs, I feel like it’d do a lot more harm. Also just don’t do drugs, go and do push-ups and read about quantum entanglement or something.
Version Tested: Nintendo Switch
Review copy provided by Double Fine Presents