Everything Review: What If I Told You You’re Everything Around You

March 20th, 2017 -

What if I told you there was a game that you could play as a wooly mammoth one moment, and then a blade of grass the next? What if you could see the world through the size of atoms, and then become so small you are on the other end of space with galaxies? Does that sound appealing at all? Because that’s what happens in Everything.

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Before playing this, I was concerned about whether or not this would be an easy review to write. Not that I like things to be easy, but looking at the video above, it’s clear that the game will be for a niche group of people – the majority of Call of Duty players probably won’t be picking this up, for example. But the real question in my mind was: who would be? The game looks more or less like something you’d just mess around with for a bit and then quit. While that’s an option, there’s depth here, if you only give it time.

You begin the game pondering your existence and what happened prior to what you know right now. Much like your life, there is a point that you remember, but prior to that you have no recollection. And yet, you existed. Shortly thereafter in the opening sequence you become an animal, and begin to explore the world around you. You’ll speak with other animals as well as the environment, as everything is just as sentient as you are. The longer you play and the more you explore, the more avenues open up for you to see.

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One of the first commands you’ll learn is to sing, or make the noise that is associated with whatever you happen to be, whether it’s a sheep bleating or ice crackling, you are able to speak with those around you. You are then given the ability to gather those that are similar into a group. After growing weary of the same perspective, you are given the ability to not only change into different things you can see, but actually change where you are by ascending or descending, be that with atoms, molecules, rodents, humans, continents, planets, or galaxies. It may seem a bit overwhelming at first, but it comes pretty naturally in time.

As you begin your transfer of perspectives, you’ll see a percentage in a group, such as 4% Food. This is saying you have become 4% of the food within the game. For collectors, this game will be quite the task in achieving the 100% for items. It’s a bit like Katamari Forever in that aspect, as I found myself quickly trying to amass as much as I could once I was able to not only group things that looked like me, but were similar to what I was. However, doing this lead to quite a few… interesting experiences.

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The game is very much about seeing life in a way you probably don’t view it. When speaking with the different entities, you’ll hear their thoughts and see how they perceive their lives. This can be joyful, or it can be quite demented. In collecting as much as I could in short spans of time, I began to see the world become more and more dark. Not in terms of lighting, but the way everything reacted, in addition to the game flat out saying so – the screen turned black and said I was destroying it.

If at this point you think the game doesn’t sound very fun, please reconsider. If you ever played David’s previous game Mountain, you’ll understand. In addition to collecting the thoughts of others with your own, you’ll have the opportunity to listen to Alan Watts more or less narrate the game, giving you more to think about regarding who you are, what you are, and how you fit into existence. There’s also an object you’ll no doubt come across near the beginning of your journey that leads to the progression of things from here that you’ll have to witness for yourself, as this is much more of an experience than a traditional game, and discussing it wouldn’t do it justice.

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Controls for the game, as mentioned previously, are pretty intuitive once the different abilities are granted. Just make sure you don’t forget about certain abilities – I found myself dancing a lot less than I would’ve liked to. The camera can be a bit tedious now and then, especially when attempting to change perspectives without ascending or descending. The list for changing into things you’ve previously been can be a bit annoying to maneuver, but you’ll get used to it if you really find yourself needing to be a Snowman. Also, you can tell if you’ve been something or not based on if the circle around them is white or colored, making the collection process easier. Animations for the game are minimal, with larger animals moving around by rolling in four poses – no changes to the models themselves – they’re just rotated 90 degrees four times. While this may seem lazy, it’s actually pretty funny and doesn’t ruin the experience at all. The smaller creatures bounce around, while continents grow and diminish about how you’d expect.

Honestly speaking, Everything isn’t something you’ll want to put on if you’re in the mindset of killing some bad guys and hearing a snarky protagonist. My wife was playing Stardew Valley while I played this and kept asking what was going on, and if you needed to be on drugs to enjoy it. While I’m sure drugs would no doubt have an effect on the “experience” the game provides, I can say they are not needed. It’s also probably not going to be a game that you put on at a party unless you want something running as a screensaver. But it is something special, and something worth playing if you have the time and willingness to take a philosophical dive into the existence of the universe and everything in it, regardless of your beliefs.

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While I would like to say that this game is a buy, I know that a good majority of people wouldn’t appreciate it at the full cost. However, I do believe that people should play it, even those that think it’s not their thing. So for the majority of people, this is the rating it’s receiving.

RENT

Pros

  • Be Everything
  • Be Nothing
  • Be

Cons

  • Annoying Camera

Everything was developed by David OReilly & Damien Di Fede and published by Double Fine Presents & David OReilly. The game launches on PS4 March 21st, 2017 and PC/Mac on April 21st, 2017 for $14.99. The game was provided to us for review on PS4. If you’d like to see more of Everything, check out the official site.

 

Here at FFoP we use a rating method that you may be unfamiliar with, so allow us to clarify. When we review a game, we see what sort of BRA fits. Buy, Rent, or Acquire is the rating we give out – we’ve boiled it down for simplicity. A Buy is worth the full retail value; a Rent is something you may want to try before you buy, or grab at a discount; an Acquire is something you can play, but we’d suggest borrowing it from someone, grabbing it in a game bundle, or some other means. If you want further clarification, please feel free to get in touch.

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