For the purpose of transparency, this review was completed using a review code provided by Double Fine. The use of a review code does not affect my judgement of this product.
Where do I start when reviewing this acid trip of a game called Everything, I think the best place is mentioning that it was created by David OReilly an Irish Film-maker known for creating distinctive 3D animated films and his work on Adventure Time. As the title of the game suggests, you as a player can take control of Everything in this sand-box exploration game; from single cell organisms to the planets they’re on.
The game started with me as a gazelle on what I am assuming was meant to represent earth, as I started to explore the planet it was soon evident on how vast it was, but nothing stood out to me as exceptional. On the planet I came across other animals, rocks, plants and trees. As you move through the first few hours with the game it’s very much a large tutorial, but this really does open your eyes to the scale of this game. You soon learn how to transfer yourself between other animals, plants and rocks – so you soon become a plant and then you can still move about and explore the planet as a plant, this does really feel strange at the time.
As you continue get more information, one piece being everything on the planet is capable of thought – which is represented by a thought bubble when you can interact with it. At first this seems a bit crazy as a rock might tell you it does not like people, a plant might tell you it hasn’t spoken to anyone for a while, or an animal might tell you some things on the planet will tell lies – you can access all these thoughts again via a menu.
The tutorial is still going at this point, and you soon get thought about moving between things like becoming the land mass of the planet you were on, to moving out to the galaxy and moving between other plants, stars, milky ways – I will stop here because as I have said you can basically become everything on the game.
Soon you are thought how to group the same species together, how to make them sing, and how to make to dance – which in turn leads to another one of the species being born, so a mating dance if you look at it that way. Now again another thing that makes you stop and think ‘what am I playing?‘ is everything can do this mating dance – so just say you are controlling a building that looks like flats, if they dance a little baby building will be born. As the game moves on, and you start to explore more and more you can see why David OReilly was perfect for working on Adventure Time.
One thing I loved about Everything was as you start to explore the planet as more and more things, you will start to unlock audio files by British philosopher Alan Watts, who died in 1973. These are recordings from a lecture, that in turn will match with the idea of Everything in a weird and wonderful way. This lecture is on the nature of reality, and is there to make you question who you are – this really does work with the game, and adds extra charm to it.
Looking at the visuals of the game, to me they weren’t anything special – but to me that is not what the game is aiming for, the charm is in the exploration in the game. The thing that go me with the game was the odd choice of some of the animations used – for example the larger four-legged animals seemed like solid toys from a toy-box, which rotate in a rolling motion to move. Other than this the lands are quite vast, and pretty plain and basic – but I was pleased with how some parts of the game looked, especially when getting out to the galaxy controlling the stars and planets.
Gameplay wise they’re really isn’t a huge amount to Everything – you basically just have this massive procedural generated worlds to explore. So you’re looking at walking, communicating with other objects, singing, bonding, reproducing by dance, and taking control of anything your heart desires. When it comes to bonding at first you can only bond to the same species, but as the game goes on you can bond anything (limited by a set amount that is allowed at one). At this point seeing this cluster of things move around really did remind of another crazy game know as Katamari Damacy. There was one feature I really loved, if you leave the game it will start to play itself and it was quite fun at times to sit back and just watch the game does.
I believe that game has an end-goal, but it will take you a longtime to get there and it will be a frustrating time – as you may be tasked with finding something you experienced on another galaxy/planet. Now where this may not sound that bad, this could be one you were on hours before, and there is no way to identify which planet it would have been on. But, while doing this you are going to experience some great things, but for me that is what this is all about the experiences – and you should maybe take it as an experience and not a game to get the best out of it.
One thing I can say is Everything is very much a marmite game – your either going to love it or hate it. I would give it time though, because at first the pointless nature of what you are doing might be off-putting for some, however, as soon as the tutorial opens up there is a lot more to the game. The reason I recommend doing this is; at first I was not taken into the game, but as I learnt more through the lengthy tutorial I really understood what David OReilly was doing with this game – and now I can plunge hours into it at a time.
Given how bizarre and original this game is I am really going to struggle to score it by Game Bulletin’s usual format – so in this case the game will just be given an overall score.
If you have any questions about the review, or want to let me know what you think – feel free to tweet me @TattasticGamer
Everything does exactly what the name suggests, and lets you control everything. The amount of exploration and control in the game really makes it endless. Add to this the weird and wonderfully matched narration by Alan Watts, and the game becomes a truly unique but bizarre experience like you’ve never had before – and it really should be taken as an experience and not a game.