Reviewed by Thomas
Everything is a philosophical journey which leads you on a quest to discovering more about the relationship of all things in the universe through a multitude of perspectives.
I have a hard time labeling Everything as a video game. It’s so much more than that. Though it is an interactive experience, Everything has masterfully crafted a unique voyage for the player and the viewer. My children and I took turns discovering what Everything had to offer. It’s just as pleasurable to watch as it is to be in control. In fact, you can set the game to self play and sit back and relax.
Getting Hold of the Wiggly World
This thought provoking interactive universe lets you take control of, well, Everything. We began our journey as a solitary rhinoceros traversing the grasslands. The vast plains were inhabited by various animals, flora and fauna. The land seemed to have no end in sight. Limited by the perspective of a small beast, it was no surprise the world seemed huge.
The tutorial takes you through this new world and how you can interact with it. As you progress, you learn to control other objects. You can ascend to something greater like a towering palm and even the desert continent on which you previously roamed. The opposite is true that you can descend to a scorpion scattering around the dusty floor or a tooth wasting in the sand. Once in control of an object, whether animate or inanimate, you can move around your space in search of similar things. When surrounded by peers you communicate by singing to them. Once properly introduced you can form a group. Having your group of vehicles dance is both therapeutic and serves purpose in creating new life. Even if that life is a baby police car. Singing between other species can garner a variety of responses. As a pack of wolves I sang to some deer. They responded in fear and ran away. Other times I would get confused or happy responses. Everything is all about harmony and peace. There is no balance in the food chain, no fighting or violence. The wolves never actually attack the deer, nor do the deer eat the grass. The goal is to become one with your current item and venture out and find thoughts. Icons depicted as thought bubbles appear on screen to guide you. While continuing thusly, you’ll encounter a circular icon. These can be activated to play audio of the late philosopher, Alan Watts.
Though I didn’t agree with every point Alan Watts made, I couldn’t argue with my fascination of listening to him and pondering the deeper meaning of what he suggests. The philosophical narration of Alan Watts does a tremendous job creating a serene atmosphere to reflect on life and our place in the universe. The blend of seeing from another point-of-view while having your mind challenged to think outside of yourself made Everything a memorable, and potential life changing, experience.
I want to be clear that Everything isn’t the type of simulation game which fans of the genre may be looking for. You aren’t building planet and watching it grow into a galaxy. There’s no strategy by balancing resources and monitoring statistical bars to measure progress. This isn’t a hardcore experience that kept me playing for “one more turn” and the minutes blurred into hours. The opposite is true, however, for my youngest daughter. She could play Everything for hours on end.
No Such Things As Things
To say there’s a story to Everything isn’t entirely true in the traditional sense of this entertainment medium. You are free to be whatever you want and go where ever you want. In addition to exploring your immediate surroundings, you can also morph into an elephant the size of a planet in outer space. The bizzare is not hard to find and is rarely limited by your imagination. There is no singular character you control. There is no script outside the thought bubbles and the audio clips of Alan Watts. All of which can be ignored. The story of Everything is going to be different for each person depending on the amount of time and devotion they put into this sojourn. For me it was a story of finding my place in the universe and how I can impact my surroundings in real life. For example, I cruised around a sidewalk as a bent cigarette butt. I passed a lot of discarded trash, a lost padlock and a lone gummy bear drawing the attention of cockroaches. Seeing the world from these seemingly insignificant things made me think. What litter and garbage have I left behind? What do I do to improve the world on a small scale? If I can’t make an impact on things so minut, how can I hope to change the larger problems we face? I would venture to say each person will get something different from Everything. It all starts by seeing the world differently and from another point of view.
A Pattern of Immense Complexity
Everything is a very tranquil game where the music quickly puts you at ease and keeps you centered in a peaceful adventure. The joy of having the serene music play as a cluster of galaxies dance to create new galaxies is a beautiful experience. The simplistic art style is perfect for the journey Everything takes you on. The shear number of assets are amazing. The amount of things contained with in this vast space is incredible. The choppy rolling movement of the animals was at first bizarre and distracting. That feeling quickly went away when my children and I watched our rhino roll down a hill as a zebra rolled past us. The joy and laughter we experienced when our humble rhino learned to move in its world won’t soon be forgotten. Likewise, when we learned to sing to other animals, my family and I sat for five minutes watching the exchange between our rhino and a camel as they sang to each other. We couldn’t stop laughing.
The Whole Thing Bugs Itself
There were a couple technical issues I came across in Everything. At times there would be a short lag when entering a zone with a lot going on. This was more common than the other problem and didn’t slow down the gameplay. The other issue found would crash the game. Whenever I tried to turn a continent into an arctic wolf, Everything would shut down. Aside from those issues, Everything looked and played beautifully. Playing in docked mode was a lot of fun. It allowed the whole family to participate and enjoy the exciting discoveries. For owners of multiple consoles, Nintendo Switch is the ideal platform to buy Everything for. Handheld mode made the experience even more personal. Having control right in front of you with headphones on was very pleasing.
Everything isn’t a traditional video game. It’s an experience. There isn’t deep strategy or an engrossing story. You aren’t building a universe to return to or micromanaging a city with dozens of stats to keep in the green. Instead, Everything is perfect for those bad days. The unlucky days when you’re late to work and you step in gum while dropping your morning cup of joe. Everything does a phenomenal job providing solace and easing tension. Everything is a title every gamer should add to their library.
My Children’s Two Cents
My family loved Everything. We had as much fun watching each other play as we do with a family oriented couch co-op game.
My 11 year old son found the gameplay enjoyable and wished he could have more turns. He really liked the bizarre world and the humor in the game.
My 9 year old daughter loved creating hoards of objects and controlling the continents.
My 6 year old little girl enjoyed Everything the most. As mentioned above, she could play for hours. She loved finding stars in space and making them dance.
- Self Reflection
- Deep Thoughts
- Varied Perspectives
- Calming and Peaceful
- Simple Game Play
- Simple Game Play
- Can’t Morph Islands into Arctic Wolves