I never done any hard drugs in my life, any drugs for that matter, but playing Everything sure as hell made me feel that I was high. Everything is a game by artist, David OReilly, whose previous title was a little known game called Mountain. While Mountain was more of a dynamic wallpaper with minimal to no gameplay, Everything is a surreal experience where you try to control anything and everything.
Platform Reviewed: PS4
Platform Available: Xbox One, PC, PS4
Developer: David OReilly
Publisher: Double Fine
Release Date: March 21, 2017
This review is based on a review code provided by the developers/publisher.
The game starts with you being a tiny light floating in a vast nothing. You wonder around aimlessly for a while until you suddenly turn into something. For me, I was turned into a Muskox, an animal that I am not familiar with, in the middle of the dessert and the game really starts from there. This is where the game shows its trippy side.
The animals are stiff and move by rotating the actual character model 90 degrees at a time towards the direction you want to go. Everything (not the game) is covered in a white haze commonly found in dream sequences. You wonder around with no real sense of direction and occasionally talk to rocks, trees and other animals. See what I mean by being high?
While most of the conversations are text ramblings that sometimes comment on the situation you are in at the moment, there are those that push the game forward. These conversations are by some sort of rainbow-colored polygonal marker. You will spend most of the game combing the map for these markers as they almost always introduce a new gameplay mechanic. You start off small like learning how to run, sing, dance, and even control other similar creatures, the best mechanic in the game would be the one where you learn how to perceive the world as other beings. This basically means that you can change what you are controlling.
When you start controlling other creatures is when you get a sense of the game’s purpose. The game becomes a collect-a-thon. You start changing into other creatures and even inanimate objects. You do this by either ascending into a bigger thing or descending into a smaller one. You start trying to become everything in sight. I went from being a Muskox to a deer, a tree, a rock. Suddenly I noticed that I can jump up or down in general scale. By this I mean you can go from a standard size animal and jump into the perspective of an insect or from a grass to a tree. Do this a couple of times and suddenly in space or are surrounded by micro organisms. Jump down from microscopic space and go subatomic. If you have seen the movie Ant-Man, the visuals of this level will be very familiar to you.
Ever heard of the popular sci-fi concept that an atom contains another universe? This is explored in the game a little bit. When you ascend into the space and universe, going another level higher will bring you to a place similar to the subatomic space mentioned earlier. Ascending from there brings you to the microscopic level. You can do this both ways. While probably just a way to limit gameplay without actually limiting it, I would like to believe that this is the artist’ take on that concept. It is basically talking about how size is relative. While universe is a huge unknown force to us, a bigger creature might perceive it the way we perceive atoms.
The reason why I think this concept is their take in this theory is because the game has audio logs that touches on the philosophies of self, life, and the universe.
The game has an autoplay feature. You can leave the game on and it will play itself similar to how Mountain was. I honestly unlocked quite a few trophies this way. Their autoplay options is strangely very robust. You can control what you can and cant do while in autoplay and even turn on what they call a documentary mode. The latter I turn on when I want to have an interesting wallpaper while the PS4 is busy downloading something.
After spending some good amount of time trying to collect anything and everything I come across, the game suddenly has a cutscene. You see your initial form, the piece of light, fly across time and space. This goes on for a good while and I thought to myself that I for some reason already completed the game. No no. Apparently I just completed the tutorial. This was at a point where I thought that I already experience all that the game has to offer. I was ecstatic at the idea of having to do more with the game. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
The main game was more of the same. There are new things that spice up the gameplay like being able to change your size and change into anything at will, regardless of where you are, it was not enough for me to want to continue playing. After the novelty of being a giant whale in space stopped, so did my want in playing this game.
Everything is not an experience for everyone. Considering how trippy and weird the game is, I guess the most enjoyment you are going to have with this game is when playing it with friends while drunk or high.
IT’S THE KIND OF GAME THAT MAKES YOU WONDER WHAT-COULD-HAVE-BEEN.
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