Let me read the dictionary definition of “awesome”: ‘causing or inducing awe; inspiring an overwhelming feeling of reverence, admiration, or fear.’
Transcribed review after the jump!
Scratching the surface
So, just know, when I say that Everything is Awesome, I’m not referring to the Lego Movie theme song or catching a killer wave, brah.
Everything, the new indie game from David O’Reilly with backing from Double Fine, induced awe on several occasions. At one point, taking control of a truly massive entity to be precise, I looked over at Jessica to find that both of our jaws had dropped.
Everything is meant to emulate, well, everything. After a somewhat tedious and exploratory tutorial, you learn to attract members of your species, to see other creature’s thoughts, and to be patient.
Everything without moderation
I thought that patience would be the norm for most of the game. Flipping and flopping about, building a herd, doing as animals do, required a lot of time.
Then a random bit of advice taught me to jump into smaller life forms. Soon after, I learned to leap into larger creatures. Before I knew it, I was zipping around an ocean. A few buttons pressed later and oh no I’m a universe.
The game goes from about 5mph to 100 in the bat of an eye. And, as many rocks and giraffes and penguins will warn you, it doesn’t matter which way you go because you’ll get to where you need to.
Interpreting the game as art, Everything is the highest form of decision-making. Whatever you do is your choice. It’s never life-or-death. There is no real tension to be found. Your exploration fuels the experience.
Similarities to the past
Four years ago, I covered a game called Proteus where your movements around the world created music that clashed and harmonized. I was reminded of it several times playing Everything.
They’re not similar games, to be exact. Yet, as was the case then, I found myself hurrying to discover new things to do and new lands to explore.
At times, you’re sailing around with universal grace, breaching new levels of existence, and then suddenly there’s… there’s this.
Absurdity and depth mingle so well. Other than thoughts and tutorials, you also discover snippets of a lecture about existence throughout the universe. It was such a confusing sensation to flop around like an idiot while being filled with actual, complex questions.
From the smallest of granules to the largest of solar systems, you can truly become everything that the game presents to you.
By becoming something, you must bond with it in order to bounce to something else. It seems somewhat trivial and never really amounted to anything other than a five-to-ten second hindrance, which makes me wonder if it’s more of a way to prevent rapidly jumping between hosts.
All told, though, I started getting the sinking suspicion that I had seen everything the game had to offer before the first hour was up. That’s not to say I’m done with it. I’ll keep exploring for as long as it takes to grow bored.
The controls are mostly smooth. It takes a while to get used to how interacting with the world works once you start gathering a herd. Much like the rest of the game, its simplicity allows for some major moments.
Just know that this is one of those games, as so many like to say. It’s not quite a walking simulator, but it’s pretty damn close. More like a… philosophical mass manipulation simulator. If a pointless, thoughtful experience unlike any other appeals to you then you’re going to enjoy Everything.
Because of that, I’m giving Everything a Golden Penny. It is the second best award possible.
While its longevity hinges entirely on individual tastes, I still think Everything is worth a try.