Game Review #136: EVERYTHING (Nintendo Switch)
Reviewer: Bradford “The Waffinator” Ekstrom
Developer: David O’Reilly
Publisher: Double Fine
Category: Simulation, Adventure, Other
Release Date: 01.10.2019
Price (at time of review): $14.99
Buy EVERYTHING from the Nintendo eShop here.
Life, the Universe, and EVERYTHING…
Have you ever found yourself wondering what we are meant to be in life, what life would be like as a galaxy, or even a piece of grass? Well guess what, in EVERYTHING, you get to be literally eeeeeevvvvvveeeeerrrrrrrrrryyyyyyyyything! You start off floating through space as a tiny little life force, questioning your existence. Then, the next thing you know, you are a random animal. I started the game four times; the first two times I was an elephant, the next time I was a bear, and the last time I was a moose.
Literally this whole simulation game is about questioning life, existence, if we are alive or dead, and how do we know? How do we know what life really feels like? How do we know that life is to be alive? How do we know if death isn’t really the ultimate freedom and when we are really alive? This game brings a whole new meaning to simulation and being in control of the life of another, because you are everything that is in existence and what we know about. You start off with nothing but just your character, and as you stroll around, you will find this random diamond-shaped sign which opens more and more to you.
As I was saying, you start off not knowing anything, which means there are no buttons to use, because you can’t do anything other than walk around (left thumbstick) and look around (right thumbstick). But, as you find the diamonds and talk to other objects, animals, and everything that exists, you learn more, which opens up more to you. So, before you know it, that right thumbstick that was just for looking around can now help you sing (which is talking, because talking is our song) by clicking the thumbstick in. The Y button will eventually allow you to gather more of your kind and travel as a herd, so if you are a penguin and walk up to other penguins, you press Y and they will follow you. Getting annoyed of all the penguins now following you, even though you told them to? Well don’t worry, just push and hold the B button and they will stop following you—once you learn the skill, that is.
The two best commands you eventually learn are how to Ascend and Descend. Ascend (ZR) is when you can walk up to something that is bigger than you, or look up to something bigger than you, and use ZR to send your little spiritual orb up into it. Descend (ZL) is when you look at something (you guessed it) smaller than you, and can turn into that smaller something. So, for a simulation game that gives you all kinds of possibilities, the controls are very basic and user friendly. My six-year-old was able to pick it up with no problem.
This is where the game really loses me, and I really couldn’t stand it. It was more on the cheesy side, and not in a good and fun way, but more of a “what am I looking at and what am I doing?” way. The reason I say this is not the graphics themselves, but how animals and such move around. For example, you are this big old beautiful elephant, and instead of taking nice big steps, you flop around. It looks like watching a toddler take a solid elephant toy and roll it around the floor. I really couldn’t stand it—and neither could the wife or mother-in-law—but my six-year-old and 20-month-old couldn’t stop laughing, so it’s good if you’re a kid. Sadly, I didn't.
As for the sounds and what it offered audibly-wise, that was just as mediocre. It was very bland, and there was nothing catchy sound-wise whatsoever, but let me slightly take this statement back but only slightly. The reason I say slightly is because there was one cool aspect audio-wise, and that was listening to British philosopher Alan Watts talk about life each time you found the audio recording diamonds throughout the game.
Overall, this is the simulator of all simulators in a “great concept” way, but playing-wise, it really wasn’t my cup of tea at all. It felt like there was no real reasoning to the game; no overall objectives or goals. I like games that have a purpose and goals, not games that make me question my own life! I mean, like I said though, my six-year-old did enjoy it longer than I did for the whole half-hour that it kept him entertained.
Buy EVERYTHING from the Nintendo eShop here.
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