Everything is a game in which you can quite literally control any and everything. Where No Man’s Sky failed to deliver on its galaxy-hopping ambition, this indie project makes good on its titanic promise and is constantly impressive as a result.
Everything's explorative and seamless gameplay loop never ceased to blow my mind, but the sheer freedom won’t be to everyone’s taste.
It’s tonally odd then that this poignance is juxtaposed by bizarre animations and simplistic models that make traversal somewhat comedic. Ground-based creatures either glide along inanimate, wiggle as though a child were manipulating a toy across the floor, or, most amusingly, move in 90-degree increments (upright, flat on their face, standing on their head, lying on their back, then returning to the upright position). It makes for close comparison to the outlandishly bonkers Katamari series, which is interesting, because while Everything isn’t nearly as “video game-y”, they each convey a strong environmental message.
All things are sentient and capable of thought in developer David OReilly’s world: rocks worry that nobody will remember them once they’re gone, bugs wonder if their home will still be there when they return, and household objects lament not having spent more time with family members while they had the chance. When combined with the ability to see the world from new perspectives - for example, how powerless a blade of grass is as creatures tower over and threaten to trample it - the game’s purpose becomes quite striking. All the weird and wonderful things in our world are sharing in life together, so, whatever may happen, live and let live whilst enjoying what you have as best you can.
At this point, when the game has lodged its foot in your mind’s door, it proceeds to kick it all the way open, and the mindset you've been conditioned to adopt means you’ll very likely take it in your stride. I’ll avoid any specifics for fear of spoilers, but the game has no end and in time you’re given additional tools that allow you to wreak havoc on your perceived reality to some interesting effect.
As I reach my conclusion and declare that Everything is fascinating, technically astounding, even breathtakingly beautiful in spite of its simplistic presentation, but isn’t necessarily a great video game, you might wonder why this piece is listed as a feature and not a review. Sometimes a game defies being neatly defined by a numerical score - I thought State of Decay did in much the same way - bringing about an uncomfortable catch 22 as one conclusion does disservice to the artistic work, while another misleads the consumer I’m striving to advise. It’s in this situation I decline to do either, and part by recommending you give Everything a fair try should you find its concept intriguing.