Friday, January 11

Review: Everything [Nintendo Switch eShop]

Hrm… “experience titles”... they’re an interesting and varied bunch. Much like visual novels I’m still coming to terms with this genre and how they work, or sometimes don’t. That said, I respect that as the gaming industry grows it’s crucial to see diversity of all kinds, even when the “game” aspect can sometimes seem to be an afterthought. That’s where I struggle with Everything, a title that leans hard on a certain kind of experience and takes great pains to try to convey philosophical thoughts but that mechanically isn’t so much played as stumbled through.

This is definitely the sort of experience where it may be better to load up some video to see what happens rather than try to describe it. For me this is an interactive version of listening to someone in high school or college starting to trip out on concepts like the infinite, the universe, and how all things are connected. Mechanically you will take control first of an animal of some sort and then after meandering about you’ll acquire some new skills like attracting creatures like yourself, “talking”, and even “dancing” with your group which will apparently create offspring. Sound odd? That’s the just start of it.

The emphasis in the game is more what you’re able to do next, which is descend or ascend to smaller or larger objects. As you move from animal to plant to cells to atoms and then to the subatomic the game continues to get more and more visually trippy. Ascending you’ll be able to control not just a planet but then a sun and even a galaxy. It’s what you’re able to do next, pushing past the more easily understood limits of scale, where it then gets into the philosophical and as you explore you’ll begin to discover recordings from what seems to be a philosophy lecture that explore the nature of being and how things are connected to one another.

If this sounds fascinating, that’s great, and there’s a certain degree of entertainment in controlling a tree, a segmented fence that behaves a bit like a snake, or even planets. I find philosophy to be interesting and this visual exploration of some concepts is novel at a minimum, but just understand that it’s more of an exercise than a game. It does track what you’ve managed to take control of, and perhaps you’ll want to be sure you be every form of plant in the game but aside from that or simply tracking down all of the different info tidbits or audio clips there’s not much more that it has to offer. If none of the above has scared you off I’d think you’ll find Everything to be enjoyable, it’s just such an unusual experience that I can’t ignore the fact that it won’t be for everyone.

Score: 6

  • It can be interesting to take control of the many forms the game offers
  • The audio clips at least attempt to bring together some sense behind the experience

  • If you’re looking for any sort of gameplay this won’t be a good match
  • Depending on what you’re looking for there may not be much longevity here once you understand what it’s all about