System: Nintendo Switch
Developer/ Publisher: David OReilly
Price: £11.69|$14.99 |€ 12,99
Age Rating: Europe 3+| America E
Release Date: January 10th 2019
Also Available On: PS4, Steam
No review code was used, I bought it myself
If you are a regular reader of the site, you will know I can’t resist a quirky game that’s quite different from the regular fare. So when I saw the title Everything in the eShop, I couldn’t resist. It’s described as a simulation/ communication game in the category ” other”. And I knew I just had to try it. By the way, a fun game to search for on the internet…typing Everything Switch will get you all sorts of Switch things, lol.
Let’s get going….or rolling
Starting the game, you come to life as an animal. There are several random animals for your first journey. For instance, I’ve been a cow and a mountain lion. The type of animal determines the landscape: my mountain lion lived in a rocky desert, while my cow lived on verdant green rolling hills.
As soon as you are aware of your surroundings, you’ll start rolling around. The way creatures role is something that can put a damper on it at first. It’s like a toy figurine rolling headlong over your game screen. Looks really, really weird, and in a way I wished they had just let the animals slide over the screen. Luckily after the first hour, you don’t really notice it anymore and you’ll see it’s a very appropriate way to move for other creatures and things.
At first, I had no clue at what I was supposed to do. But, patience is all that is needed. Everything slowly introduces you to all you can and must do to progress. There are three save files to the game, and for every new game you have to go through the first steps to unlock everything which is a bit of a pity.
The tutorial slowly unfolds
The first thing the game teaches you is that you can sing by pushing the R-stick. Singing is a good way to let your existence be known. Either to scared animal who view you (in the form of a mountain lion) as a deadly threat. Or you can find others like you and join with them by pressing Y.
In due course you find that dancing together pressing X with the others after joining them you can produce little min-me’s and create a family. The biggest fun however is in descending or ascending (depending on your size) into other things.
Touching nothing makes the game go into autoplay. Your animal/particle/plant etc rolls on its own, finding interesting things (or not). Just for the fun of it!
Pressing “-” gives the menu, with a good Help section. The help cards open up once you’ve reached that part of the tutorial.
But…what is the real gameplay?
I was struggling at first: what am I supposed to do? Well, you collect things.
It works like this: say you are a cow. Seeing a patch of grass enables you to descend into that patch, finding that it’s not just a grass patch. On a smaller level (like in Honey I Shrunk the Kids) you see not just grass, but various flowers, ladybugs, pebbles and snails. Descending even further you see the splinter of wood, bacteria and pollen. And descending further yet you also see the particles of which it’s made.
Ascending works the same way: from the biggest tree you’ll ascend in the skies, ascend into the green planet, into the Milky Way, into the universe etc. And descending again you can go to a different landmass, leaving the desert behind and go into for instance the ice plains.
Trying to fill up the catalogue of things is what’s the fun in Everything for me. All is categorised (trees, plants, animals etc) and you try to build up all there is to see. What amazed me is that you also register items like old coins, a ring and a tent. I felt that didn’t belong here, because all other things are life forms.
Philosophical talks included
Along your path you find little thought blurbs; clicking on them you see the thought of that specific being near to you. These thoughts are collected in The Mind. You can check back to see the Mind blurbs in a sort of hive of blocks. Some of them are amusing, but on the whole they didn’t make much sense to me.
Plus, if you see a circle with little circles in it, clicking on them you hear the voice of philosopher Alan Watts. (A British-American philosopher (1915- 1973) who interpreted and popularised Eastern philosophy for a Western audience.) On the website they tell you that Alan’s lectures are crucial to the meditative gameplay of Everything. But if I’m honest, I’m not so sure. I tried listening to him, but after a couple of words he is losing me. To me it’s a mish mash of theoretical discussions with lines thrown in that don’t seem to make any sense, like “All Thing is No Thing”. Maybe someone else finds it interesting, but I turned it off. You can do that in the settings under Thoughts. I play the game to relax and not to think too deeply about the meaning of life. It’s up to you to decide if it’s a valuable part of Everything.
Is this your kind of game?
Well, I think I can only answer this for myself. Yes, it is my kind of game. I like ascending and descending and in that way, building my library of things. It’s soothing gameplay, every way you play the game is fine. The soundtrack adds to the soothing feeling, no pressure, no stress. You can even let the item you bonded will role around on its own.
At the same time I realise this game isn’t for everyone. Maybe it’s not even the right fit for the majority of gamers. But consider this: did Happy Birthdays appeal to you? I liked that game a lot (find my review here ) and Everything very much reminds me of that game. Everything costs about a third of Happy Birthdays, which is fitting as Happy Birthdays is a game that’s more sleek, visually pleasing and has a bit more bone to the gameplay.
Still, I want to give Everything an I Like It!