Review: Everything (PS4)

Formats:

  • PlayStation 4
  • PC, Mac

Format/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4
  • HDTV

Extras:

  • DualShock 4 Required (1)
  • Move None
Title: Everything
Format: PSN (3.50 GB)
Release Date: March 21, 2017
Publisher: Double Fine Presents / David OReilly
Developer: David OReilly
Original MSRP: $14.99
ESRB Rating: E
PEGI: 3
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Gameplay:
What if I told you there was a game that allowed you to play as anything you can see? You’d probably say that the idea sounded cool, but probably impossible. Well, apparently it is possible because Everything does just that, it allows you to play everything. It’s more of an interactive experience than a game because the level of interaction is limited and there are few goals to accomplish.

Players start out as an animal and from there they can explore the world and learn the features. The first thing that you’ll notice are the walking animations, or lack thereof. Instead of an actual walking animation all the creatures with legs just hilariously flip forward, stiff as a board.

I was taken aback by the character movements and for some people it might give the whole experience a “budget” feel, but I found the animations to be charming.

The actual gameplay is limited with the only real goal being to jump from thing to thing. You can literally be anything in this game. I jumped from animals to plants and eventually found myself being something as small as a molecule and something as big as an entire galaxy.

… the lack of guidance might be a problem for some players …
I was impressed by what I was able to become from a technical standpoint and that was enough for me to have a good time. I spent somewhere around two hours before I hit what I believe was the “end” and I feel like I only messed with a small fraction of what is available to explore.

The game is rather open ended and the lack of guidance might be a problem for some players. When I first started playing I began to feel somewhat bored just exploring the area, but as soon as I left the planet I was hooked. Exploring the galaxy is fantastic and the gimmick of being anything really takes off from that point and leads to interesting places.

Most worlds are filled with animals and vegetation, but I wanted to find human life. After galaxy hopping I found a satellite and I was filled with excitement and curiosity. Up until that point I just came across animals and small signs of human existence like a campfire and small hut.

As soon as I found that satellite though I knew I was getting close and when I found myself in a city I was thrilled. There were cars, buildings, and pizza. No humans sadly.

… Alan Watts is used to help add a deeper meaning to Everything
And like the rest of the experience, everything in that modern city could be taken over and controlled. I was a slice of pizza, a bus, and an entire building. Oddly though they all acted and controlled like the animals which entertained me, but might bother others.

That’s pretty much it in terms of gameplay, you hop from thing to thing and see where that takes you. There is a little bit of story with little interactions and some voiceover from philosopher Alan Watts discussing the meaning of life. The game achieves its premise of being everything, but it does not do enough to make it as groundbreaking as it could be.

Visuals:
The visuals are rather simple. Animals and worlds are kind of bland in terms of detail with most of them being very polygonal. After playing for a bit I fully understood why the developers needed to go this route since the scale is so large.

Being able to go from a solar system, to a bug, to something as small as an atom is insane and difficult. The technical aspect is staggering and the visuals take a slight hit in detail when it comes to characters models and structures.

Everything only becomes more impressive the longer you play and you witness where it can take you.

Audio:
The score from Austin Wintory (Journey, flOw) is flat out fantastic. The music is the type that encourages exploration and has the ability to nudge the player in the right direction. I love a score that avoids overshadowing the game and instead works cohesively with it like this one does.

The work of Alan Watts is used to help add a deeper meaning to Everything with his talks on life and how we as people view the world being found throughout the experience. Players will find short recordings of the philosopher, each of which have deep and interesting things to say that go along with what is happening. These recordings are crucial to the experience because without them it would feel somewhat meaningless.

Online/Multiplayer:
This game is singleplayer only with no online component.

Conclusion:
The entertainment value here is going to be very subjective. It’s not an experience for everybody. The idea peaked my curiosity enough to get me through the main thread, but I don’t think there’s much there to get me to come back.

Everything has its moments of awe as well as its moments of dullness. I was able to get a lot out of it by embracing its quirkiness and getting lost in its exploration. Overall it’s a weird experience, but if anything mentioned here piqued your interest I would recommend checking it out. Don’t let the bizarre animations and slow start deter you because there are some worthwhile experiences to be had here.

Score:
7.0

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

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