David O’Reilly’s Everything is an ambitious attempt at tackling a massive scale, and succeeds where No Man’s Sky didn’t.
Everything walks a fine line between a game and a semi-educational experience. It promises the ability to control anything and everything, from a tiny microbe right up to an entire galaxy. That sounds like a recipe for a game that bites off more than it can chew, but in Everything this actually works out precisely because it’s not a traditional kind of game.
In Everything, you start off by controlling a horse – or rather ‘inhabiting’ a horse. You can’t gallop around, jump, or do anything you’d normally expect a horse to do. Instead, you can move by tumbling around and you can sing and dance in order to create more horses. This is also true for everything else you can inhabit in the game, but it’s a ‘simplification’ that works in the game’s favor – if Everything had given us more options than it does then we’d quickly be looking at a “why can’t I do this?” type of situation. And yes, I realize it’s ironic that it’s a limitation that ends up working in favor of a game called “Everything”.
What you CAN do, is scale up and down towards other living and inanimate objects, creating an almost overwhelming sense of scale and exploration. This is also where the only “game” element comes in, which is presented in challenges to find certain objects within the game universe – and this often turns into a trial and error affair as you go looking for said object on one planet after another. If you don’t enjoy the exploration that comes with that, then this isn’t the game for you. Objectives are far and few between, and if you prefer your games linear than you’re also better off looking elsewhere.
The notions of scale, existence and one’s place in the universe are also explored in the philosophical voiceovers that the game – they’re interesting, thought-provoking, and probably not everyone’s cup of tea. Which makes it challenging to rate a game like Everything. Then again…. there’s a crowd out there that will think that Doom is absolutely worthless as well, and it’s just a case of being interested in the approach and subject matter. That group of people will be smaller for a game like Everything, but those who are intrigued by its premise will definitely not be disappointed in this unique interactive experience. I would love to see an experience like this play out in virtual reality with surround sound though – hopefully that’s something to look forward to in the future.