At the end of All Star Superman, there’s a scene where it looks like Lex Luthor has won. He’s found a way to give himself Superman’s powers and used those powers to overcome Superman and the military. He is talking about taking over the White House and generally ruling the world when he suddenly stops. He starts to see the world the way Superman sees it, saying that he can “actually see the machinery and wire connecting and separating everything since it all began.” That idea everything is interconnected leads Luthor to have a change of heart before Superman regains the upper hand (the plot implications of that change of heart are hotly debated). I thought about Luthor’s experience – the discovery of interconnectedness leading to feelings of empathy – a lot while playing Everything, the game in which you can become everything.
Everything is a pretty easy game to play. I started as an hoofed animal (a goat, I think), rolling around the countryside; creatures don’t move in the traditional way in the game, they roll forward and backwards. That oddity is pretty quickly replaced by wonder, however, as you swap your control of one animal for another. I jumped into a tree and started roaming the grasslands as a tree or a boulder or a mountain. From the mountain I became the island we inhabited, then the planet we were on, then the galaxy we were in. That’s only one direction you can go; you can shrink into smaller critters, microscopic bacteria, and even subatomic particles. I’ve heard that you can become everything in our world in the game but I haven’t found everything just yet.
Bouncing between objects is fun for a while but it wouldn’t necessarily captivate your interest forever. The graphics are functional but not groundbreaking and the gameplay is pretty basic. Fortunately, as you play you come across some recordings of a lecture by Alan Watts in which he talks about the illusions of separation between things. The game winds up feeling a bit like Cibele, another game in which the gameplay feels like a vehicle for the background dialogue. The lectures seem to pop up randomly at various points of gameplay but I found myself hunting for them and I was excited when I found them in the jungle, or in the nucleus of an atom, or at the end of the universe.
A lot of games ask you to imagine a world different than your own. Wolfenstein asks you to consider a world run by Nazis. Resident Evil tosses you into a world loaded with nightmarish monsters and zombies. Horizon: Zero Dawn puts you into a post-apocalyptic future occupied by homicidal robotic dinosaurs. Everything is different. Everything doesn’t take you anyplace else; rather, it asks you to think about everything that’s here. Everything may be the first game that made me think about my own world differently and to question my own understanding of my existence. It’s a smart, fun, fantastic experience that may be one of the most important gaming experiences of the year. We’re a little late to the party, but – if you haven’t already – go play Everything.
THE BEST PARTS
The game is fascinating and intelligent, giving you a enormous universe to explore
THE WORST PARTS
The graphics and gameplay can feel a little clunky and every now and then I had a hard time finding an animal or object to jump in to.
OUR TAKE: BUY IT
There’s nothing like Everything. This is a smart, philosophical title that is well worth your time and money.