Everything is an experience that actually allows you to be, as the title suggests, everything. Squirrels, rocks, pine trees, continents, microbes, whales, barrels, houses, salmon, bananas, galaxies, ladybirds, the list is huge, with around 3,000 things that you can become. If you can name it, you can probably be it. It’s mind-expanding, yet dull; it’s funny, but sad, and probably requires a degree in philosophy or, more likely, alcohol or other recreational aids to full enjoy the experience.
Everything is more like an interactive art project than a game with an end goal or deep and involving mechanics. All you do is explore the procedurally generated universe whilst noted English philosopher Alan Watts gives a lecture on the nature of being and how the universe is connected. Alan’s posh accent and the timbre of the recording make it sound like an old radio playing in the background adding to the relaxed tone of the experience, something you can bumble about in for hours without ever achieving much of anything, unless you count being a chatty teapot the size of a moon as one of your life goals.
To be a thing you simply select and warp into it, at which point you can roll, sprout, trundle or float across the landscapes and explore. If you encounter another thing of the same type, you can call to it and add it to you herd of whatevers and, if you are feeling creative, make them dance in whirling patterns until they are ready to spawn a new baby whatever. You can also move up and down through the various levels of play, moving down from the larger animals to insects, microbes, and then sub atomic particles, or go larger to become land masses, clouds, planets, and even entire galaxies.
The play area is never-ending and loops back around on itself. Go down deep enough past the subatomic layers and you emerge as a galaxy, or up through space with your current universe folding in and becoming an atom in yet another universe. It’s deep, both physically and metaphorically.
As you travel, no matter what you are, speech bubbles will pop up over other things you encounter, which you can then click on and read. These little thoughts emphasise how everything is connected, but also how alone in the world you can seem from a certain point of view. After a few hours of playing you will get the option to return to a golden structure that was in front of you at the start of the game and then, and this is no mean feat considering you may have spent the last half hour being a bus shelter, things get really weird.
Beware of minor spoilers below this gallery.
Diving into the golden structure takes you to an ambient space filled with objects which tell you their sad stories and woes. A slice of bacon explains, “I worked so hard my wife left me,” whilst a pool table asks for help to commit suicide. Trapped in this zone, you must work out how to escape this surreal nightmare yourself. I’m sure it’s meant to mean something about life, consciousness, or your disconnection with the universe, but it’s a little hard to fathom when you are an whizzing about as a 99 Flake.
Escaping from this zone, you’re greeted by a lovely, uplifting piece of music and a short cut scene as you fly through the many landscapes you have encountered and everything watches you streak across the sky. After the depressing bacon and suicidal pool tables, it’s a welcome relief and lifts your spirits no end.
What you get out of Everything will depend entirely on you. You may get bored within minutes just as easily as you could spend hours wandering around alien continents as a slice of pizza. I’m not sure it can be described as fun in a traditional sense, and it sometimes feels like you are being forced to sit through through a complex lecture mixed with a dash of group therapy, but other times it can be utterly hilarious as you make baby tractors by dancing.
As Everything is not a traditional game I feel scoring it traditionally would be a disservice, so I’m awarding it aeroplane out of postbox. Yes, you can become both of those things in Everything.
Version tested: PlayStation 4