There’s a tips page in Everything's Help menu. The first bullet point on this list of hints is by far the most important, and it informs you of exactly the type of game you’re about to play. It doesn’t tell you about a specific feature, or tell you any controls, or give you a goal of any kind. It simply reads, "You cannot make a mistake."
It’s such a freeing statement, in fact, that I’ve spent almost 20 hours absorbing all the eccentricities of this mystifying game. Removing the ability to fail invites the player to really make the most of Everything’s weird and wonderful world, and I love this sense of aimlessness. You can just exist, float around, discover new creatures and objects to embody, or even put the pad down and let the game simply play for you, and you’re never penalised for anything. It’s tranquil, and peaceful, and brilliant.
The accompanying excerpts from Alan Watts’ philosophical lectures reinforce the chilled out nature of the experience. The existential musings of Watts perfectly soundtrack whatever it is you might be doing, and it’s so easy to let Everything take you on an almost spiritual journey, such is the depth of the subject matter. On its own this would maybe get a little heavy, but thankfully the game is just as comical as it is profound. The power to control any of the game’s thousands of objects grants you the ability to create some fabulously ridiculous scenes. You could transform a star into a star-sized toaster, and turn all the orbiting planets into planet-sized toasters, and then sit back and enjoy your toaster-verse. You could drive a school bus along the bottom of the ocean, or spawn a blue whale into the middle of a city and drift through the streets. Why? Well, why not?
The pointlessness of what you do in Everything is the point. Not every game needs a checklist of goals, or some kind of destination to reach, or even a definitive end. Sometimes I quite enjoy the idea of hopping into a game like this one and just dossing about with it for half an hour. I’ve seen most of what Everything has to offer at this point, but it has such a relaxing vibe that I just can’t get enough of. It’s not the first game that’s had this effect on me: Noby Noby Boy on PS3 was another title that I could dip into, muck around with it for a bit, and then jump back out once I’d had my fill. Okay, so it did have a loose goal of adding length to the spacefaring GIRL on her journey across the solar system, but the point is that there was a sense of playfulness at its heart that allowed you to do whatever you wanted, and you never felt you were playing incorrectly.
I suppose you could say that these types of experiences are more like toys than typical video games, and that’s probably true. In Everything’s case, you have a vast sandbox environment to explore and playable characters of all shapes and sizes upon which to project yourself. It’s honestly nice to come back to a game with zero pressures after playing something quite intense or action-focused. It acts as a fantastic palate cleanser, and I would encourage anyone with a taste for unique experiences to give it a try. There’s no need to feel intimidated by the prospect of playing as everything. Remember, "You cannot make a mistake."
Do you agree with Stephen's thoughts on Everything and its freeform gameplay? Have you had similar experiences, or do you prefer having objectives? Clear your mind in the comments section below.