EDGE - - GAMES - De­vel­oper David OReilly Pub­lisher Dou­ble Fine Pro­duc­tions For­mat PC, PS4 (tested) Re­lease Out now

David OReilly’s in­ter­ac­tive de­but in­vited us to watch a Moun­tain; for its suc­ces­sor, he’s cast his net much wider. Ev­ery­thing’s hook is the abil­ity to as­sume con­trol of, well, ev­ery­thing, living or oth­er­wise. You can com­man­deer a cow or hi­jack a street lamp, float around as a grain of sand, or ob­serve an ac­cel­er­ated daynight cy­cle as a shift­ing land­mass. It pur­ports to be an in­ter­ac­tive na­ture sim­u­la­tion, but that sug­gests a recog­nis­able im­i­ta­tion, when this is al­to­gether stranger.

OReilly gives his play­ers a lit­tle more to do, as well as be, this time. In­habit, say, a cedar tree, and you can turn one into a group by hold­ing a but­ton when ad­ja­cent to oth­ers. Later you’ll gain the abil­ity to draw in other flora, just as pago­das and sky­scrapers, or cakes and fried eggs, can band to­gether. You’ll as­cend and de­scend through lay­ers of ex­is­tence, mov­ing onto plan­ets, star clus­ters and en­tire gal­ax­ies un­til you reach an atomic level and the cy­cle starts anew. This time, the tini­est ob­ject you now in­habit may – and in all like­li­hood will – take you some­place com­pletely dif­fer­ent from be­fore, per­haps not even bound to an earthly plain.

There are whis­pers of Jour­ney in the abil­ity to com­mu­ni­cate by ‘singing’ to other ob­jects, while in the rudi­men­tary an­i­ma­tion of its sub­jects and their steadily in­creas­ing scale, it re­sem­bles an art­house Kata­mari

Da­macy. Yet the Keita Taka­hashi game to which it’s most closely re­lated is Noby Noby Boy, since both are ab­sur­dist sand­boxes where joy is found in un­likely in­ter­ac­tions be­tween seem­ingly un­re­lated things.

At reg­u­lar in­ter­vals, you’ll hap­pen across au­dio snip­pets from lec­tures by the late Bri­tish philoso­pher Alan Watts. Chances are that the clip play­ing will be only ten­u­ously con­nected to what’s un­fold­ing on screen. Yet the over­rid­ing mes­sage – that we and all things are in­te­gral parts of a glo­ri­ous whole – per­co­lates, pro­mot­ing an at­mos­phere of warmth and op­ti­mism.

You might won­der at times whether OReilly isn’t try­ing to pull a prac­ti­cal joke, one de­signed to have crit­ics scram­bling to de­rive mean­ing from a snooker ta­ble spout­ing non se­quiturs as an over­sized tardi­grade floats by. Thoughts you ac­cu­mu­late from ‘talk­ing’ to ob­jects are as likely to be asi­nine or in­con­se­quen­tial as to strike a note of sear­ing pro­fun­dity, de­pend­ing on the emo­tional bag­gage the player brings with them. This scat­ter­gun ap­proach re­sults in pe­ri­ods of te­dium mixed with flashes of emer­gent com­edy and sur­real bril­liance. Still, if noth­ing else, the wide-eyed man­ner in which

Ev­ery­thing ex­plores the in­ter­con­nect­ed­ness of, well, ev­ery­thing feels faintly rad­i­cal in these di­vided times – even when that means you some­how find your­self re­lat­ing to a spi­ral of sen­tient poop.

Achiev­ing 100 per cent com­ple­tion might seem a rather oner­ous long-term goal, but with the abil­ity to pick up things be­long­ing to the same cat­e­gory as you pass by, your to­tal per­cent­age will in­crease quicker than you re­alise

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