I simply made a meal for an lovely rabbit. Nonetheless, I did not account for all its meals allergy symptoms and fairly quickly the bunny vomits. Then, I feel, it dies. Disoriented, I click on my method out of the scene—one among 20 or so “pages” that make up the physique of the sport I am enjoying—and stumble into one other. Within the subsequent minigame, I provide a pep discuss to a creature whereas a parasitic worm in its mouth whispers anxious fears that I am unable to ever discuss over. In one other, a special bunny is sliding its method down an enormous spike, and I provide platitudes because it ruminates on the meaninglessness of life. One more has me, as a small, desperately optimistic worm, trapped in a dialog with two “cheap” pals who appear decided to crush my hope the place it stands. The one method I can get myself out of that dialog is by closing the window.
Each second in All the pieces Is Going to Be OK is abrasive. The artwork type of Natalie Lawhead’s sport (although that time period feels a bit limiting right here) is intentionally crude and noisy, brilliant reds and oranges in jagged patterns in all corners of the display. The sport, which is offered as a pay-what-you-want title on itch.io, simulates a pc desktop, however one which’s been soaked in all probably the most aggressive elements of the final decade and a half of web ephemera. Lawhead’s expressive, rough-hewn animals, alongside together with her penchant for implied gore and audiovisual noise, give it the flavour of an old-school Flash animation or Newgrounds sport—web artwork designed to confront and shock as a lot as entertain. All the pieces Is Going to Be OK looks like a deliberate revision of these outdated types, used as a precision device to elicit discomfort from anybody enjoying.
That discomfort, in Lawhead’s palms, is used to discover themes past simply unease. The sport’s dwelling display seems prefer it got here from an anxious hell, a world the place every little thing is just a bit too loud and painful to deal with, the place your pores and skin isn’t fairly thick sufficient. It’s, in different phrases, a potent portrait of dwelling with trauma, or psychological sickness, or the burden of existential angst. The vignettes that make up this pc’s “pages” oscillate from meditations on ache to tentative strikes towards optimism and connection—a courting sim the place failed relationships burst into literal flames, or a fast and soiled cult-building simulator. It comes collectively to current the pc as a sort of thoughts, a nervous and disordered one simply attempting to outlive and taking what pleasure may be had in that. It is encouraging in a grim method, which is typically the one sort of encouragement that feels actual.
In an artist’s assertion that accompanies the sport, Lawhead calls All the pieces Is Going to Be OK a kind of “energy fantasy,” a fantasy reveling within the energy of surviving, making do, and making one thing good out of a world that is tough to handle. As an antidote to the extra violent energy fantasies in big-budget videogames, it is a compelling, private success. Go in anticipating catharsis, and possibly a headache (although it is price it). Simply do not anticipate escapism.