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Endling: Extinction Is Forever Review

todayJuly 19, 2022 11

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Endling: Extinction Is Forever on PC

Endling: Extinction Is Forever is the kind of game you just know, from its opening seconds, is going to make you bawl your eyes out at some point.

You play as the last surviving mother fox on Earth, and you must do what you can to ensure the survival of your small and impossibly cute litter of kits. You get to choose the color of their coats, and after just a few moments of watching their adorable antics, you will do literally anything to protect them from the cruel, cruel world in which they now live.

And what a cruel world it is. Throughout Endling, numerous threats will face your kits’ survival, and the most ever present is that of hunger. A hunger meter is constantly depleting from the moment you step outside the safety of your den, meaning there is constant underlying anxiety in everything you do.

Foxes sleep throughout the day, so every evening, you venture out in search of food. Your kits come with you. Initially helpless, they slowly learn skills that will help you all in this endeavor, like being able to squeeze into narrow places to get at a morsel, or climbing trees to reach a birds’ nest. Everyone must contribute if there is to be any hope of survival.

Food takes many forms, depending on your desperation. On a good day, you might find a mouse or a rabbit. On the bad ones, you are forced to scrounge through trash; on the worst, watch your offspring go hungry.

Hunting is a fairly simple affair, requiring patience, cunning, and quick reflexes. There is satisfaction in finally cornering an elusive rodent, and returning to the den with full bellies. Make sure you don’t end up as another creature’s dinner; a fox kit makes a tempting target for opportunistic predators.

As the days turn to weeks, though, once viable hunting grounds are stripped bare, and everywhere, the presence of humans is felt. Trees in which birds dwell will be felled, streams in which fish could be found will be filled with garbage, and you will need to become increasingly bold in order to survive.

As food becomes more scarce, you will need to venture further afield in order to provide, having to raid the homes and factories of the humans themselves. This is risky, and as the game progresses, bear traps will be laid to hinder your progress, and patrols will be expanded to deter you.

These humans, who never speak (but sometimes can be heard singing, or ccrying), will slowly begin to edge you out. There is a very strong environmentalist message at the core of Endling, which shouldn’t really come as a surprise, but what was surprising was how powerfully affecting it was, having to experience it through the eyes of an animal facing extinction. An endling is, after all, the last known individual of a species.

You will face human enemies, two of which are near-constant threats. Without spoilers, the Scavenger plays a central role in the story, and you will cross paths with him many times. He can initially be seen poking around in the environment, and later will guard areas with a rifle, and you must use stealth to bypass him.

Another is the Furrier, who begins to hunt you from a certain point onwards. Like Mr. X in the excellent Resident Evil 2 remake, the Furrier is always present, roaming the environment and always turning up at precisely the wrong moment. He can be evaded and deceived, but never defeated.

But there are brief sparks of hope, amongst the gloom of the day-to-day. Not all humans will harm you, and a few will even aid you. And there are some surprising animal friends to be made, provided you take the time to help those around you.

Endling is a beautiful video game, with an irresistible art style that sells the tragedy of a world going to ruin. The animations are evocative and really help you believe in the bond that binds the mother to her young, and the lengths she will go to for them.

There were moments of frustration to be found, but they were few and far between. The stealth mechanics are very basic, and can sometimes lead to some annoying situations where you just have to wait them out.

It would have been exciting to have seen this expanded upon, like having to worry about ambushes, and really having to improvise. As it stands, though, these are minor nitpicks in an otherwise remarkable experience.

By the end, hunger became something of a non-issue. Endling stopped being difficult at that point, but it felt strangely rewarding. The kits had learned to become self-sufficient over the course of the game and were now capable of fending for themselves.

The entire experience will only last a few hours, and like thatgamecompany with Journey, it’s a testament to developer Herobeat Studios that they are able to tell such an elegant and self-contained story in such a brief period of time.

Fraught, lonely, and emotionally devastating, Enderling: Extinction is Forever is a powerful example of the kinds of experiences that are only possible through the medium of video games.

Twinfinite Editors Choice Award

Endling: Extinction is Forever

Endling: Extinction is Forever Critic Review

Reviewer: Khayl Adam | Award: Editor’s Choice | Copy provided by Publisher.