Endling: Extinction is Forever is an emotional game with a message. Playing as a mother fox looking after her young cubs, this is a experience that proves life is hard and often devastating. This is one of those games to avoid playing when you are depressed or feeling low because something bad is going to happen and will not make your day.
The game opens with a fox barely escaping a forest fire. Finding refuge in a small cave, she gives birth to a litter of pups that night. What starts as a heartfelt moment quickly turns into a harsh slap of reality as you now must find a way to survive, keep your pups alive, and make sure everyone is fed.
Using 2.5D to the full extent, the player traverses a side-scrolling perspective that slowly becomes a map that feels somewhat like a Metroid game. Over time, the player and pups will gain new abilities, like jumping or digging, but the meat of the game involves carefully exploring to find food while surviving a hostile world.
Shortly after the pups are born, one of them gets kidnapped and the momma fox periodically finds a directional scent to sniff. Ultimately the game tasks the player with finding your stolen cub before it is too late while keeping your other cubs fed and alive. My first playthrough, my cubs slowly died one by one, leaving both the mother and myself depressed, as I learned the nuisance of the game mechanics. Sure, it is nice having a fish or mouse for dinner but sometimes the hunt doesn’t go as planned so you must settle for 3-day old stinky garbage scraps while the bag gets trapped on your head.
This can be a heartbreaking game because each decision could be your last. When you leave your den to hunt, do you go left or right? Do you retrace your steps from the prior day and try and venture a little further or do you wander through a new path? Will that human or predator try to hunt me if I go this way, or should I wait and sneak by? There is no indication on where to go or what to do, which is where the game’s sense of freedom truly shines, but that just means each mistake is your own. Not having a right or wrong answer or clear path makes this a curious, heartbreaking, but still rewarding experience from beginning to end.
Honestly, I don’t want to write anything more about Endling: Extinction is Forever because it will ruin the experience. I went into this game completely blind, minus the press release I received, and feel like my experience was all the better not fully knowing what this game really is or how to play it. Just play it and bring a box of tissues with you as this journey portrays a harsh yet realistic sense of wildlife and how far humans as fallen from the beauty of nature.
Also Play: Lost Ember
For Another Tearjerker Play: RiME
Way Better Than: Away: The Survival Series
By: Zachary Gasiorowski, Editor in Chief myGamer.com
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