REVIEW – Endling – Extinction is Forever is an example of a game that cannot compete with a significant number of products on the market in terms of duration but can still deliver the same, if not better, level of experience, so it is the case that the flame is quickly extinguished.
Steam’s synopsis: ” As the last mother fox on Earth, your cubs need all your care to survive in a merciless world that slowly destroys itself. You have to help them, teach them and save them. And you should never forget that extinction is forever.”
Alone against the world
We have three fox cubs. The future is up to them in this stealth adventure where everything feels lifeless yet fraught with danger. We must reach a point on Earth where we can no longer be severely harmed, but given the (negative) impact humanity is having on the environment and wildlife, it’s no wonder Herobeat Studios wanted to present this ambience in the form of a serious message. And they did, and in a primarily distinctive way: at the beginning of the game, we start in a vast forest fire with our mother fox, who is about to give birth. Then comes the hard part: finding food for our offspring daily as the seasons change. Meanwhile, humans are slowly trying to take control of the land, and sure enough, the effects of climate change are being felt. Gradually, the story comes together over time, and more paths open up to us in a two-and-a-half-dimensional world.
About halfway through the story, the big picture of the result of all of it begins to emerge. Meanwhile, our job is still to get our cubs on their feet as soon as possible, so they’ll be coming with us in a few days because they’ll have to learn how to fight and stay alive. It’s not easy, of course: one of them gets kidnapped, and the mother sets off to find him; only in the meantime, the Scavenger becomes our biggest threat because he has a sniper rifle. In just a few seconds, boom, we’re dead. No running allowed. Staying still for long is forbidden. Sneak as long as you can, sprint for cover, and remember that this enemy doesn’t tend to aim much (if at all) at your offspring, and when they grow up, they’ll follow you. The problem is there will be more people. One of them will be almost constantly in our way, but there are friendly characters: the guitar player, for example, won’t lift a finger at us; we won’t have to worry about him. It will come as a pleasant surprise because you might get too used to everyone being hostile to your character in a game like this, which specialises in survival…
A sad Sunday
Or any day, because it’s a depressing sight. It’s not so much the quality, but the way the environment can be a genuine possibility in the area near you. It will not be obscured by the gameplay, which may become too repetitive. Perhaps the routine bogging us down has been done on purpose, but we will get used to hunting and exploration being a primary focus. Something will constantly be changing, and dangers will always keep us on our toes. Hence the atmosphere is excellent in Endling – Extinction is Forever.
It sounds simple, and it is, but there’s no need to overcomplicate it. The more subdued colour tones underpin the depressing, hopeless setting and future, so it’s no wonder we can become immersed in the game in moments. It’s a shame you have to take the moments almost literally because it’s no joke, but the game can be played in two hours. It’s indeed exciting how we worry about the offspring to keep them out of trouble while we deviate from them a little to look for food, and there are indeed multiple endings to look forward to, but that’s where the whole experience slips. There aren’t that many fascinating gameplay mechanics either, so from that perspective, the game isn’t as revolutionary as, say, Tetris and Half-Life were in their own right.
Fox caught pike
It is not easy to judge Endling – Extinction is Forever. While the experience itself is good, not many people are likely to replay it, and it may not be one of those titles that a casual gamer will pick up at set intervals. (No denying it: everyone has one.) Another thing worth considering is that this game has somewhat slipped under the radar: even though it launched two months ago, you haven’t heard much of it, even though it isn’t a game you’d throw away moments after booting it up. That feels weird, doesn’t it? If the gameplay had been a little longer, it would have been worth an almost immediate seven and a half out of ten, but since you can get to the end of your story in two hours, it only deserves a seven out of ten. It still means that the product is GOOD. Just not revolutionary. It’s not something we take an hour or two a week to engage with. It’s not going to fall into oblivion anytime soon, and for that alone, it deserves a try (e.g. there’s a demo on Steam, so no excuses). Especially for the environmental appeal. And it’s accompanied by a spectacle that’s not hard to call unique. Extinction lasts forever, but oblivion is just a moment.
+ Environmentally conscious message
+ Attractive style
+ The story is not bad
– Very short
– The gameplay is “off the cuff”…
– It deserves more attention… but it won’t get much
Developer: Herobeat Studios
Style: stealth, survival, adventure
Release: July 19, 2022.