If you’re after a game to perk you up when you’re feeling down, Endling: Extinction is Forever isn’t it.
Humans are bastards. That the basic message of Endling: Extinction is Forever. We’re destructive creatures heading on a path that will not only lead to our demise, but also that of all nature around us. And it’s perhaps too late to stop it. Though we could at least maybe slow things down and act more responsibly.
Putting you in control of a fox, Endling: Extinction is Forever opens with a harrowing escape from a wildfire. Luscious green land is lost, as well as many animals that call it home. You’re lucky to escape, and then it’s revealed that you’re pregnant. That night, your cubs are born.
As wonderful as it is that you now have children, it also means that you now have more mouths to feed. More lives to worry about. And it isn’t long onto Endling: Extinction is Forever that the next crushing event happens: one of your cubs is taken. So now you’ve got to look after your remaining three cubs while also seeking a way to rescue the one that was stolen.
It’s a slow process. Each night, you’ll emerge from your den, seeking out the food required to keep your cubs alive. You might feed them berries, or hunt a mouse or rabbit. If you’re desperate, you might even dig through rubbish to find something edible. But be careful, as you might get an object such as a plastic bag stuck on your head.
There are other dangers to watch out for, too. Owls will attack your cubs if given the opportunity, for example, and there are humans that will chase you upon sight. God only knows what they’d do to if they were able to trap you. Some will also shoot you on sight. Needless to say, survival is hard, especially considering food becomes scarcer each night.
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Humans repeatedly destroying the areas you call home force you to keep on the move. It’s initially not hard to survive in a thriving forest, but night after night more of it is cut down until it’s literally dead. But the desire to save your cubs, and rescue the one that was taken from you, will spur you on to overcome the challenges you face.
The gameplay in Endling: Extinction in Forever is fairly simple. Each night you’ll leave your den and hunt for food. You can only move left or right, but you’ll occasionally encounter new paths that you can jump up to or climb down with the push of a button. You can perform simple actions like barking to call your cubs to you, and digging under fences and other obstacles. Most actions are instigated with button prompts. The biggest challenge here is finding food and memorising the environment so you can find a safe path back to your den when the night is over.
Events play out over 30 nights, and you’ll sporadically detect the scent of the trapper that stole your cub, leading to objects that form a story of their motivations. If you’re successful, you’ll save all your cubs in the end, but you could also lose them all. It’s suitably disheartening when you do. Soul-crushing even. But that’s Endling: Extinction is Forever in a nutshell.
Short but poignant; that’s ultimately what Endling: Extinction is Forever is. It perfectly conveys the horrors that mankind is capable of, and how it affects the land and animals around us. And it doesn’t pull any punches. There’s no happy ending here, no matter how good you are at looking after your cubs. It’s a game that should be played though, as its message is important. Just be ready to have your soul destroyed by the time the credits roll.