Warning: Spoilers for Everhood and talk of death and violence.

Everhood is not just another Undertale clone with multiple endings and certain happenings purely occurring by random number values. It’s not a game where the plot is the most critical aspect. Instead, when you play just the typical ending itself, everything gets explained.

You are the grim reaper. You are the bell that tolls for everyone else in the game. But can you find yourself truly capable of killing all of the characters whom you have interacted with and grown close to throughout the playthrough of the game?

In Everhood, you play as a mysterious scarecrow-type figure named Red. When you start the game, Red’s arm is stolen by a thief named Blue, and throughout the game, your search to get your arm back from a being known as Gold Pig, to whom Blue gives your arm.

You make many friends and fight enemies in musically-timed battle sequences in which you cannot fight back. Finally, at the end of the primary story, you get your arm back from Gold Pig. With your now returned arm, you gain the power to fight back in battles and not just only avoid attacks until the battle sequence ends. In addition, you can now kill the other characters. So your new task now begins: kill everyone.

You Exist In The Face of Death, But Can You Act?

Everhood boss battle

A group of somewhat spooky and frightening lost spirits you meet along the way and the frog who introduces you to the battle system task you with killing everyone you have grown close to and gained a certain attachment with throughout the game. Do you have the ability to do so?

Philosopher David Foster Wallace once asked in his essay Consider The Lobster: Can you boil the lobster alive without guilt? Does the clanking of the lid as the living being you are boiling alive trying to escape not disturb you?

The question that Everhood makes you confront in-game is similar: Can you kill these characters you’ve grown close with? If you can say to yourself: “Yes, I can kill the lobster and feel no guilt from the frantically clanking lid,” then maybe you have a future career as a chef, but if you can’t bring yourself to do so, are you implicated in saving the lobster from the boiling water?

What Are The Implications?

Everhood dance battle

If you can’t bring yourself to kill the other characters of Everhood, are you implicated in not doing so? Well, in one ending, yes. The beauty of Everhood is the multiple endings. You can choose not to kill everyone else. This leads to a fight with the frog who taught you how to fight. If you win, the game resets to before when you decided not to kill anyone.

You tried to avoid killing, but the game has reset and now asks you to pursue a different ending. There are two different paths that you can take if you still wish to avoid violence.

You could get lucky and find the Cat God Statue, and if you have the three necessary gems, you can activate it and fight the Dev Gnomes. The Dev Gnomes are the in-game embodiment of Chris Nordgren and Jordi Roca, the creators of Everhood. Once you fight them and win, your save resets to before the fight so that you can pursue a different ending.

From here, there is one final ending that you can take without committing to killing. You can go to the house of the Green Mage, or Green for short (another main character in the game) and walk the 888 rooms in the corridor underneath his home. This takes three to four hours, so I’d like to hope whoever decides to do this is a relatively patient person. After you make it through all 888 rooms, your game auto-saves and allows you to attempt a different ending.

By this point, you’ll have completed every ending in which you don’t have to be implicated in killing and violence, but to advance the game or achieve any of the other endings, you have to kill everyone. Can you do this?

Killing For All The Right Reasons

Everhood Undertale

If you finally decide that yes, you’re capable of killing everyone, you set out to do so and have a counter for every one of the thirty souls you must “free.” Then, after you’ve killed 29 of the 30, you go to the room in the game where all the lost spirits dwell. They allow you to initiate a fight with the sun itself.

After this, you fight each of the lost spirits you encountered in the room of lost spirits and even some new ones who are revealed to be the spirits of each person you killed. 

Once you’ve finished this fight, your body is destroyed, and it is revealed to you that within the body of Red was a character known as The Pink Mage, or Pink for short. Pink is a pacifist who despises fighting but is the only character who can kill and remove souls or spirits from bodies.

Pink is the grim reaper. Red is merely the body that Pink inhabits so that you can control a character in the game so that you, the player, can commit the killings that Pink won’t. Pink hides from it, like how the average person sets a timer and leaves the room when they cook the lobster so they don’t have to consider the lobster they are boiling alive.

What Exists After Death?

Everhood characters gathered at table steam

After the universe finally absorbs Pink, the player guides Pink (now walking about with a red blindfold so that you have control) to a cabin where the frog thanks the player for killing those you’ve killed. The frog says that you have freed their souls so that they may move on to the next reality instead of miserably living forever in the singular one that you all knew.

It is revealed after this fight that Pink was once ill and dying. Pink’s body wasn’t sustainable in any universe, so Professor Orange made Red a body for Pink that would be stable. However, Red (controlled by the player) was a killer, so Pink had the body separated into pieces. No one ever blamed Pink, beloved by many people who were merely worried for Pink’s well-being. This is revealed to Pink as you wander the abyss and fade into it. Once you’ve entirely faded, you fight and destroy the universe.

After you complete this fight, you awaken in a waiting room with everyone you have killed. They all thank you for what you’ve done as they’re now free from the immortal realm and can now see death as something not final but as something that leads to something new.

They learn to take peace from death. We’ll get back to this later on in the article, though. For now, there are still two other endings. These different endings can only occur when one has completed the main ending in which you destroy the universe.

The Other Endings

Everhood battle boss dance battle

After you destroy the universe, your save file essentially ends, but all new save files created become files labeled “New Game+.” You must start a save file in one of these New Game+ ones to attain the new endings. After you play through the game to the point where you get Red’s arm back, you encounter a cat named Sam in the main hub, and he asks you to help him fight a specific being so that you two can split the treasure attained by killing said being.

If you agree to do so, you fight the Cat God and then enter a room. In the room, there’s a tennis game you fight Sam in. After you either win or quit, Sam says he’s bored and unlocks a door in this room. After entering, Sam flees the room in fear. Now, at this point, one of two things can happen. If you haven’t killed Professor Orange, you enter the room (which turns out to be an incinerator) and the body of Red is destroyed.

Professor Orange enters and makes Pink a new body known as Yellow, and the game ends and resets. On the other hand, if you killed Professor Orange, you’re left alone as Pink in this now-locked room. Let’s get back to the point regarding death, though.

Our Lives Are A Blessing

The point of this game isn’t that you should be okay with killing and committing violence. This game takes place in a fictitious universe where everyone would be immortal were it not for Red (the player) and Pink. The point is that life’s shortness and finite nature are beautiful. Unlike the immortal people of Everhood, who are bored and want something new, we aren’t immortal. We can’t get bored since there’s a lifetime and then some new things in our universe. We are human, and our lives are finite. We must accept this fact and be okay with it since it’s the only truth we know for sure. Death is a part of life, and accepting this fact can free us from fear, psychological trauma, and even sadness. The point of Everhood isn’t that violence and killing are okay or justified but that our mortality and the shortness of human life are beautiful things that should be celebrated. Each day should be joyous and an opportunity to explore the fantastic world around us.

Everhood is available now on PC and Switch.

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