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The Eternal Cylinder Review

The Eternal Cylinder

The Eternal Cylinder is a beautiful and incredibly charming survival adventure title that oozes creativity.

The Eternal Cylinder is a weird pitch for a game. Players take control of the Trebhum, a small subspecies of creatures that are light on their feet yet still curl up into a ball and roll around to get places quickly. It’s a survival and action-adventure game with a threat that quite literally looms over the player in the form of essentially a giant steamroller always threatening to crush everything in its path. The elevator pitch here is strange, but the overall experience is relatively solid.

Rally the troops

You aren’t going at it alone though. At first, your little Trebhum is by itself, but as players progress through the game they’ll eventually get more added to the group. You’ll only ever take control of one of them, but the rest are good little lemmings and follow the main one around. Generally, survival titles don’t really jive with me. I understand the appeal, but grinding out materials isn’t for me. The Eternal Cylinder features survival elements, albeit on a much more linear scale.

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Despite this, The Eternal Cylinder is still a story-driven game, with both central characters voiceless. Ace Team had a lot going against it, with the entire narrative being driven home by this giant rolling pin constantly threatening the little heroes. A narrator in the same vein as Biomutant is here throughout giving a bit more context to things and helping players along in the right direction. Unlike Biomutant though, the narrator does a wonderful job staying mostly omniscient, yet not giving away too much of the direct story beats. He’s a calming voice, where Biomutant’s was just irritating. Think along the lines of Maneater’s narrator but on the other side of the coin.

An alien world

In addition, the world is absolutely stunning and filled with charming flora and creatures roaming each landscape. Even when the cylinder is moving, I often found myself just looking around the world, distracted by the plants blowing trumpet sounds, or the misty forests and colorful night sky with thousands of stars brightening up the sky. It’s often a gorgeous game, and I found myself smashed by the cylinder more than once just because I was looking at the scenery.

When that cylinder is moving, the only way to stop it is to activate towers in each area that halt its progress. Once you move into a new area, the cylinder loop starts again, and you must activate a new tower to stop it. There’s a mystery baked into the gameplay as well, with lots of environmental puzzles to solve. Some puzzles are simple, while others are a bit more in-depth and frustrating, but often you’ll need to find a new ability for your little Trebhum in order to progress. Consuming things you find in the wild not only keeps you alive but also alters your character with new abilities like being able to jump higher or change in shape in order to solve the puzzles you come across.

It isn’t too “survival-y”

Luckily, The Eternal Cylinder is paced really well, and while there are a lot of systems at play here between adventuring, survival elements, and puzzles to solve, I never found myself overwhelmed. It’s one of the best compliments I can give it too, because relatively often I’m off-put by the amount of mechanics that get thrown at players early (I’m looking at you, Persona 5 Strikers), and end up never getting very far before I decide I just don’t want to play, but The Eternal Cylinder wasn’t like that.

On top of that, The Eternal Cylinder is frankly a creative game. It isn’t often that a new game comes out and has me scratching my head and smiling at the same time, all because of how unique a title is. I said it early in the review, but The Eternal Cylinder had to have been a tough pitch to publishers, but once you get your hands on any segment, it’s clear why this was scooped up.

It has some weird control issues, and for some reason, it never recorded properly during game capture, but these are minor gripes for such a wildly interesting – and honestly captivating – title. It won’t be for everyone, but if you’re burned out by the humdrum annualized releases, The Eternal Cylinder is worth checking out.

Game Freaks 365 received a review copy.