LifeisXbox’s The Eternal Cylinder review | During geometry lessons at school I learned the following: a cylinder is a three-dimensional solid that holds two parallel bases joined by a curved surface, at a fixed distance. What my math teachers didn’t tell me is that when a Cylinder reaches a certain mass and volume, it also attains universal life-ending ambitions. I’ll have to e-mail them that bit. It might spice up some of those math classes. Maybe it’s a physics thing, who knows? What we do know is that the developers over at ACE TEAM have done the math, and came up with this hidden gem of a game we’ll be talking about today. Developed by ACE TEAM and published by Good Sheperd Entertainment, let’s roll right over it… Errr, I mean dive into it…
A bit of a shame it’s all being steamrolled by the Eternal Cylinder, because this is one of the best realised alien worlds I’ve come across in all my time exploring them.
ℹ️ Reviewed on PC | Review code provided by PR/publisher, this review is the personal opinion from the writer.
What we liked!
- What’s a Trebhum | At the heart of The Eternal Cylinders’ story are the Trebhum. These amazing creatures are as resourceful as they are helpless. They are silly little bipeds, born into an alien world from the comfort of their round blue eggs. As a Trebhum, be careful about your diet. While there are edible plants aplenty, you will often come across food that will cause you to mutate. These mutations can be used to expertly adapt to your surroundings, ward off predators, move around more freely, or perceive more of the world. The Trebhums are innately curious and very sociable. Many times when I stopped to look at my surroundings, members of my pack would chat and interact with one another.
- Mutations | As mentioned above, Trebhums mutate. And it’s good that they do because they wouldn’t get very far otherwise. But what kind of mutations are we talking about here? Trebhums are bipedal, so what about their legs. Do you want webbed, stealthy or suction cup feet? What about an extra set altogether? Okay, so that’s a smidge of the available legs, but what about their trunks? Any funky business going on with that? Enough to make an elephant blush. I found singing ones, flaming ones, air filtering ones and even trumpety ones. I assume there’s more right? Too many to name. Besides simple body parts, there are also mutations that affect a Trebhums entire body. That way you can have individuals become water purifiers, mineral crunchers, storage boxes on legs or literal high powered explosives. Try to watch out for that last one. While most, if not all of the above need to be actively gathered, some of the more essential mutations will be learned automatically. That means hatching a Trebhum on the tundra doesn’t mean it will quickly freeze, rather it’ll grow its own coat of fur while it needs it, and shed it once it’s warmer again.
- Name your pack | One of the fun things you can do is name your pack members upon hatching. So I took it upon myself to have my fellow writers join me on this journey. I didn’t keep track all that tightly, but I did keep count when someone died. Special mentions to Alexis #3 who exploded, Maui #2 who got flattened and (the original) Robby and Jim #3 who got eaten by the same plant.
- A truly alien world | A bit of a shame it’s all being steamrolled by the Eternal Cylinder because this is one of the best realised alien worlds I’ve come across in all my time exploring them. From the grotesque aliens roaming the lands, each with their distinctive place on the food chain. Or you can look down at your own feet, and find smaller critters of equal weirdness as their larger counterparts. Depending on the region, fauna can be bountiful and varied, or scarce and hardened. It’s not easy to capture in words all the details that are on display, but safe to say you’ll see trees with, what I can best describe as a gigantic avocado on top, to coral reef like formations on land. During one of your brief moments of repose from fleeing the Eternal Cylinder, be sure to gaze up sometimes. As the sky is often just as beautiful as the land you walk on.
- The Eternal Cylinder | The titular superstructure that drives most events in the game is a true cosmic horror, which has taken such an incredibly simple form. This three-dimensional menace of parrallell circles stretches as far as you many Trebhum eyes will see, and is shrouded in mystery. Each time I learned something about it I was left with more questions then answers. We do know some things however. It’s gigantic, will flatten anything in its path, can be delayed temporarily by the towers the ancient Trebhum civilization built, it does not like this, and it can never be stopped. It really does hate those towers. So much in fact that it will sometimes get enraged, and will start moving before your pack has left the safezone. When this occurs, it will slowly yet constantly advance while shooting bolts of lightning out in front of you, effectively trapping you in a narrow bit of space between it and getting long distance barbecued. The Cylinder also doesn’t work alone, but let’s talk about its servants in the next segment.
- Servants of the Cylinder | As mentioned above, the Eternal Cylinder doesn’t work alone. It has many servants to do its bidding and prepare the terrain ahead to be flattened, as well as clean up any stragglers who might have gotten behind it. These creatures are strange amalgamations of flesh and machine, endowed with strange powers. Some are capable of shining a light on your pack of Trebhum that burns away their mutations over time. These guys really gave me a lot of trouble when playing. But that’s not all. Some just float around, scouting for wildlife that others can attack. There are also these big bacteriophage looking hybrids. These I found vary between actively attacking you when they can see you, or will latch small antenna onto the local wildlife to hypnotize them. But the biggest, most memorable servant of them all is the Mathematician. This colossal humanoid will pop up from time to time, and his purpose doesn’t become apparent until quite far into the game. The servants, just like the wildlife are each weirder than the next, and a delight to see, run from, and outsmart.
- Pack Mechanics | You start out on your journey alone, but quickly you will find others of your kind who will be all too eager to form a pack. This is good because this means you can specialise certain Trebhums for certain roles. Who gets the trumpet snout and storage body to keep our food and mutagens safe, and who gets the higher mobility and visibility to scout for the pack and forge a path. And while I like the idea a lot, sadly some of the AI’s decisions left me with some mixed feelings. I know we’re running from a world ending calamitous geometry question of nightmares, but on more occasions than I care to count did I see some of my precious and valueable pack members let themselves get crushed under the cylinder due to being stuck behind a small rock or ledge.
What we disliked
- I have no strong dislikes about The Eternal Cylinder.
How long to beat the story | 12 to 14 hours
How long to achieve 1000G | Roughly 18 hours
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Hey there. Thomas is the name, Sci-fi, action and (J)RPG’s are the game. I strongly prefer co-op over PVP games. Whenever possible, you may find me run wild at a convention in western Europe. Certified anime enjoyer.