Hands-on Preview: The Eternal Cylinder

I wonder if any of the developers had a rolling pin phobia.

You begin The Eternal Cylinder as a newborn Trebhum. As soon as you gain awareness, you have a sudden urge to run – the music, sound and narrator provide a great sense or urgency, so you pet it forward. As you run, you may take a peek at what you are running from, so you turn the camera and see what looks like a giant bulldozer heading towards you, crushing everything in its path.

The very start of the game.

After a short run, you reach a large beam of light going across two towers. As it reaches the towers, this strange destructive objects slows to a rest against the towers.

Now you can take a deep breath and try and figure out where you are an what on….wherever…is going on. As you look around, you notice one thing: the cylinder really is eternal, is stretches out in both directions far beyond the horizon. The world you live in is surreal, vibrant and beautiful.

The entire world is magnificent.

Now, what is a Trebhum? A Trebhum is Q*Bert looking creature. Using it’s nose, it can suck up and store items (in a very limited inventory), which can then be eaten or launched to hit something. Eating is extremely important, as some objects – usually obtained from plants and animals – allow for Trebhum to mutate, gaining new abilities. The first creature you’re likely to encounter will give you the ability to jump higher.

You also encounter injured Trebhum and more Trebhum eggs, which need to be taken somewhere warm to hatch. These Trebhum will follow you, and you can switch between each of them. As some abilities will override each other (webbed feet for faster swimming will replace the higher jump, for example), you may want to spread abilities across different Trebhum

Strange objects in the sky – everything about this world is a mystery.

While there are many, many harsh dangers to face, there is one thing that The Eternal Cylinder is generous about: No matter what abilities are needed, as long as the Trebhum you control can progress, the others in your family will find their way to you. This means you don’t have to hunt for multiples of the same ability just to progress. The other Trebhum are not immune from any danger, though – if they’re caught by nearby predators or the Cylinder itself, they will die.

While the game directs you on objectives you should be checking out (a needed mutation, an underground tunnel, a shrine to upgrade stats), you decide when you want to progress. When the Cylinder is still, you are free to explore the area around it. An ominous forcefield appears in the distance. As long as you don’t pass this, you will be safe from the Cylinder (well, most of the time…it’s not always predictable), but the moment you pass the threshold, it’s another mad dash for your life to reach the next tower.

Run away! Run away!

Sometimes you can’t help but look back, seeing the destruction caused by the Cylinder, watching it smash buildings, uproot trees and squish any annoying creatures that have bothered you. The destruction is very satisfying to watch.

Alongside the various wonderful and wacky creatures, you will also encounter creatures described as servants of the Cylinder. These monstrosities look like human-like body parts mixed with machinery, such as a hot-rod with arms. These creatures are extremely dangerous, and even their gaze is devastating, as the green light they produce will slowly take away the mutations your Trebhum have.

Monstrous creatures, can’t let it take away my amazing hairdo.

The demo is The Eternal Cylinder is very impressive, and ends in a rather surprising manner. The surreal world makes me want to know more about it, to find out why this colossal Cylinder exists and why it’s crushing everything. The game feels great to play, with some survival aspects and some interesting powers. I will definitely be checking out the full game once it comes out.

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