Quick Look – The Eternal Cylinder Beta

I can only assume the reason I hadn’t heard about The Eternal Cylinder until the day before yesterday is because it looks to be yet another Epic store exclusive title. I’m still in a weird space with the Epic Game Store; I don’t mind picking up their freebies, and I’d consider buying a game from them if I could purchase it at the Humble Store, since I already trust them with my payment information. However, it’d have to really be something I just couldn’t wait to play, because it’s rare I play anything during the first year it’s out anyway.

Still, when I received a beta invite for The Eternal Cylinder, I had no qualms about activating it and downloading it to try out. Not only is it absolutely gorgeous, if you’re into that alien, vaguely creepy vibe, it ticks off a whole lot of my favorite boxes. Exploration and puzzle solving, avoiding predators instead of engaging in combat, and gathering items to enable your creatures to evolve.

There’s a distinct post-apocalyptic vibe here – the game starts when you hatch, and you’re immediately running from a giant rolling cylinder that’s crushing absolutely everything in its path. You’re so small, and it’s so big, and it is honestly a terrifying enemy, and one you can’t do anything but run away from. I definitely ran into some issues early on with not understanding what the game was asking me to do, resulting in getting squashed beneath that giant rolling doom, but once I overcame that hurdle, I was absolutely fascinated with the world I found myself in.

The directions were fine, but my reading comprehension was lacking a bit.

I liked the way that the game teaches you how to play it by making you play, but I also felt a little rushed, trying desperately to find the next thing and just keep moving. Which I suppose is the best way to survive, when you’re a small creature who doesn’t understand their world and can’t fight back. Some of the creatures will eat you if they catch you, but it’s also not terribly difficult to avoid them either. You will find other Trebhum to add to your little family, and you can change between them as necessary to have different active evolutions. There are also places where you can upgrade your group, assuming you’ve been hunting down the required materials to do so.

I spent about an hour and a half in game, and I suspect that wasn’t even halfway through the teaching areas. The current beta runs through March 25th, and I’d like to take another dive into it, this time, taking things a lot slower and exploring more of the environment instead of just pushing through to the next story point. I’m definitely going to keep my eye on this one – I’m not sure how well the conceit will hold up over a lengthy game, but so far, it’s really enjoyable, and moreover, it’s got a damn interesting concept. What is the cylinder? What is happening to this world? And what can a little Trebhum, just hatched, be able to do about it all?

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