Looking at The Eternal Cylinder, a Surreal Survival Game Where You Must Outrun a Planet-sized Cylinder

Steam Next Fest continues, and this time we’re taking a look at a very unusual title: The Eternal Cylinder. You must adapt and survive in a surreal world, avoiding predators and outrunning the titular Cylinder before it crushes everything around you. The game launches on the 13th of October. Let’s take a look!

Story and Gameplay loop

You hatch from your egg. You notice a Cylinder the size of a mountain coming your way. You run for your life. After getting to safety, you realize you can’t go further because of some rocks. Some creature comes by, dropping… something, so you eat it. Your legs grow larger, so now you can jump higher.

You are a Trebhum, a very adaptable little fellow that can mutate depending on what you eat. Not every edible thing will change your body, but there’s plenty of stuff that will. After some more exploration, you come across an elder member of your species that gives you the ability to activate towers that can stop the Cylinder… for now.

That’s pretty much the gameplay loop of the game: Find tower to stop the Cylinder, find locations of interest on the safe side of the tower, proceed to the next tower before you’re squashed by an impossibly large geometrical object. The Cylinder won’t start chasing you, at least on the lowest difficulty, until you pass a certain barrier.

Don’t think you’re completely safe, though. There’s plenty of predators in the world that can and will eat you. And the Cylinder somehow has followers that can take away your mutations (more on that in a bit). You’re not alone, though, as there’s plenty of Trebhums scattered across the world that can join you so you can stick together.

Unique Elements

There’s two major aspects of the game that make it unique. The first is the art style. The whole world is very surreal, with all manner of off, odd fauna and flora. It’s hard to describe in text, so your best bet is to play the game for yourself. The demo is pretty long, too; we clocked in at about an hour and there was still more to do.

The second thing that sets the game apart is the mutation system. As mentioned, eating various objects in the world will transform your Trebhums, granting them new abilities and changing how they look. As you have control over multiple little critters, your best bet is to split those abilities between them, as they can cancel each other. I had a high-jump and a larger inventory that I lost because I ate a fruit that turned me into a cube.

In terms of music, the game’s soundtrack is good, but it’s pretty quiet most of the time. There tends to be no music when exploring the overworld, kicking in only when the Cylinder moves or when there’s some story developments happening.

Oh, yes, there’s a story! As you have a trunk instead of a mouth (surely there’s something one can eat to fix that), everything is narrated. The narrator has a smooth and pleasant voice, perfect for telling this kind of surreal tale. We won’t go into details here, it’s best to find everything out for yourselves.

What do you think of The Eternal Cylinder? Anything in the Next Fest that caught your eye? Let us know down below!