The Eternal Cylinder's visual presentation remains wholly its own

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A vivid but slightly unfulfilling getaway story from the punchdrunk creators of Zeno Clash, The Eternal Cylinder mixes moments of frenzy with indefinite periods of contemplation.

I feel that it’s probably fair to say that these choices have continued to be made almost a decade later, with Bordeu now the game director of The Eternal Cylinder, a game about a giant cylinder.

A vivid but slightly unfulfilling getaway story from the punchdrunk creators of Zeno Clash, The Eternal Cylinder mixes moments of frenzy with indefinite periods of contemplation. The game's colossal antagonist doesn't chase you relentlessly. Its approach is sometimes blocked by towers that dome their surroundings in shimmering blue energy, creating an oasis where you can forage, toy with mutations and delve into ruins that house basic platforming challenges, together with lore and rarer consumables.

Even following intergalactic eye candy like Journey to the Savage Planet or No Man’s Sky, The Eternal Cylinder’s visual presentation remains wholly its own and worth the ticket price. Nearly every vista and its creatures prompt double-takes, especially the genuinely terrifying Servants of The Cylinder, such as the nightmarish hulking humanoid The Mathematician. Viewing the game’s world from the low stature of the trebhum allows for the environment to coyly reveal its scale over even the smallest hill, pushing players to quickly draw out emergency routes while The Cylinder rolls along and the planet’s inhabitants gnash and snarl around them.

he Eternal Cylinder has snorted up various aspects of the survival genre to make this conceit work. Unlike most survival games, however, the experience is a more linear one, because to survive you must continue to move forward to avoid being crushed, and so that linearity is a sort wide and packaged corridor: the cylinder is halted at various junctures, and you get to explore a strip of land in front of it, filling your stomachs and doing what you can to make the most of the resources at your disposal.

The landscapes are no less mesmerising: pink and purple icefields, curious coral lattices and sky-scraping seedpods. The second you breach the dome, however, all that specificity and colour is forgotten in a panicked stampede for the next tower. Other creatures cease to be miracles of nature and become obstacles, to be spooked away with trumpet blasts or simply outrun. Once you've escaped, there's the chilly feeling of looking back to watch the Cylinder complete its work. Then, you roam and experiment anew.

This chase-and-reprieve dynamic makes for a well-paced campaign which should take most players 12 hours or so to complete. The Eternal Cylinder makes for a tricky game to conveniently classify, and the mix of survival, exploration, platforming, puzzle, and action elements does sometimes collide with its clumsy and slippery controls. Adjustable difficulty settings are welcoming, but even on default mode there’s a generosity of checkpointing and saves, and rarely is an attempt punished too harshly; plus, when the permanent mutation system is later unlocked, it feels practically game-breaking. Warts and all, The Eternal Cylinder remains an accessible oddball adventure of one-of-a-kind sights.

The Eternal Cylinder is out now on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. A digital PC code was provided to Screen Rant for the purpose of this review.

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