The Eternal Cylinder — The Weirdest Fauna I Have Seen Yet
A tale of trunked aliens running away from a steamroller
The digital game store fad has become so popular that it pretty much allows anyone to be exposed to a broad audience. It’s a format that’s so convenient it deserves its article because it’s not without its flaws, and I might just write one myself… probably. Anyway, it’s easier than ever before to get exposure for your game, even though it doesn’t promise success. But you come across that one game that you feel needs to be a contender for Game of the Year, but unfortunately, it won’t because it wasn’t “out there” enough. If you ever hear about it, it’s called The Eternal Cylinder.
This game is an intriguing one; from its worldbuilding to its somewhat intricate game mechanics, it makes you wonder, “why isn’t this famous?” Well… when you think about how many games come out on the digital stores, it’s hard to come out on top or even hope to become a sleeper hit. But this game’s weird, and while I haven’t finished it yet, the story goes something like this…
The story supposedly takes place in an alien world. You guide a family of bipedal aliens with trunks, known as the “Trebhum”, to a new home as they run away from a massive device known as the “Eternal Cylinder”, a giant steamroller that must be stopped before destroying everything in its path. The narrative is also engaging in how it tells the story. The environments are incredibly vivid, with bizarre alien lifeforms to discover and the monsters that the Trebhum will encounter. All of these truly create the feeling of an alien world. And the gameplay is also fascinating since it requires the Trebhum to adapt to their surroundings and approach enemies carefully, always planning their next move and ensuring that they have all their needs sustained. But alien as this game might be, something is missing.
Needs more worldbuilding
So like I said earlier, I still haven’t reached the end of the game yet, and I’m not sure what’s up with the environment being so weird (seriously, some of the creatures in this game). However, what I have noticed is that the developers put quite some time into building this world. It doesn’t give the impression of much communication or a game featuring a family of miniature elephants on a remote planet.
Supposedly, the Trebhum are intelligent, at least according to the narrator. They can mutate their bodies based on what they eat; they can look out for each other; they know what they must do to defeat the Cylinder. They can do all that, but communication is probably not something that’s on their strong side, as they struggle to convey ideas to one another, and it kind of shows in the game as well. For example, in one stage of the game, the Trebhum must sneak around a monster in what can only be described as a pickup truck with a male masseuse’s arms instead of wheels because the “creature” is described as dangerous. Typically, the horn sound they make with their trunks is used to scare away predators. I had no intention of using this ability to wake up the sleeping monstrosity. Still, the other Trebhum next to me (because you control a group) had other ideas because he was more than happy to blow that horn and ruin my fun as the truck-thing’s eyes lit up (which are a truck’s front lights) and start chasing everyone. I don’t know if this was a feature to ensure that the story moves regardless of the player’s choices, or maybe it was something random that triggered (I doubt it). It was not something that any player would’ve expected since it seemed like the AI made an independent decision.
I get that they’re family, and many siblings and parents don’t always agree, reflecting how real life works. Everyone finds themselves in many scenarios, such as when you argue with the mother over which suit to wear for your wedding, or the kid starts crying in the middle of the mall because you didn’t buy that toy he wanted. It works in the theme, but not in gameplay, because that way, it’s only confusing and frustrating when the player attempts to perform one thing when the game expects something else entirely, and the player doesn’t see it coming. There are communication problems… and an alien world that needs more building.
Horn-blowing is not a language
I’m still playing the game, and I have yet to find out what more there is to its world. But I don’t get the feeling there will be a sequel. Despite the extensive worldbuilding, the game gives the idea that it’s probably a standalone indie title. Maybe the Trebhum will start and end their adventure with this game, but the world does seem like something that can grow into a franchise. But I said this many times before, not my decision.
But let’s say that it grows beyond one game, and now it’s several games with one interconnected world. This gives so much potential to try out new stuff beyond a safari filled with anatomically impossible creatures. But what about a language for the intelligent creatures to use, and not necessarily the Trebhum; something that’s more than just making noise music, but actual gestures or words that denote specific meanings, such as “don’t make a noise when sneaking around the monster, or we all die”. I want to talk more about this idea, but I don’t know how to use a given amount of available words.
I suppose I should also take the time to talk about the language of marketing and why The Eternal Cylinder failed to reach the masses. I don’t know if I said it before, but I don’t know jack about marketing. But I should talk about something similar in the future.
Where did you take the Trebhum?
If you have played this game then… give your opinion. You already know what happens here, so I won’t try too hard… not this time, anyway.
So… The Eternal Cylinder is an indie game that everyone should check out since it’s more than just the usual run-n-gun- brainless action game that half of the world plays, namely Fortnite. I can’t promise that people will like it, but it’s interesting nonetheless, and I hope that at least people can appreciate the nature of the game because it’s… weird (although I already made that obvious).
I can’t imagine that the game will develop into a franchise, but there’s a lot to do with the world and not doing anything about it just seems like a waste. But again, not my property, so maybe and maybe not.
The music is also weird, by the way… in a good way, that is!