The Eternal Cylinder

Edge|December 2019

The Eternal Cylinder
Survival gaming with a powerful sense of the inevitable

Crack your shell, and it’s the first thing you see: broad as a tsunami, tall as a mushroom cloud, blazing like a forest fire. Videogames aren’t exactly running short on global armageddons, but the Cylinder is one of a kind – an almost comically implacable force, grinding up landscapes laid down moments before by the game’s procedural generation systems.

It rarely gives us a moment to breathe during our hands-on, and yet, there is something consoling about it. Held back for brief intervals by ancient towers, the Cylinder limits your time within each swathe of randomised terrain, and thus avoids the exhaustion and aimlessness so many games that proffer ‘endless possibilities’ inspire. It’s a source of terror, yes, but it’s also a reminder not to get over-attached to things, and if nothing else, it leaves you in no doubt as to which way you should be heading.

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December 2019