In that sense, Madison is a little too clever for its own good. For all that it can be a bit ridiculous (in an endearing way, at that) it does some genuinely great things, and really takes advantage of everything the in-game camera can offer. But at least an hour of your six-ish in the hell-house will be you swaggering back and forth angrily interacting with things you already found, until you stumble on the solution you need. This massively undercuts the pacing, to the point that the well-crafted scares and monstrous monsters stop being as effective. I'd still recommend it to a horrorficionado, but the rec isn't as full-throated as it could have been. If the puzzle bits were a little easier, the horror bits of Madison would be able to properly shine.
So perhaps what The Eternal Cylinder is really about is how the spirit of creativity flees ahead of all those forces that seek to flatten and homogenise it, how it will take on any form to do so, and how Ace Team are one of the strange families fleeing with that light into the unknown that lies ahead of us. That Ace Team have managed to keep making these outlandish games is, all on its own, a chance to be hopeful, a motivation for us all to evolve, and certainly a good reason to buy The Eternal Cylinder. Which you should if what I have said about this game appeals to you even remotely.
Even those slimes, though, are part of why I loved my time spent with Cris Tales: it made me feel like a kid again, and that’s why I play JRPGs to begin with. I had a great time with Dragon Quest 11, Bravely Default II, and Octopath Traveller, but none of them made me feel like I was 10 years old, curled up in bed on a faked sick day playing Final Fantasy. This frequently did.