Review: Bulwark: Falconeer Chronicles

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Bulwark is a different kind of city-builder featuring towers, airships and strategy in a steampunk setting.

Bulwark is a city-builder with strategy and diplomacy at heart and it may not cater to everybody’s taste.
The same applies to music: One person likes rock, another pop and another person likes classical music.
This is also the case with Bulwark, a game that takes a different approach in its subgenre, because what Tomas Sala has created here is different in a lot of ways.

Die Falkenreiter
The Falconeers

Like in other games of the genre we need resources to build our city. However, we do not collect the raw materials in warehouses and then process them, because they spread from their respective sources. This means that, for example, wood can only be transported for 5 blocks and we also cannot place buildings to gather resources any place and as often as we want. On the one hand, the buildings collecting raw materials are rare and only available at the start of the game. Additional buildings of this type cannot be placed like in similar-style games, you have to conquer them. On the other hand, these buildings can only be placed on top of the sources where the material is available. The game does not allow placement elsewhere. Fortunately, these extrators can be implemented once a source of raw materials has dried up.

Unser Baumenü
The construction menu (German)

Bulwark also takes different approaches to building. There is no exuberant construction menu in which you can pick from various buildings and then place them on the map; this is done via a contextual symbol system. The towers, areas and bridges can be created by using this symbol. The system is designed in a way that you are able to see what’s currently available and the population builds the structures you select.

Dunkle graue See
The dark grey ocean

The graphics take a different approach than wer are used to: No textures, just colored polygons in a light and shader world. Still, everything looks really great. Towers rise into the sky everywhere and bridges meander between the platforms. We see waves clashing with airship towers looming high above. The score and the voice overs of the captains add to the fantastic atmosphere of the game.

Das Inventarsystem
The inventory system (German)

The political world of the game is formed by 3 houses: “Freehouse”, “Mancer” and “Imperium”. Pirates are another faction that can be found in the world. You can either live a peaceful life alongside the different factions by using diplomacy or go to war with them. Bulwark keeps things somewhat limited and simplified. If you expect in-depth gameplay like in an X4 game such as Civilization, you may be disappointed. Diplomacy is limited to simple trades and we send out our airships into battle – everything is pretty simple. Later on you receive a special unit that can turn the tide in combat, but you shouldn’t expect more in-depth tactics.

Mitten im Kampf
In combat

Though this exactly what is articulated openly and honestly at the start of the game. Sala tells us that we can expect a very comfortable city-builder in which we can experiment and are not able to make any mistakes, and that’s exactly the point. Just relax and the game will take care of everything. Therefore, Bulwark is aimed more at casual than hardcore gamers.

Tod unseren Feinden
Death to our enemies! (German)


Bulwark left a good impression on us and it’s close to being a work of art. The city-builder is lot of fun, although the replay value is rather low. That’s only one side of the coin, as you can always find new space to further expand your city and settlements. Towards the end of the game we either let all the other factions work for us or have wiped them off the map.

If you’re looking for a relaxed, atmospheric city-builder, you’re in good hands here. Anyone who is hardcore into RTS or X4 games will quickly become bored and underwhelmed with this game. Bulwark can be played on all current-gen and some last-gen platforms such as PC (Steam and Epic Games Store) as well as on PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One. The game costs around €20/£16/$20 and if you’re unsure about the purchase, you can play the demo on Steam, PlayStation and Xbox.

With this in mind, we will continue to expand our settlements and enjoy the view.

Das Luftschiff gibt's Freihaus.
Our enemies get a visit by our airship for Freehouse.

Wired Productions provided us with a Steam copy of Bulwark: Falconeer Chronicles which we used to capture the screenshots.