Bulwark: Falconeer Chronicles Review – Experiencing Chaotic Zen

Most gamers have a couple of genres they stick with through thick and thin. But every once in a while, a game comes along to shake up your entire perspective on what you thought you enjoyed in gaming. After my experience with it, I believe Bulwark: Falconeer Chronicles is one of those titles. It’s the second game set in a universe that began with the 2020 aerial combat game The Falconeer. There’s a lot to enjoy in both entries, and those who played the Falconeer should find themselves in a familiar territory lore-wise. But don’t expect the aerial combat from the first game.

While both take place and were made by solo developer Tomas Sala, Bullwark: Falconeer Chronicles is an open-world city-building game that stands out from the crowd. With a heavy focus on player agency and exploration, the title is sure to draw you in with its somehow complexly simple gameplay (a contradiction that will become clear). It finds a welcome balance that easily changed my mind about city builders. Never have I thought I would experience a calming game that had me building a civilization with all the perks and caveats, Including managing resources while having to deal with in-universe politics. It’s a tightrope to walk, but this game pulls off.

On This Page

Tomas himself Introduces you to the game, reminding you that there’s nothing to stress about.


The story in this game is a player dependent. Will you form alliances with all the factions? Or start a war across the Ursee? The choice is yours, just be ready for the consequences. There is a backstory to the factions that exist, however.


The Freehouse faction are the basic civilians of The Ursee. These communities of people are largely independent of the other factions, staying to themselves and avoiding most conflict. The only aggressive acts they commit are when defending their territory and trade routes. Their focus is on maintaining access to resources and having just enough connections to other factions for trading opportunities.

The Imperium

The Imperium held control over most of the Northern Ursee at one point in time. Once the Mancer Order took over, things changed. Since the fall of the Imperium, they have been hard at work rebuilding their civilization. If all works out, they may one day regain their position of power.

The Mancer Order

The Mancer Order has had control over the most advanced technologies that exist in the Ursee. Through that, they have used this advantage in their progress along “The Path” conquering the Ursee and displacing the Imperium in the process.

The Freebooters

The Freebooters are compromised of those who were cast aside by the other factions. After years of building their civilization in the depths of the Ursee, they had gained powerful knowledge. Now they have returned to the surface to seek revenge against all who banished them.


The mercenaries of the Ursee, pirates seek only personal gain. They are known for having short-lived alliances and acts of aggression towards unaligned factions. They’re willing to work with any faction of the Ursee, for a price.


Bulwark: Falconeer Chronicles plays kinda like a more player agency-oriented Civilization, taking what made those games fun and adding more charm and player expression. You must accrue, manage, and transport supplies for building and expansion. These valuable resources include wood, iron, stone, and workers. Wood and workers are required to build basic structures, iron and stone is needed for upgrades, and so on. The same resources are used in building an allegiance with other factions. On top of that, you must recruit and maintain transport ships to move the goods and workers between allied citadels and your own base. It may seem overwhelming at first, but it’s easily manageable once you get the hang of it. The first campaign, the Freehouse campaign, helps with getting acquainted with the system, giving you a tutorial before leaving you to your own devices.

Discovering other locations and captains on the Ursee can be extremely helpful. That can’t be said for all random events though.

Building From Scratch

The building and management itself is pretty easy to grasp. Most building and management is relatively simple, as you use the same button to build and assign transport ships captains. Expanding and upgrading your own base is basically the same, as you simply select what you want to upgrade, use the thumbstick to choose where to build, and press square. If you have the workers and supplies, it will be instantly built or upgraded.

Resource availability and flow is important for every mechanic in the game.

Instead of having to build a stockpile of resources, you simply have to have a large enough influx to perform any of these actions. While all this is an extremely simplified summation of the ins and outs, Bullwark is anything but. As you learn more about other aspects such as the random events and politics of the Ursee, this will become quite clear.

Playing Politics

Speaking of complications, a huge notable mechanic is the way allegiance to other factions plays out. As you expand across the Ursee, you’ll encounter each of the aforementioned factions. How you interact with each one will impact your relations with all the others, causing anything from strong prosperity to all our war. In my early time with the game, I made the mistake of declaring war on the Pirates, a decision that still haunts me. I can’t trade with another faction or transport anything without fear of being attacked. Had I simply maintained a trading relationship with them, I may not have gotten myself in such a predicament. It’s been hours in-game since, and I have yet to make peace with the Pirates. At this point I’m not sure I ever will.

Your trade routes and political affiliations can help or hurt your growth. Remember, trade routes can be established and ambushed.

Graphics and Sound

As I’m sure you can see, the graphics of this game are amazingly stylized. Bulwark’s art direction is somewhat of a cel-shaded, animated style. The best comparison I have is to the classic Disney movie Atlantis, and I mean that in the best of ways. It gives the game so much charm, something that it shows in every facet of its being. The colors are oceanic, with colors like sea foam green and sky blue dominating the Ursee. It’s more calming than such a title would be expected to be, and that’s yet another reason I was drawn into it.

The stylistic choices and color palette are so appealing that it feels like playing an art piece.

The sound really adds to this calming effect, as well. The way the audio is mixed and mastered really allows you to rest your mind while managing your civilization on the Ursee. The explosions from artillery impacts on your ship in battle are never overbearing, with just enough punch to show that the enemy is inflicting damage. And the music is able to convey the intensity of the moment without feeling like it’s trying to send you into fight or flight mode. While I don’t know if that was the developer’s intention, I wholeheartedly enjoy it. It really helps in escapism, allowing you to completely engage with the game while simultaneously allowing you to disengage from day-to-day stress.


Bulwark is in no way a linear game. There a miriad of random events that can change the course of your story, making each campaign completely unpredictable. Pair that with the sometimes chaotic nature of your political affiliations, and you get a completely new experience every time you start a new save. And that, along with the random events, gives this game infinite replayability. I can see myself coming back to this title for many years to come.


I never expected to enjoy a game the likes of Bulwark: Falconeer Chronicles. Seeing games like Sid Meier’s Civilization always confused me. Now I stand corrected. My experience with this title has made me a believer, and now I wonder how I could have been so ignorant. I see where the fun is in building your civilization and expanding it across a virtual landscape. It’s an overwhelmingly rewarding experience to be able to sit back and see the fruits of your labor, with each facet of your empire grow and operate independently to maintain your hold on the Ursee. Tomas Salas has proven that you don’t need a huge studio backing you to make a stellar game. And if that’s not something worthy of praise in this industry, I’m afraid I don’t know what is.


  • Great art and sound design
  • Relaxing atmosphere
  • Rewarding city-building gameplay


  • Instructions on how to end a war are unclear

Bulwark: Falconeer Chronicles

An accessible city-builder that doesn't trade quality for accessibility.

A great way to break into the city-building genre without feeling like you're playing a grossly simplified option.

Trevor Walker
PS5 version reviewed. A review code was provided by publisher.