Thronefall – First Thoughts

There’s just some developers you can trust to make a game you want to play.

Islanders was a simple premise. Keep building, scoring points and earning enough to move onto the next. It’s easy, relaxing, and a game I lost a stupid amount of hours to.

Superflight, again, was another hit, as was The Ramp from Paul Schnepf. These folks are stupidly talented. They almost effortlessly build games with a great hook and just know how to keep us playing.

So it’ll be no surprise to say that Thronefall is another hit from the Grizzly folks waiting to happen. It’s in Early Access right now, so it’s right at the start of a development journey, but it’s already super clear to see the potential.

Merging their existing Islanders formula with the Kingdom series and a dash of Vampire Survivors, Thronefall tasks you with a series of short, multi-rounded scenarios, where you build a centralised castle fort and have to protect it from an incoming onslaught of enemies.

It starts simple enough, with a few close-range enemies charging at your castle which you can fend off with ranged attacks. But eventually you can build up defensive walls, towers, explosive mill traps and barracks to command troops to come to your side.

Of course, it gets increasingly more difficult as you get closer to the finish line and enemies come in overwhelming numbers from all sides of the map. You’re measured on the damage your buildings take and how well you manage to handle the onslaught.

To help, buildings can be upgraded by the money you gather at the end of each round – dropped by enemies and earned from houses and mills – and this increases defensive properties, adds stats to your characters and troops and makes you more resistant in the face of danger.

Using the coins to purchase buildings leans heavily into Kingdom, but fighting unrelenting waves feels very Vampire Survivors. Wave after wave, some easier than others, but always forcing you to think about new strategies to stay fresh and engaged.

It’s a really sweet setup, but while the game is a little on the limited side right now, it’s also one I found hard to put down through the mutators, level ups, new scenarios, enemy types and an overall great gameplay flow.

You want to fight through to its conclusion, you feel the need to protect your keep with every fibre of your being and you’ll do what it takes to get it done.

In Early Access right now, it’s not perfect. The content is a bit slight, the wave balance is off with some later states being easier than others. But equally, final waves are often a massive step up in difficulty that you don’t always feel entirely prepared for.

However, I am absolutely invested and excited to see how Grizzly grow and develop this. We’ll be keeping a close eye on this one to see what it grows into, but it certainly seems like Grizzly Games have done it again.


Thronefall is still in Early Access, so things aren’t quite where they need to be, but this is a fantastic start for an interesting, compelling game. There’s a fun hook that keeps you playing, some smart mechanics that feel fresh, and exciting prospects for the future. The difficulty spikes and limited content are sure to be looked at and expanded upon and we look forward to seeing where Grizzly take Thronefall next.


+ Clever, well mapped out mechanics
+ Good building variety
+ Mutators keep replayability up


– Some erratic difficulty spikes
– A bit slight on content

Thronefall is out now on Steam in Early Access

Code Kindly Provided by Grizzly Games for review purposes

About the author

Sam Diglett

Sam grew up with a PS2, spending hours howling at the moon in Okami and giving students wedgies in Bully. Fortunately, she also likes Pokemon because otherwise life could have been quite annoying for her.
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