I was doing pretty well in the Next Fest demo for Thrive: Heavy Lies the Crown. I had achieved a happy balance, with all of my villagers gathering and producing the supplies needed for the steady growth of my hand-built hamlet. Loggers worked wood, quarries transported stone, and my orchards produced apples: the basic fuel of any prosperous feudal society, as any medievalist will tell you. The idyllic atmosphere was so peaceful that I could almost forget the cursed fog that ravaged the land. Until this cursed fog manifests at least one raging kaiju snake.
Thrive, which you can check out in its Next Fest demo until February 12, has you playing as one of the few people who entered Waelgrim’s death mist and survived, which was apparently all the excuse your king needed to pass on the crown. to you and make the whole apocalypse situation your problem to deal with. You now lead the refugees of this fallen kingdom in hopes of building a new home and a new future for your people. But the evil fog is still there. Unfortunate.
Due to hit Steam Early Access this year, Thrive aims for a mix of city building, 4X strategy, and RTS combat. In practice, going through the demo’s tutorial, you can imagine it as a set of parallel games of Banished scattered across a large map, with AI or player-controlled realms developing alongside yours.
I enjoy my share of road building and resource management and Thrive serves me a lot of both, especially on the resource side. Progressing through level building in the demo involves so many different resources that they don’t all fit into the UI. At one point the tutorial told me how to swap resource views so I could keep track of the ones I wanted. Really took care.
In my case, it was apples. After initially lacking basic food, I carried out a restructuring of my hamlet, ensuring that all warehouses, food markets, and farmers’ houses were set up to facilitate maximum orchard efficiency.
Optimization definitely seems to be make or break in Thrive, assuming you don’t count all the buildings that get broken when something that looks like it’s out of Monster Hunter seems to ruin your day. As you play, a bar will fill to indicate the presence of the Waelgrim Mist. When it fills up, bad things happen. This could mean you lose some of your food reserves. Or it could mean that a huge reptile is bulldozing some of your prime real estate. That’s life, I guess.
You still have one day to try the Thrive: Heavy Lies the Crown demo during Steam’s Next Fest. With any luck, find the defensive structures before the evil serpent appears.