Tiny Glade's castle-doodling demo is packed with delightful little reactive surprises

Tiny Glade - a yellow plaster house on a grassy hill surrounded by walls
(Image credit: Pounce Light)
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June 11, 2024: This story was originally written in May, but Tiny Glade's demo is now publicly available in the Steam Next Fest and seems to be attracting tons of players.

There has been a lot of anticipation for Tiny Glade in the cozy gaming circles I follow. Its an adorable little building toy inspired by the success of Townscaper but has you build idyllic little castles instead of seaside cities. After getting to spend some time with its upcoming demo, I am hurting to play with the rest of it.

As in Townscaper, Tiny Glade's premise is that your builds are all reactive. If you draw a little dirt footpath up to your cozy curtain wall it will sprout an archway. Widen that path and your single archway will split into two. Windows placed together may spawn shutters while dragging a circular tower close to your other buildings will have them mesh together as if they'd always been there.

(Image credit: Pounce Light)

In the demo I can doodle a stone wall in any shape I please and watch it snake into existence or slither out if I hit the undo button. I can drop in circle towers or square buildings, shown as little wood frame previews while I decide on their size. There are windows, hanging lights, a brush for placing shrubs and flowers. There's even a terrain height tool and a photo mode to play around with.

Tiny Glade immediately feels so touchable. The grass of my glade parts around my cursor before I've even drawn anything. Mousing over a wall I've drawn will spawn a little white line reminding me of its full shape even if part of it's hidden behind a building. Every building or tower I hover over makes a satisfying plip plop noise and offers me a draggable arrow to resize or rotate it.

I love how its day and night system just ticks away in the background but doesn't have any consequences for my building other than a change in lighting as I work. I discovered that dragging the height of my stone wall shorter than the arch it needed to accommodate the path through it would produce this funny little minimalist archway. I fiddled with the exact size of a little dirt path approaching one of my plaster buildings, watching its Hobbit-size wood door slowly grow to human height, piping in procedurally generated garden tools around itself as it grew into a double door. And I've only just now discovered that lowering a roofline all the way will create a little rooftop courtyard. I need to go make more of those immediately.

(Image credit: Pounce Light)

I just keep getting distracted by all its details. It's not nearly as minimalist as Townscaper, which only allows you to spawn or remove structures in each of its cube-like spaces, or change their colors. Tiny Glade has a much more packed toolbar by comparison, which makes me even more curious to learn all its little quirks and rules than Townscaper did.

The only thing more I want from Tiny Glade right now is the rest of it. In the demo I'm restricted to a pretty small buildable area in its sunny glade environment. Its developer Pounce Light has shown off more biomes coming in the full release like a snowy wood, an autumnal forest, and a much larger buildable area. I'm quite curious to see how it scales because certainly everyone will start replicating all their own favorite castles of history and fiction.

Tiny Glade is expected to launch sometime in 2024 but hasn't set a release date yet. Its demo goes live on Steam Thursday, May 30 and will stay up through the Steam Next Fest which ends on June 17.

Lauren Morton
Associate Editor

Lauren started writing for PC Gamer as a freelancer in 2017 while chasing the Dark Souls fashion police and accepted her role as Associate Editor in 2021, now serving as the self-appointed chief cozy games enjoyer. She originally started her career in game development and is still fascinated by how games tick in the modding and speedrunning scenes. She likes long books, longer RPGs, has strong feelings about farmlife sims, and can't stop playing co-op crafting games.