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Video Game Review: Turmoil

There are few things in life more boring than the fluctuating market that is the oil industry. I mean seriously, prices go up, prices go down… And to make a full game out of that concept sounds like a dreadful idea. Or is it? Turmoil is a single-player oil extracting and selling game, which sees you buying the equipment to drill into and suck out all of the oil of a plot of land, then sell it on for a profit to Left Inc or Right Inc. Intrigued about selling oil? Then be prepared to check out Turmoil in this in depth review.

*No, this isn’t Turmoil from the ZX Spectrum.

Overview

Developer Gamious
Platforms PC (Windows, Mac & Linux)
Windows Release June 2016
Genre Simulation/Strategy
Price on Steam £6.99

Review

Story

There’s no major story to follow here, except that you play as one of four characters; all of whom are trying to break out of their existing and varied careers, to try and get into the lucrative oil market. It’s no clean job, but for those who possess the know-how and the tenacity, along with bidding correctly for lands, this is an opportunity that’s surely far too good to miss. There’s plenty of oil to extract out there, so it’s time to get digging!

Gameplay

The game is very easy to understand, as there’s not much to understand. It’s a game that seems easy to play, but difficult to master. Effectively, you are trying to dig up enough oil to make a hefty profit. However, much like the real life fluctuating market of oil prices, you will have to consider when to buy and sell, as well as when to spend more to get more oil, in hopes to make an even larger profit. You are coming against not just the prices of Left Inc. and Right Inc., more on them in a moment, but rather you are having to also figure if spending more money to get more of the oil will be worth it at the time you’re trying to dig. Sounds complex? Don’t worry: It’s not that bad.

The source of income are Left Inc. and Right inc., who serve as the two companies trying to buy oil from you. You first of all send dousers out to search for a potential oil source. Then you build an oil rig and dig down. The longer you dig, the more money it costs. You then have to get horse wagons to fill up with oil, then to go to Left or Right Inc. and try to make the most money. Both Left and Right will have differing prices as the game goes on. The lowest I saw oil be bought for was $0.09 per gallon. Although I say gallon, that bit is sort of left up in the air, but I would assume it’s paying by the gallon.

When you are drilling for oil, you have a chance to be drilling too much; either too fast, or you’re just not shifting the oil fast enough. When this occurs, spillage can happen, which causes a spillage fee for dealing with all of the oil everywhere. You don’t want to wrack up too many spillage fees, so it’s up to you to figure out that balance between when to go to one of the companies buying oil from you, or if you should just put your oil in a silo. The more oil in a silo, the more money you will be able to make if you end up digging up all of the oil. You can upgrade your towers, the silos, the horses and even the equipment you use through the game between levels. You can also get a loan if you feel you need to get some important equipment but need the game to give you a helping hand in getting there. You can also strike deals with Left and Right Inc. in hopes to get better prices throughout a level.

A level is completed based upon time, rather than upon how much oil has been sucked up from the land. You have a date to end by, usually the end of December, starting in January, allowing you to complete a full year. Because of this, you have to get a strong start and then get as much as you can to increase the amount of oil you can move as quickly as you can before the end of the year. As time goes by, more of the ground is uncovered, which allows Dousers to discover more sources of oil, if they have the relevant upgrades from the town.

So to recap how the game is played: Bid for a plot of land, against some AI. Drill deeply for sources of oil, which is found by your dousers. Use horses to cart away oil from the drills to Left or Right Inc. depending on how much they are offering for your oil. Then go away and become stonking rich. Use your money to upgrade your equipment, to buy more bits and bobs to use in game and try not to be made bankrupt by spilling oil everywhere through not maintaining your drills properly.

Graphics

As always, we believe that seeing is believing. As such, here’s our gallery of Turmoil:

Audio

This is pretty minimal, but the overall soundtrack of the game, although simple, fits the theme of the game really nicely. It’s just a very simple tune to go to the game, with different tunes for different areas of the game. It’s nothing too groundbreaking, but it sounds nice and works. It keeps the game very mellow.

Overall

On the surface, there’s very little to say about Turmoil, but that’s exactly why I enjoyed it so much. I was playing it as, really, I was low on energy at that point and wanted something to relax to. So I looked for one of the simplest games on my list and boom: There’s Turmoil. If you act quickly, you can still get Turmoil as part of the Humble Jumbo Bundle 8… But that’ll be all over with by March 21st, so act fast if you want to get a whopping offer. Meanwhile, if you’d like to pay full price, you can grab it on Steam. It’s pretty relaxing over all and it’s fun watching the horses go back and forth, collecting and delivering oil for you. Yeah, sure, it’s a bit of a weird topic for a video game, but ultimately it does what you want it to do. It keeps your brain going and it isn’t boring about it.

But now we head over to you and all of your opinions. Have you had the opportunity to play Turmoil yet? Have you ever even heard of this oil drilling experience? What do you make of our review? As always, leave a comment below, or over on Facebook, Twitter or Reddit.

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