It’s the 19th Century oil boom, and you’ve found yourself in a position to start up a little oil drilling on a small plot of land. Problem is, you’ll be competing against several others for the largest oil spots as well as the riches that come along with them. Do you have what it takes to become a proper oil baron, or will you come up dry? There’s only one affordable way to find out: play some Turmoil on your Switch!
Turmoil is a casual oil drilling simulator that, if all goes well, can take you from rags to riches. To begin the game you’ll need to select one of several prospectors to play as and you’ll quickly be given your first plot of land to try and strike it rich. As you progress the game does a fantastic job of introducing key gameplay mechanics and slowly introduces new upgrades and shops in a staggered fashion so you won’t ever feel overwhelmed with new information.
The first order of business in oil drilling is to hire a Dowser, which will help you locate a potential underground oil well with their trusty dowsing rod. It’s then time to buy and place an oil well, and start drilling. Drilling downwards into the unknown is the equivalent of playing a game of Dig Dug, and as you extend your pipelines below the earth, you’ll hope that your dowser was true, and that you’ll strike oil. Moving a pipe around is simple point and click, and you’ll see a dynamic cost involved the more pipe you utilize. Once you do strike oil, it’ll begin flowing, and that means it’s time to start transporting and selling!
Purchasing a horse and cart is the next order of business along with a container for the oil when prices for selling aren’t so hot. One of the clever little tongue-in-cheek things you’ll find in this game is that the companies interested in your oil are known as Right Inc. and Left Inc. which are associated with each side of the screen, where you’ll deliver your oil to. It’s a relatively straightforward gameplay loop in that you’ll hunt and dig for one of the procedurally generated oil wells underground, drill and excavate, and then sell to the highest bidder when the prices are good. The more money you profit after expenses, the better you’ll be sitting to improve your overall operations in the meta aspect of the game.
As I mentioned before, you’ll be introduced to additional buildings as time goes on. Folks that move into your small town will offer up some nice new equipment, upgrades, and even juicy information. This layered purchasing system was more robust than I originally anticipated it would be, and really drove up the game’s replayability. Not only was I given the options to purchase item upgrades (like larger pipelines and faster dowsing) I could also lock in minimum selling prices with a company for a premium up-front cost, oftentimes allowing me to profit significantly more if I hit true to the wells. It was this evolving element of the town and my business that certainly created a nice progression for the game, keeping it from becoming too repetitive in the process.
As you expand and enhance your drilling operation your main goal is to compete amongst the other townsfolk with their operations as well as trying to become the Mayor. At the start of each year, you’ll bid for land, and land has a certain oil value, so you can expect to oftentimes get into bidding wars for a highly premium spot. After each year is completed, your profits are ranked amongst your competitors. You then head back to town with your profits (or losses) and then work on purchasing new upgrades or striking deals before your next year comes along. The impressive thing about this game is that the overall flow is very intuitive and casual, and makes for a great on-the-go game as well since the game both supports touch and controllers.
In addition to the base campaign, the game also includes a Single Game mode, which is effectively like a micro single year race for the most cash, and is a fun quick-game distraction. Furthermore, the title does come with its DLC campaign “The Heat is on”, which offers a reasonable amount of new content and will surely keep you further hooked with drilling for that fine crude oil!
While Turmoil certainly brings a level of charm and some depth to this style of mini-sim game, I had hoped that the actual mining gameplay could have offered more challenges, obstacles, and variations. It just didn’t quite do enough to get it across the finish line where I could wholly recommend it to every gamer. Still, if the premise intrigues you then this one should kill some time.
- Graphics - 6/106/10
- Sound - 6.5/106.5/10
- Gameplay - 7.5/107.5/10
- Lasting Appeal - 6/106/10
Final Thoughts: WORTH CONSIDERING
Turmoil is in fact a quite charming game, with a soothing soundtrack and a really clean 2d art style. The gameplay is casual, but addictive and at no time did I ever feel overwhelmed by any of the sim management aspects. It was a fun time for me hopping into the year 1899 and drilling for black gold.
Alex has been actively gaming since the release of the Nintendo. Turning passion into profession, he’s spent just over a decade in game development, and is currently the Creative Director at a studio.