Despite its title, Turmoil is actually a peaceful game (with a terrific pun in its name). It’s a management sim where you join the oil rush and compete with three other (CPU-controlled) ambitious souls to see who can get the richest off the black gold. Along the way, you’ll watch a small town rise alongside you, and it’ll open up new opportunities for you to upgrade your gear and manage your resources more efficiently.
Let’s backtrack a little and talk about how the gameplay works in Turmoil. You start off with a piece of land, and you need to work out where the oil is and start mining it. To do so, you hire a dowsing rod carrier for a small cost. For those of you not in the know, a dowsing rod is a bifurcated bit of wood that crazy people believe to be an efficient means of finding precious resources. In any event, your clearly supernatural dowsing fella will find oil soon enough, and you can start mining it by placing a rig. Now of course, every little thing you do costs you, and so your objective becomes managing your expenses while keeping profits high from the oil. You buy carriages to move the oil, and you can have your horses store it for later, or sell it to one of two rival companies (depending on the rapidly fluctuating oil market).
Now that covers how the game works. In terms of what kind of experience it was, I found it to be a pleasant management sim that still required my attention without getting too frantic. Unlike the bleakness of There Will Be Blood, Turmoil creates a pleasant, lighthearted take on the oil rush. This is aided by its four playable characters, who each have their own unique motivations for setting out on a mining adventure. It’s also helped by the game’s smooth guitar soundtrack, which gives it that pleasant bucolic feel.
In terms of the time management element, you will frequently have to ensure that the flow of oil is managed properly, and that you try and find as many oil spots on the map. This part was a little more frustrating, as you don’t instantly know where the oil is, just where it may be along a vertical line. Later you can buy upgrades that help you work it out, but initially it’s more of a guessing game.
The name of the game is spending money, and you’ve gotta spend it to make it. Turmoil is no exception, as you’ll inevitably find yourself weighing your options and deciding between buying new upgrades or letting your cash ride. Of course, if you want a leg up you can get the bank to loan you some green, but it’s a risky play, and you could end up deeper in the hole (and not the one with all the oil in it). All in all, I liked Turmoil’s mix of simplicity and urgency, and I think it’s a great title for fans of management sims.
Turmoil was reviewed using a PC downloadable code of the game provided by Gamious. Game was tested on a PC running Windows 7 Pro, with a 4GB NVIDIA Geforce GTX 970 fitted on a 4th Generation Intel i7 4790 3.6Ghz CPU and topped with 8GB of RAM. We don’t discuss review scores with publishers or developers prior to the review being published
• Simple and intuitive gameplay
• Pleasant, calming soundtrack
• Lots of upgrade options
• Constant challenge
• Some mechanics feel clunky
• Keeping up with price changes can get annoying
• Upgrades are too expensive