Switch version tested
Review code provided
Oil be back.
Turmoil is a game in which you compete against others to mine 19th century America. It’s an innovate concept with a scope for fun, developed by Gamious and published by PLAYDIGIOUS on the Switch. As an environmentally conscientious person, I kind of feel bad for liking this game. It’s kind of like organising a vegan barbeque, and then invite over a cannibal.
In this game you are pitted against three oil-miners and you have to try and stay ahead of the competition. Simple really. You use oil rigs, dowsers and drills to excavate the expensive black goop, and you use your myriad of horses to transport it to the store. There is a good degree of economics, as you are challenged to sell when the price is high and store it up when it’s low. You have to be mindful of spillages, sturdy rocks and be aware of gas (especially after having baked beans for lunch).
The game at its very core (pun intended, and get ready for a lot more of them) is really enjoyable. I cannot express the ecstasy of finding a bit of oil in the ground. Even after playing for several hours, there is a satisfying “gulp” noise when you make contact. It’s the unfiltered sound of success and liquid gold.
Turmoil’s learning curve is nicely paced, meaning that you grow to understand the game without it chucking too much at you. This is fitting of your character. You are never left feeling like “What the frack is going on?”. You play as one of four new-starters trying their hand at the oil industry. I think that’s why the game has charm. Otherwise, if you played as ultra-rich oil baron who created a monopoly, it may seem a bit bleak and perhaps a little too close to home. No, because of the pastoral music and the relaxing vibe, it is reminiscent of Stardew Valley, but for cut-throat capitalists. The town is also being built up around you during play, which is a really nice touch of the wild west atmosphere.
The game has room for failure: There is a lot of spinning plates with Turmoil, both short-term and long-term. You have to make sure you have enough money to spend on your yearly outputs but also make sure you can upgrade your equipment at the end. You can take out loans, but if you are in debt at the end of the year: that’s game over. However, the game is forgiving, perhaps a little too much and I never felt any genuine worry about failing.
This is a new port onto the Switch for a preexisting game. The transition is not seamless, but it’s a very easy game to pick up and play on the go; it fits the functionality of the console.
This version of the game includes the downloadable content, The Heat Is On which is essentially an additional campaign but with some extra mechanics. It’s great value for money but I’m not sure what it adds to the game? Um, a very basic card game? And magma which doesn’t do much? And two new characters? It doesn’t really scrape much further from the surface, but it does allow you to try a harder version of the game. However, that I think if I were to pay full price for the DLC, I may feel a little short-changed.
Ironically, despite a lot of underground mining, this game does lack depth. Whilst each of the levels give you that little buzz, the premise never really grows beyond the competition. Midway through both campaigns, you are asked to buy shares in the land in order to become the mayor. This is a cool premise, and it was something different, but it comes a little too late. Plus the pay-off at the end doesn’t feel like it’s worth the journey. I wish there were more special events or areas or more growth.
There are other gripes with this game too. It’s a little frustrating when you purchase something in town, you are entitled to the upgrade. But the upgrade doesn’t permanently grant you the upgrade – no, that would be too simple. In the field, you have access to it, but you have to repurchase it every time you want to use it. Wait, what? So you save up for the whole and spend tons of cash on the most expensive drills and then you have to pay again to use them? It really puts a dampener on the game. Like why on earth did I just save all the money? It seems like an in-game con. It’s like buying an expensive course in a restaurant but they charged extra every time you used their cutlery. Obviously it’s not as big of a deal than I’m making out, but it’s bothersome. Maybe I’m just a fiscally tight Yorkshireman but it just seems highly inconvenient to shell out every time.
On top of that, it can be really fiddly to purchase upgrades. Good luck to you when you try and upgrade pipes – you will divine help if they’re close together. The fiddly moments are noticeable on the Switch and there are a few too many of them. They can occasionally really mess up your game. You can tell it’s originally game meant for a different console. It adds extra iritation, especially when you’re against the clock and you’re trying to be slick. These annoyances are small, but they do significantly stack up across the playthrough.
Was this game awkward in places? Yes. Did I find it slightly repetitive? Yup. Did I continually come back to it day-in, day-out to play it? Hell yeah I did – It’s worth playing.
Turmoil on Nintendo Switch is a nourishing, fresh and relaxing game to play, but it lacks the means to dig deep on some vital areas of the game.
TBG Score: 7/10
Platform: PC, Mobile, Nintendo
Release Date: 28/05/2020
No. of Players: 1
Category: Simulation, Strategy
Download link: eShop