[Review] Turmoil – Nintendo Switch

Written by Thomas Haroldsen
  • Developer: Gamious
  • Publisher: PLAYDIGIOUS
  • Release Date: 28/05/2020
  • Price: £13.49 / $14.99
  • Review code provided by PLAYDIGIOUS

Introducing: Turmoil Nintendo Switch Review

I can’t remember the last time I thought to myself, “gosh I wish I were an old West oil tycoon.” Okay, maybe I’ve never had that thought. When I saw Turmoil from Gamious was listed as a simulation game, I was optimistically curious. Perhaps I’d get to fulfill my unknown dream of being an oil tycoon after all.

Ballad of Jed Clampett

A new town has sprung up and down-on-their-luck folk from all walks of life flock to improve their state and find wealth by drilling for black gold. Four people, to be exact. You can select one of four predetermined characters, each with their own backstory. The mayor of the town helps you get your oil business set up but it’s up to you to turn it into a booming empire. As the game goes on, the mayor will eventually sell off shares of the town. To win the campaign, you need to own the majority of shares. This means that you need to win over 50% of the town at various auctions to become victorious.

Up Through the Ground

Turmoil is a unique take on the simulation and strategy genre. I’d even go as far as calling it a puzzle game. You start each level in town where a handful of shops sell upgrades to your drilling operation. When you’re ready to set out, you bid on a parcel of land and load up. Unlike other popular sim and tycoon games, your progress for each level is reset. The land you bid on looks the same but the deposits of oil and amount are random. 

The main objective is to construct rigs and drill for oil. You’ll gradually unlock new ways to discern where the oil lays below the surface but the dowser is instrumental in getting you lined up with a reserve. Over the course of your playthrough you’ll have the option to increase your wagons, build oil silos and take advantage of natural gas. None of these upgrades are required, but they can add a different strategy to how you play the game. They can have lucrative results or end in you needlessly wasting money.

Come a Bubblin Crude

As you pull oil from the ground, you have to sell it before the year comes to an end. Each year is an ongoing cycle of finding, drilling and selling oil. You can charge your team of horses to either sell the oil to the left or right side of the screen. Paying attention to rising or falling oil prices is key so you can earn the greatest profit.

The gameplay is extremely addictive and worthwhile. Not only was it exciting to puzzle out where and how to drill, but my children loved watching the game unfold. There were a few issues with the control scheme being ported from PC to a console and led to a few frustrating points. You control a cursor on the screen and use the thumbstick to drag it around to input key decisions. Namely, dragging a line to indicate where a pipe will dig. You have to hold down the ‘A’ button when setting up new lines. In addition, holding the ‘A’ button can close or open a pipe for a moderate fee. In some early games, I wasted precious cash accidentally closing a pipe, only to pay another fee to open it back up. Once you have a grasp for the mechanics, a few hundred bucks here or there won’t make a difference but it was annoying nonetheless.

Oil, That is

Turmoil is fairly straightforward with the graphics. They get the job done with little alteration to the scenery. Not that grand vistas are required, but the humdrum backdrops did little to inspire creativity. Once the gameplay got rolling however, I paid little mind to the graphics as I spent my time focusing on the task at hand. Despite being rather basic, the artstyle serves the gameplay well enough and never over burdens the screen.

The music is likewise unimposing and forgettable at times. It has a cheery, old Western vibe which fills the silence with appropriate tunes. The soundtrack didn’t have me humming along but I never stuffed socks in my ears either.

Black Gold, Texas Tea

From a technical standpoint I really only came across two issues. The first was pointed out above with using the ‘A’ button for multiple tasks which occasionally depleted my cash. I did run into another glitch where one section of pipe wouldn’t upgrade. It wasn’t game breaking and only occurred once. Otherwise, Turmoil ran well on the Nintendo Switch. It plays superbly in handheld mode but I opted to spend most of the time docked as my kids were glued to the screen.

Final Wrap

Turmoil came as a complete surprise. For a strategy game I didn’t know anything about, I couldn’t be happier that I got the opportunity to become a digital oil baron. The game had me hooked from start to finish. There’s a fair amount of strategy required to make the most profitable results and it gives plenty of tools to try a variety of methods. The game is relatively short but included DLC opens up new lands and a new town to conquer. The fact that it was enjoyable for my children to watch was another unexpected bonus.

Pros

  • Unique Take on Strategy/Sim Genre
  • Engaging Gameplay
  • Fun to Play and Fun to Watch

Cons

  • Occasional Stubborn Controls
  • Somewhat Short Campaign

Verdict
Turmoil is anything but crude as it fuels an exciting blend of puzzle, strategy and simulation.
4/5

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