PC game from a few years ago? Check! Ported to the Switch? Check? One I loved back then and am happy to see on the Switch? Check! Yep another port comes to the Switch that hopes to gain a new audience and with Turmoil from Gamious, you really should pay attention.
Going to be open here. I almost forgot to write this review. I wrote the opening paragraph and saved it on the Friday. Scheduled it for some reason and got distracted. It is only when I went to double check it I noticed I’d written nothing. So yeah. Sorry about that. There is no need for you to know that, but there we go.
Anyway, Turmoil. This is a game I loved upon its original release on PC, but I feel it never got the commercial success it deserved. I got it in Early Access and even did a ‘Quick Look’ video of it for my old site, Gamestyle.
What you get with Turmoil is a sim management style game set during the great oil rush at the run of the 20th century. You are tasked with becoming the countries greatest oil baron, by digging for and selling oil to make as much money as you possibly can.
You are in constant competition with your competitor and the game is broken down into sections. First you need to bid on an area of land, which becomes vital to maximising profit. Next up is searching for and digging for oil and selling it at the highest prices possible. Finally taking those profits and using them to get upgrades and an array of other things to get the edge on your competitors.
Each part is well defined so you aren’t ever really in a position where you’ll forget to concentrate on one thing, whilst giving attention to another. I’ve played simulation strategy games where I have lost focus on something small but important and had things go completely to ruin. Whilst I get that and it works for the most part, it is nice to have a game where everything is somewhat compartmentalised to make it easier to follow.
There is a different between it being well structured and easy to follow and being just easy. Turmoil is a challenge from the start and it is still very easy to lose your empire before it even gets started. There are many ways to earn money of course, but there are just as many ways to lose it all.
On some runs I have blown my budget getting a ton of upgrades, only to be outbid on a good section of land. Then bringing in very little return due to lack of oil in my area. Or another where I decided to play if safe with upgrades, but then lacked the oomph to make use of the huge amounts of oil I had access to and failing to get value.
So despite an easy to follow interface and a simple look and feel to the game itself, there is a surprising amount of depth that requires a lot of thinking and planning. Whilst early on it require some luck and patience to discover where oil pockets may be, you can soon get items that will aid in this. One such example being moles that have been trained to go underground and discover exact locations for you to dig.
The only real timed section of the game comes from the part where you are digging. You have a set amount of time, that acts as a ‘season’ of sorts and once the season is over, you report back to discover who has done the best in said season. This keeps the planning stages relaxed and only the digging and selling parts frantic.
There are many things that can go wrong too. It isn’t just a case of pumping and selling as much oil as possible, as you’ll need enough people and carts to transfer it to the right buyer. When both buyers are offering low aounts, you definitely need somewhere to store the oil. That storage can fill up quickly, so you then need to consider more help and more storage. Working against this is you drills constantly pumping away, as you need to transfer from those drills too. If they overflow and gush, you’ll get a fine and you do not want a fine.
Turmoil isn’t a game where you need to dedicate a huge chunk of your life to, in order to get the most from it. The approach is very much one of being there whenever you need it and not punishing you for jumping in and out of whenever you feel like it. Granted you’ll want to dedicate a couple of hours initially to get a full grasp of things, but once it all sinks in it is then easy to pick up again.
When my PC died a couple of years back, this was one of the games I missed the most (along with Duskers. Can I port beg here?). I never felt like I needed to dig too deep to get the most from it and even after a three years away it is one that is super easy to come back to.
For me, Turmoil is a must own title that bridges a gap between a deep simulation game and something that is accessible for casual players to enjoy too. The setting works wonderfully well and it is one fantastic package. The addition of ‘The Heat is On’ DLC really adds value and deserves a long time spot on the opening row of games on any Switch unit.