I watched quite a bit of Turmoil on Twitch before I ever got a chance to play it and it was intriguing to watch. Granted it was the developer playing so it usually went well for him. (Jeez he easily puts me to shame with his well-practiced play-style.) I tuned in many times, but I wasn’t sure it would hold my attention if I were to pick it up and play myself. Now that I have played it, I can confirm that it sort of does. Let me try to break it down for you.
The basic premise in Turmoil is that you are one of four people settling into a town to drill for oil. You compete for land with auctions, mayoral benefits and stock options all to help you get the most amount of return on your work. As you progress, you’ll unlock new areas with different challenges you’ll have to overcome. Along with progress, if you’ve been doing well, you should be accruing money.
When you get enough money, there are plenty of upgrades to be had. If you want pipes that pump quicker or at greater quantities, you’ve got it. You can have branching pipes (super useful) and the ability to dig through rocks so you don’t have to figure out how to dig around them (which is also super useful). You’ll need to get the oil to a bank to sell and that’s where your horses will come in. You can get more, make them stronger (and faster I believe).
You’ll find the oil by using diviners, moles or the Scanner. Divine felt like garbage to me even if you make them faster and be able to “see” deeper into the Earth. That’s because the moles will dig one specific hole and then a few random holes that will hopefully shoe you exactly where oil is. It seems quicker, but sometimes they won’t uncover anything and you’ll have to use a diviner anyway. Wall-hax or Scanner picks a specific spot and uncovers it for you. The long you linger, the more area you uncover and more of your money is drained. There is no one tool to rule them all, but the first two feel like they give you a better return on your investment. However, the Scanner does have its appeal. If I could only feel like there’s enough oil in a level to use it and not feel like I’ve just thrown money away.
You’ll want to spend money on upgrades when you can, but you’ll also be wanting to save money. There will be times where you’ll have a chance to get a monetary multiplier and you’ll need to out bid the other three NPCs in stocks in the town. It’s a simple enough task if you’ve got the capital. I failed to figure out the “mini-game” mechanics the first go around, but the second time I didn’t have the cash because I had just spent it on upgrades. I then derped around for two levels and still didn’t have enough to win a significant victory if you could even calling that. I’m not sure how long these “events” last/stick around so I basically “YOLO’d” it.
Turmoil is a fairly solid title with some definite challenge to be had in testing your luck and your ability to spend and save your money wisely (I’m better at it in real life). The Heat Is On DLC adds to the chaos. More NPCs are added to the fray with more upgrades needed to get through additional challenges like super-hot magma. They start you off with a good amount of money so you can buy a fair chunk of upgrades so it doesn’t feel like your starting all over. That was a very welcome surprise. I kind of was expecting to have a clean slate and to feel like everything I had already accomplished be washed away. (I maxed out my moles for fun.)
Another, more interesting addition is that the natural gas pockets are easier to use. There are layers upon layers of things you have to juggle to have this new feature not feel like a waste. As is the selling of oil most of the time, you’ll need to use it properly, but it really drove up my stress levels. I already had enough of that with the base game trying to min/max the amount of horses needed to get the oil without wasting money. Natural gas must get piped directly to the banks and it sends the price of oil way up real quick. You can cap and un-cap these gas pockets as to not waste them. The thought here, for me at least, is to get a high amount of oil flowing/stored and then turn the gas on with enough horses to drag a ton of oil over to the correct bank. The gas pockets drain quickly so you’ll want to be cautious when digging these up.