App Reviewed on: iPad Air 2
User Interface Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
In Turmoil, your goal is to make as much money as possible through an oil operation. This involves everything from land speculation to actually running the logistics of an oil field. While the game does have a few quirks, it's a great management game that can be quite hectic and rewarding at the same time.
At its core, Turmoil is a management game. When you start a campaign, you pick a character to play as, and then play out their career in a cycle of land auctions, drilling sessions, and upgrades that task you with managing your money so as to maximize profits over the AI oil barons you are playing against.
Turmoil is a game comprised of two primary parts. The first part is a slow-paced, menu-based management system where you can bid on properties, buy new drilling technologies, and even collude with oil buyers to fix in a good price when it comes time to sell your oil. The second part of the game actually puts you in an oil field, where it's up to you to find, extract, and sell oil over a limited period of time.
The drilling portions of Turmoil where you spend most of your time in the game. This is a good thing, since it's easily the most interesting part of the game too. Starting with a bare oil field, you have to setup a full oil drilling operation while doing some careful budgeting to make sure you can afford everything in your supply chain as well as turn a profit.
Generally, doing this involves purchasing prospectors to find oil pockets underground and then placing oil rigs on your field to drill down toward the oil. Things don't stop there though. You have to buy carriages to move your oil, storage containers to hold your reserves, and pipe upgrades to extract oil faster, among other things. On top of this, you have to consider where to sell your oil by choosing between two oil companies on either side of the map, both of which have prices for purchasing oil that fluctuate.
As you get further into Turmoil, things get even crazier as new technologies get unlocked that allow you to use moles, harness the power of natural gas, and use underground scanning technology to help you find exactly what you're working with underneath you.
A slow burn
As fun as the drilling portion of Turmoil is, there were quite a few times where I had a hard time tapping commands that I wanted, which usually ended up costing me money. Turmoil's original release was on PC, and it seems that its controls didn't get quite refined enough to make playing it on a touchscreen as easy as it should be.
Although these control issues might result in you incurring some spillage fines or buying equipment you don't intend to, you likely won't find yourself at a disadvantage against the AI oil barons you're competing against. None of them make particularly great decisions, making the real competitive aspect of Turmoil focused on your own ability to refine your own oil extraction processes, rather than keeping up with the competition.
Across the game's lengthy campaign though, you'll likely find yourself using a simple, winning formula and just using that over and over again to try and reach the end. Even doing this though, be prepared: Turmoil's campaign involves a lot of drill sessions, perhaps more than it should.
The bottom line
I enjoy the moment-to-moment action of Turmoil quite a bit. The logistics that you need to figure out on the oil field to maximize profits are like a puzzle game that requires a bit of precise timing and luck. That said, the game's controls might keep you from being as precise as you might want to be, and–after drilling dozens and dozens of times–you might get a little burnt out on the game formula before you even reach the end of the campaign.