First of all let’s get one thing out of the way, the elephant in the room if you will. There’s no way any of us are getting through this review without, at least once, singing the chorus to Glenn Frey’s 1984 rock classic ‘The Heat is On’ at top volume. That jazzy sax rift is probably already playing in your head. So here’s a link to the YouTube video, let’s all just go and get it out of our systems.
All good? Great. Onto the game.
If you haven’t had a chance to play Turmoil yet, you are missing out on a little treat. It is an atheistically simplistic yet formidable management sim in which you play the role of a wannabe tycoon hoping to strike it rich in the oil-soaked lands of Faux-America. Starting with little more than a drill and a dream, each turn you must purchase land at auction and head out with just $2,000 in your pocket. The aim is to turn that 2k into a healthy profit by drilling for oil and selling it all at the best wholesale prices to one of the local oil dealers.
It is a clever mix of traditional management skills, knowing when to spend and when to be frugal as well as when to sell your precious reserves as prices will fluctuate throughout the level. You also have to decide when to take a chance by digging deep into untapped areas, hoping to discover every last drop of the black gold. There are end-level bonuses for draining the land dry as well as harsh penalties for any spillages caused by reckless and greedy drilling practices.
As the levels increase, so do the risks and rewards. The land becomes rocky and impenetrable but also you can uncover gems. Gas pockets appear which you can use to ‘inflate’ prices at the dealerships, but the gas can also cause oil to pump out at unmanageable rates causing costly spillages.
Back in town, there are lots of helpful citizens who will help you for a fee by either selling you upgrades or information or even fixing the sales prices.
The best and most veteran oil barons of Turmoil will have learned best how to manage these challenges and beat out the tricky AI competitors to victory. Which is where the Heat is On DLC comes in to play. Tell me, can you feel it?
It adds a new town, another 4 territory maps, and two new AI characters to expand your game and give you capitalist fat-cats a chance to get even richer. All of the shop owners from the previous game have taken the train with you and you can buy all of the same improvements plus some new ones to deal with the local challenges. Specifically challenges, as the title might suggest, involving heat. The ground in which you now must dig also includes magma. If tapped properly magma can be used to superheat your pipes causing the oil to flow quicker like that sweet, sweet moolah into your bank account. The gas mechanic has also been tweaked to make it easier to exploit and sell. The AI is as vicious and as money-hungry as ever and by the final levels you’ll be sweating like a pig at a Texas BBQ trying to balance your time and expenditures.
Other improvements see a new mayor who offers you tips for free – the novelty! – and has a very different take on the shares auctions that will ultimately help you dominate the game over your opponents. Also, Anthony has set up a curiosity cupboard which you can help fill with treasures you may come across in the depths.
You can play The Heat is On campaign alongside your original campaign though it is advised that you finish the main campaign first as it really doesn’t pull any punches with difficulty spikes.
All in all, The Heat is On campaign is simply a richer experience of Turmoil with even more, pardon the pun, depth. It expands on and improves in places what was already a very engaging and challenging management experience. If you have already played the base game, then you will love the extra challenge of DLC. If you haven’t yet played Turmoil well then, cowboy, get on your horse and drink your milkshake, because you are missing out on a chance to hit the big time.
Now, if anybody knows how to get that song out of my head, I would very much appreciate any and all advice. Ohh-whoa-oh-oh, ohh-whoa-oh-oh…