by Ingvi Snædal
reviewed on PC
One for the Tux
If all games were released on Linux, it would be the only operating system I’d ever use. The customisations available, the speed and the over-all lightness of the system are exactly what I have always wanted Windows to be. Sadly, as a free, user-supported system, it is plagued with lacking driver support and other issues. Regardless, I love Linux. It was for that reason I became quite intrigued when I heard about a Tower-Defence/Real-Time Strategy game being released directly to the “Other OS”.
A New Beginning
Oil Rush takes place after the inevitable nuclear holocaust has caused the polar icecaps to melt and most of the earth’s solid land to go underwater. Despite this being a scientific impossibility, as even if all water on earth suddenly shifted into its liquid state, it would only raise the water level some 65 meters, leaving Denmark, the Netherlands, and a sizeable chunk of Brazil shit out of luck, it is an interesting concept none the less. The bombs were dropped as a result of a global conflict over oil, and having learned absolutely nothing from this, the remaining stragglers of humanity continue to slaughter each other over this overrated fossil lubricant.
You step into the shoes of Kevin (a seemingly accidental reference to the film Water World) who has just graduated from officer training and is eager to lead his men into battle. The Commander gives you the task of securing an oil rig and off you go. The next couple of missions will serve to teach you how to control your men, issue orders, upgrade defences, acquire resources and manage them. These first missions will also slowly but surely introduce new units into the mix, granting you heavier boats, planes and helicopters, as well as new types of towers and upgrades. The plot isn’t a masterpiece, but it doesn’t repel you from playing. When it comes down to it, for the first 2 chapters of Oil Rush you will essentially be playing to find out what unit you will unlock next, not to find out what happens.
Offence is the Best Defence
Most levels start out with you holding a single platform and a couple of units circling around it. Each manufacturing platform has five tower slots where you can build either machine gun bunkers, cannons, or anti-aircraft towers. The machine guns are good against swarms of light armoured vehicles, cannons against heavy ones and explaining the role of the anti-aircraft tower is perhaps a bit redundant. Oil rigs, on the other hand, cannot be fortified in this manner, so a constant presence is advisable should you wish to hold the rig and secure yourself a steady income. Although manufacturing platforms will keep spewing out units regardless of income, you will need money to purchase towers, upgrade them, and use the various active buffs the tech tree allows you to unlock. The buffs include everything from a temporary increase in production speed, to unveiling an enemy location using radar, to increasing tower and/or unit damage. These buffs play a major role in securing victory, so learning to use them quickly and knowing when and where to use them is of vital importance.
When attacking enemy platforms, your units will attack the first thing that comes within range. You will not have any control over which target, be it an enemy vessel, or a tower, they choose to attack first. When sending units from a specific location you must choose how big a chunk you want to sent. 25%, 50%, and 100% are the only options and I found myself repeatedly missing a 75% button. It is only logical, if you have a sizeable force, that you’d want to send the majority of it on to attack the next location while leaving a small force behind to defend the newly acquired platform. To do so in Oil Rush, you will have to send 50% of the force to the next target, reselect the platform and send 50% again. This feels like a silly design decision and I can’t think of any good reason for it.
Beautiful environments. Challenging levels. Available for Linux.
Occasional graphics reset. Bad voice acting. Empty server lists.