Published on March 21st, 2013 | by Craig Forshey56
Oil Rush Review
Strategy games and touch screens are a perfect fit, so it’s surprising to see a lack of good strategy games for Android. There have been some notable exceptions like Gameloft’s Starfront: Collision and Kavcom LTD’s Z Origins, but for the most part strategy games on Android have been limited to tower defense and city building titles. Developer Unigine Corp hopes to change all that with the release of their formally PC only real time strategy title Oil Rush.
Oil Rush takes place in a post apocalyptic future where a nuclear war has melted the polar ice caps resulting in global flooding. With the Earth turned into Waterworld, the remaining humans fight over the only thing capable of sustaining the ships and platforms needed to survive, Oil. The largest of these factions is the Shark army, rivaled only by the smaller sized but more technologically advanced Northern Reign. As a new recruit in the Shark army, Kevin, players will command fleets of ships, capture oil rigs, launch surprise counter attacks, and outwit the enemy.
Oil Rush is a technically impressive though somewhat unoriginal real time strategy game. The core mechanics of Oil Rush are essentially the same as 2008’s Galcon by Hassey Entertainment. Rather than freely moving units around the map as in games like Command & Conquer, units can only move between friendly bases or attack enemy bases. This dynamic greatly changes how players will manage their units. Individual ships are produced periodically by captured factories, but require resources to produce them, in this case oil. Players must hold both oil rigs and factories to defeat their enemies, creating a frantic back and forth between sides.
Oil Rush successfully improves upon previous “conquest” or “swarm” style real time strategy games. A variety of units, bases, and a deep tech tree help differentiate it from its predecessors. Airplanes, jet skis, battleships, and zeppelins all have different strengths and weaknesses which means the makeup of your strike and defense forces will make or break your army. Turrets can be built around friendly bases but unless they are upgraded or in numbers the enemy will easily destroy the bases defenses. As a result all bases should have a minimal amount of units guarding them since the enemy AI can send in a small squad past your amassed armada at the closest base and easily take one of the rear bases. Knowing when and where to strike based on the enemy armies movement is critical to victory.
To say this game is difficult is an understatement. Even on normal, the AI will constantly push and at times frustrate the heck out of you. Managing 8 or more separately defended bases and their units can quickly overwhelm novice strategy game players. As soon as units are sent to defend an under attack base, the AI will exploit the situation by sending in a previously unseen second strike force to take the newly unguarded base. Repeat ad nauseam. Fluidly adapting to these tactics is the only way to keep from losing bases.
Developer Unigine Corp chose Oil Rush to premier their new cross platform Unigine engine, meaning Oil Rush runs on the same architecture as its PC cousin. The result is by far the best looking strategy game on Android. The ocean ripples and churns in a realistic fashion while highly detailed ships create wake as they cruise along. Players can pinch to zoom in and out, with the far away view being best for tactical thinking while the close view is needed to fully appreciate the beauty of the naval battles. Buildings slowly crumble, billow smoke, and throw fireballs into the air as they are destroyed. Firefights between large numbers of units are jaw dropping in their sheer spectacle, which is why Unigine Corp included a cinematic camera option that will fly in and around the battle to fully showcase the action. Every ship down to the smallest jet ski are fully articulated while streams of bullets flying through the air act as a sort of grim fireworks display. Chipset maker Qualcomm negotiated with Unigine Corp to make Oil Rush exclusive to Snapdragon S4 powered devices for 6 months, and for good reason. If there is any game that can show off the power of the manufacturers new super chips it is Oil Rush.
Oil Rush does an acceptable job in the sound department. Fully voiced characters and CG cutscenes help to sell the struggle that Kevin is involved in. A modern classical soundtrack dynamically changes to fit the battlefield’s conditions. A calming serene melody will play when building bases and builds up into a heavier militaristic style as enemies are engaged. Par for the course in the sound department.
Oil Rush may not be the most original or innovative title, but it looks great and is fun to play. As far as strategy games on Android go, Oil Rush is one of the best.
Summary: Oil Rush has amazing graphics and engaging gameplay though it is slightly derivative and suffers from issues like mediocre sound quality and overpowered AI.