STAFF REVIEW of Drill Deal - Oil Tycoon (Xbox One)

Friday, August 4, 2023.
by Ayden Heilman

Drill Deal - Oil Tycoon Box art Drill Deal - Oil Tycoon is a strategic simulator developed by A2 Software and published by Manager Games. Having to manage your employee's safety and happiness while also trying to upkeep your profits and reputation, and hopefully be able to manage a successful and profitable oil rig is your objective. Does all of that compare well to other business simulators/tycoons or does it ultimately fall flat?

Drill Deal – Oil Tycoon starts you off in the interactive tutorial teaching you all the basic mechanics and practically holds your hand through the entire tutorial. There isn't any explanation on the more nuanced parts of the game but they left that to the player to figure out from their own experiences. In the center of your platform is your drill which extracts oil, which then you will have to refine. To refine the oil you need to hire workers at the refinery for day and night. Obviously, you need to keep your staff happy and taken care of, so you'll need to build kitchens, buffets and bedrooms. Keeping the employees can be the hardest thing to control on your rig since they don't like working in noisy environments. Keeping needed appliances like beds and cinemas out of a noise zone seemed to be especially difficult since most of the oil rig felt like it was in the noise range of everything.

The better the worker, the more they require to keep happy. This means even your meal quality can affect their happiness. To get these high-quality meals you have to have food shipped to you, and you also have to hire a qualified chef who can cook the desired quality of food. All buildings will work this way and if you don't keep your utilities up to date with what you need, your staff will unfortunately start walking out. The main platform may run out of good noiseless space for you to put a gym to help keep their happiness. This is where building more platforms comes in but in order to do this you need bricks which you will need to order.

There are eight missions with each one giving you harder objectives to complete. Each of these missions has three tasks, and completing one gives you a star but you'll need two stars to be able to progress to the next mission. Some of these missions will have events happening to make it harder for you to maintain your oil rig, such as having to build within pirate-infested or kraken-infested waters.

Once you feel like you are producing enough oil, you get into the contracts section Drill Deal – Oil Tycoon. With these contracts, they will be asking for certain materials that they will come to pick up and ship out for payment. It's good to make sure that you will be able to fulfill the contracts because not only would that mean you are not getting money, but your staff's happiness will be lowered since your reputation is being subsequently lowered.

Even with all these different aspects taking part, it becomes repetitive and sort of boring quickly. It feels as if you're going through the same motions unlocking the same things from the tech tree. Even the random events like pirates, weather, fires and the Kraken don't add much since they did not seem to increase much to the challenge and felt more like an annoyance than anything else. Even the UI elements and controls can feel like a drag. Everything is placed in one radial menu with submenus like the Tropico building menus, but the difference between the two is that Drill Deal’s never felt memorable. I struggled to find the right buildings a lot of the time, and even when you find the building you want or need to build, that can feel clunky and work against you.

The Voxel art style the game utilizes is great and the different environments the game throws you in are all visually pleasing to look at. The more buildings you place the more vibrant it starts looking with all the colors mixing. There's not much to say about the audio design as nothing stood out, so I would suggest setting your own music playlist in the background to occupy how quiet it can be.

Drill Deal - Oil Tycoon doesn't quite hit the nail on the head. The more I play, the more annoying and tedious it starts to feel, as the contracts and missions don't seem to differ too much. It can be challenging to master initially, but after a bit, you get the hang of it then it loses its charm and you start to recognize the imperfections. To put it shortly, Drill Deal – Oil Tycoon feels like it's teetering on the edge of being decent with its ideas, but needs more execution.

*Drill Deal – Oil Tycoon was provided by the publisher and reviewed on an Xbox Series S*

Overall: 6.0 / 10
Gameplay: 6.5 / 10
Visuals: 7.5 / 10
Sound: 5.0 / 10


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