Drill Deal – Oil Tycoon is a strategy simulation game published by Ultimate Games. You manage a small oil rig business, growing it as large as possible. The goal is to keep your employees happy and safe, make a profit, build a good reputation, and, ultimately, manage a successful oil rig. But does this title stand out against other business tycoons?
The game begins with an interactive tutorial, which I appreciated. Some business management games have many moving pieces, jobs to juggle, and buttons to learn. Drill Deal – Oil Tycoon is no different. You don’t build an oil rig and then sit back and watch the money flow in. No, this game truly put the “manage” in “business management.”
In Drill Deal – Oil Tycoon, you’ll need to build your oil rig from scratch. Of course, you’ll need employees to manage the oil rig, fix things when they’re broken, and more. But the employees need to be happy, healthy, and safe. So, you’ll also need to build kitchens, bedrooms, and the like. I found keeping the employees happy the most difficult part. They don’t like working in noisy areas, but they’re on an oil rig in the middle of the ocean; it’s noisy by default. Each building you place causes a certain amount of noise, so if you place a bedroom near it, for example, the employees will get sad. Thus, they won’t perform well.
There are eight missions to complete, each one getting progressively more complicated. For example, one mission is to build a successful oil rig in pirate waters. Yes, there are pirates, krakens, and weather issues to be wary of. To be honest, I felt those issues weren’t as bad as keeping the employees happy enough to continue working. I restarted my first mission four times because all my employees quit. At that point, the game was more frustrating than fun.
The controls aren’t a walk in the park, either. The game’s interface is within one circular menu with submenus that you need to navigate. Even after playing through the tutorial, there are so many buildings and other items to build I had a difficult time remembering where everything was. Luckily, you can change the game’s speed, so I was able to pause my oil rig while I scrolled through the massive menu to find what I needed. But then I’d realize I wouldn’t have the resources or materials to build what I needed. I felt like I was always a step behind where the game wanted me to be.
In addition, when you’re able to build something, placing it on the oil rig can be tricky. The camera isn’t great, and depending on how many other buildings you have on the rig, it can be difficult to see exactly where you’re placing the new building. Of course, you’ll need money to create new buildings. As with most business simulation games, this can be tricky to do early on. You need money to make money, and the game doesn’t give you much to start.
The missions in Drill Deal – Oil Tycoon aren’t necessarily difficult. I mostly found navigating the gameplay, managing my employees, and ensuring I had enough money to do what I needed the most difficult parts. For instance, each mission has three parts to it. After completing two out of the three parts, the next mission unlocks. I found this to be annoying because I often felt stuck. I didn’t want to feel stuck in a business management game; I want to feel rich. There is a sandbox mode, which did add to the fun. However, if you’ve been struggling with the buttons or navigating the game for a while, then the sandbox isn’t as great due to the lack of direction. I felt like there was no happy medium with this game.
I had fun with Drill Deal – Oil Tycoon in the beginning. However, the more I played it, the more annoyed I got. It wasn’t as intuitive as I hoped it’d be. As with any tycoon game, I wanted my main mission to be rich and successful. I didn’t care about the other missions, only to be rewarded with having to build a brand-new oil rig from scratch. If you enjoy business sims and are looking for a challenge, this game could be up your alley. But for me, I think I’ll stick to other tycoon games.
Review: Drill Deal – Oil Tycoon (Nintendo Switch)
Drill Deal – Oil Tycoon is an interesting concept for a business simulator. However, the gameplay grows repetitive after a while, and the beginning is difficult to start.