I’ve been waiting a long time to be able to do this — review a decent game that’s available for Linux. Yes, I’m fully aware of the fact that there have been great games such as X-Plane available for the OS a long time ago, but this is different. Linux actually has a steady stream of good games coming its way, rather than the cute, but lackluster open source games that most serious gamers laugh at before turning back to Windows. Ever since Steam has been made available for Linux, there’s been a number of great titles added (and plenty of reasons to use it!), including a relatively undiscovered gem called Oil Rush.
About Oil Rush
Truth be told, Oil Rush was actually released (with Linux support!) before Steam came to Linux, but it has since been added to the Steam library which makes your game collection nice and tidy. The game is a naval strategy game that quite frankly reminds me of Warzone 2100 because of your ability to move around individual units (more on that later). The main objective behind the game is to defend all of your oil rigs and stations (as well as take over everyone else’s) in order to be successful. It’s a graphically intensive game that uses the Unigine game engine — the main reason why it’s also compatible with Linux.
The game can be had for $19.99 off Steam as well as its official site. Steam also offers two extras in a bundle if you’re willing to pay $5 ($10 if you buy them outside of the bundle).
Once you’ve successfully installed the game, you’ll be presented with a graphics options window before the game actually loads. I love this feature because it allows you to ensure that you’re playing with all the right settings before the game even starts, especially the resolution.
Once the game has started, you have a handful of different modes to choose from. The main three are campaign, “quick game”, and multiplayer. The campaign mode offers a structured story line with specific goals for you to accomplish. If you’re new to the game, this is also where you should go first as they serve as a good introduction on game mechanics and controls.
“Quick game” (single player) mode allows you to choose from various maps and play against computer-controlled opponents.
Of course, the multiplayer mode is very similar, but with human opponents (or a mix of human and computer opponents) instead. Multiplayer is a bit restricted, however, because those games will only run over a LAN network within your home. In other words, there are no Internet multiplayer sessions.
The idea behind the game is that you’re in the future, having to fight to maintain control over oil rigs. In this time era, oil is extremely important, and keeping control of the rigs is vital if you want to be able to do anything. The game revolves completely around naval strategy, so all of this takes place on large expanses of water. According to the dialogues at the beginning of the campaign, it appears that there’s not much dry land left due to global flooding. While the game doesn’t explicitly explain why this is the case, my best guess would have to include the progression of global warming’s effects.
There are a number of different locations which you can be in control of. Most of these produce machinery with which you can fight your battles, and the rest are oil rigs. The more oil rigs you are in control of, the more oil you extract (kept track of via points). These points allow you to use special features after you’ve earned them, including the all-powerful nuke that completely destroys everything in its vicinity. You can unlock special features after gaining experience points, which are earned during combat and when gaining control of locations.
Of course, the objective of the game is to dominate the map and take control of everything using the units that you have at your command. The campaign scenarios offer different prepared situations that have varying themes (such as when the enemy suddenly starts using Zeppelins), but the Quick game and multiplayer modes are a simple game of domination while taking advantage of the resources available on the chosen map.
After each game, you can view a number of different stats as they progressed through the game. They’re very interesting to look at, and makes it easier to determine if you won easily or if it was closer than you thought.
Despite all things considered, I’m sure there are a few of you who still think the game is a bit boring. Trust me, once you’re in the heat of things and you have three different opponents attacking you on all sides, things definitely get exciting. Just check out this (long) gameplay video to see more:
Is it worth getting Oil Rush? If you enjoy strategy games, then absolutely! The gameplay is wonderful, the graphics are spectacular, and the performance is astounding — on Linux I easily get over 100 frames per second on ultra settings (anti-aliasing turned off, of course). Best of all, once you buy it, you’re free to play it on any platform!
What strategy game is your favorite? Which recent Linux game offers the absolute best graphics? Let us know in the comments!
Image Credit: arbyreed