Naval strategy game Oil Rush is now available direct from developers Unigine, and on Steam and Desura. Rather than being powered by burning up the planet's lifeblood, it runs on the studio's own Unigine Engine, which seems capable of producing some attractive visuals. It's a fast-paced take on strategy, focusing around the capture of platforms, nodes scattered around each map that produce either units or oil. Unit-producing nodes can be defended with various sorts of turret while oil platforms have no such protection and must be defended by the various warcrafts churned out. Observe.
That's a multiplayer scenario. There is a single player campaign and the option to indulge in skirmishes against the computer as well. Beyond the surprising beauty of the game, the thing to keep an eye on is that minimap at the bottom right corner. Add a little more information to that and you'd probably be able to track everything of importance without being distracted by the sun glinting off the crest of a wave, or a man on a jetski exploding. Take away the theme and it's a game about control of supply points, with units navigating from node to node at your command rather than undertaking more complex maneuvers.
Theme matters to many people though, me included, and beyond the abstractions of play there is that sometimes spectacular aesthetic and a narrative of greed, warfare and petty squabbling in the aftermath of terrible events. Here's a video of a character talking plot-type happenings.
As for those abstractions, it reminds me a little of Z. I'll always remember being drawn in by the lovable junkyard robots and then realising it was all too frantic for me compared to the slower pace I was used to in my warmongering. Company of Heroes is more my pace and Oil Rush doesn't look quite as hectic as the former, although I'd imagine it can be perilous against a focused opponent. That's provided it builds up enough of an online community for people to find opponents. I'm tempted to check out the multiplayer community in a couple of weeks after launch to see how things are ticking over.
Available now for $19.95. Comes with Steam and Desura keys, and runs on Windows, Mac and Linux.