In the future, Earth is dying. Stripped of her natural resources and exploited for corporate gains. But don't worry, there's a solution for the survival of mankind! We can ruin another planet! Mars! Let's dive into Offworld Trading Company...
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Off World Trading company is a real time strategy game focused around greedy corporations competing with one another to exploit the Martian surface for precious resources, turn them into useful materials, and sell those materials for big profits. The game lets you take control of one of four different corporations, strategically choose a starting location, and start plopping buildings down to gather resources and get your production lines in full swing to start making profits in a hyper competitive market. Alongside these more stable tropes of the genre, one of the most interesting parts of OffWorld Trading company is its ever evolving market. You can mine the surface of mars, or simply by straight from the market.
However, prices will fluctuate depending on the supply and demand of these resources. If your base is short on water you can head to the market to solve this, but you’re gonna drive the price up with each purchase you make. Start generating a surplus of one particular resource and start unloading it into the market, and watch the price plummet as there's suddenly more silicon for sale than anyone knows what to do with. The market, and finite amounts of resources on the map, generate a tense game of ruthless tactics where you always have to have one eye on what your competitors are up to inorder to get the upper hand and emerge as the wealthy victor.
One of the first things you will notice about this game is that it's very nicely presented. The satisfying color palette and cartoonish look of the characters is easy on the eyes and the animations of your buildings assembling themselves are neat and tidy. Watching your little ships ferry resources back and forth across Mars add life to the hex tiled maps as games progress. The U.I is also clean and clear in a game that does have to present a lot of information on the screen all at the same time. The soundtrack is also fantastic, ranging from relaxed sci fi melodies, to some more frantic tracks which add a sense of urgency to matches. There's not too much creative freedom when it comes to placing your buildings, as this is a game about efficiency rather than beauty. Most buildings need to be placed directly onto resources and they receive a production bonus when they are placed next to each other, so bunching everything in groups is the best way to go.
A Well Oiled Machine
Off World Trading company is a game with a lot going on all at once, and there is a lot to take in before you can really think about taking on experienced players, or even its A.I. Matches move fast, the A.I can be extremely unforgiving, and some poor planning early in a match can seal
your fate. The game gives you a limited number of tiles you can build on each time you level up your main base, and if these aren't managed with careful planning and forward thinking, you can lock yourself out of entire production chains with little more to do other than watch your opponents start to dominate the map. Out of nowhere defeat can suddenly spring up just as you were settling into a match and leave you wondering what you did wrong. Luckily the game has some pretty solid tutorials to help onboard you into what you are doing, and teach you mechanics at a reasonable pace. If you are just getting started in this game I would highly recommend playing all of the tutorials to get to grips with what's asked of you in this game before setting out to take the A.I or other real players on. The game also has a huge amount of difficulty levels to set the A.I to. I found it extremely helpful to start at the easiest one, and work my way up each time I felt I could confidently gain the upperhand on the A.I.
No Friends In Business
To be successful in the capitalist hellscape of OTC, you have to be cutthroat, and willing to screw your competitors over at any given opportunity. One of the ways the game lets you do this is through its black market. You can spend your hard earned cash on a number of different devices and actions that let you medal in other players' affairs. Is your rival gaining the upper hand with their aluminum mines? Send in some goons to start a workers strike and watch their productivity fall through the floor. Don't like the look of the fancy new pleasure dome someone built to keep their workers happy? Use some dynamite to blow it up! All these options add some interesting ways to interact with other players, and also have you constantly watching over your shoulder for retaliation from disgruntled competitors. It seems there's no law against corporate sabotage on Mars so do what you have to on a dog eat dog planet.
Turning The Red Planet Into Green
Once you have worked out how to exploit the martian surface and the markets successfully the money starts rolling in, and there's a few different options available to you and your overflowing bank account. You can outbid your rivals in the periodic auctions that pop up, keeping them from new land claims and buildings and making sure you stay top of the food chain. Or you can start investing in one of the many advanced buildings that are available. These buildings offer unique options which all work towards your end goal of squashing the competing corporations and coming out as the top dog on Mars. Victory boils down to simply being the most successful entrepreneur on the red planet, but the game offers a bunch of different routes to achieve this.
Real time strategy games are rare these days, and Offworld Trading Company has some interesting and fresh ideas which it executes on pretty well. One issue here is that there is a very steep learning curve and getting into this game is going to take some patience and a willingness to fail a fair few times before getting good. But if you have that patience there's a very cool game here, and with multiplayer, a full campaign mode, and good old fashioned skirmishes against the A.I, there's tons of replayability.
That concludes our thoughts on Offworld Trading Company. Do you agree? Let us know your thoughts and tag us on social media @zatugames. To buy Offworld Trading Company today click here!