Genre: Indie, Simulation, Strategy
System: Steam (Windows)
Developers | Publishers: Turquoise Revival | Grabthe Games, Upgrade Point
Controller Support: Keyboard & Mouse
Price: US $13.49 | UK £11.51 | EU € 13,31
Release Date: April 7th, 2023
Review code used, with many thanks to Icebreaker PR.
Oxygen is a simulation strategy game developed by Turquoise Revival Games. You may have played Oxygen: First Breath, a free Steam demo that lets you play the first fifty days of the game.
Large Igneous Provinces
Large Igneous Provinces have caused a natural disaster, and humanity is at the point of extinction. The Large Igneous Provinces are volcanoes that don’t erupt. Instead, they cause enormous fractures in the Earth’s crust to emerge, and lava begins to bubble out and ooze across the landscape.
Furthermore, as the lava bubbles, it unleashes toxic fumes, and only a few humans survive. The volcanos also continue oozing lava for centuries, making it hazardous to humans. It sounds like a lovely place to live.
In addition, the gases spread globally due to the wind effect, altering the atmosphere. If all that wasn’t enough for humankind to cope with, the magmatic gases from the volcanos have decreased the amount of oxygen in the air. No air to breathe equals no humans, so an Oxygen Center is made before it’s too late for humanity. At this Oygen Centre, you will build around it to start a new civilization for all survivors around the globe. As the leader of the new civilization, you must prove your worth to everyone.
When Oxygen begins, you are given the backstory, and then you can complete the tutorials or jump right in. If you jump right in, you can choose from five maps to play on and difficult settings of easy, normal and hard.
I started with the tutorial, as there is much to learn about the game. The tutorial is well-paced and informative, telling you everything you need to know to start.
Build your Colony
You’ll build container houses for your population and fishing docks for food and supply them with water to drink. In addition, you can send some workers to scavenge materials from various old machinery and vehicles that are scattered around the area.
Furthermore, you’ll provide medical facilities, research and upgrade your buildings and generally improve and advance your society. Adding a submarine dock will ensure that new survivors will arrive at your colony, and you can put them to work collecting resources or mining for coal.
Watch out for the Weather
The weather in Oxygen plays a big part in the game. But, importantly, you must also protect your people from unfavourable weather. So you’ll prepare for frosts and droughts and plan by stocking up on water and food.
Harsh winds blow across the planet and pick up dust, so you must be prepared to generate the required energy using coal or plan to move away from coal towards sustainable energy resources. Coordinate and assign your people to different areas to work, so a little micromanagement is required to progress in the game. Most of all, you must ensure a continuous oxygen supply to keep everyone alive.
Oxygen is an enjoyable game, though I found nothing new in the gameplay that this genre hasn’t seen before. It offers the challenge of keeping everyone alive and ensuring they have Oxygen. There isn’t any combat in the game, but you will have to overcome the weather and the wind instead.
I also liked that I could investigate the map for extra resources; finding metal to top up my meagre supply was a lucky break in one of my playthroughs.
Visuals and Music
Visually Oxygen looked fine; it’s a destroyed world, and everything has died, but it makes for a lot of brown and dust. At one stage, during a dust storm, I could hardly see my colony for the amount of dust blowing around. Unfortunately, that also meant I couldn’t do anything in the game and had no choice but to wait until the windstorm ended; thankfully, my colony survived.
Oxygen performed well on my laptop. It ran pretty smoothly without any framerate or issues. The music is lovely and relaxing, but it’s also on repeat, so it gets irritating as you hear it too often.
Overall, I like Oxygen; it offers a challenge and has great potential. But, unfortunately, it all feels a bit generic and much like any other survival game out there. Alternatively, if you hesitate to buy the game, you could try out the free Oxygen: First Breath demo on the Steam store.
Final Verdict: I Like it