I am no veteran to RTS games. However I am a big fan of them, especially ones with the focus on economy. Offworld Trading Company promised to be everything I wanted and delivered on that promise. In this article I will outline to the best of my ability what is so appealing about the game. Why it functions so well. And why it fits as a perfect step ladder for anyone looking to get into the RTS genre without having to go through a massive learning curve.
I won't even bother with the story, there isn't really a story. There's a small backstory that I will write because... well why not.
"Humanity has depleted Earth's resources. We have colonized Mars in a last ditch effort to gather the resources we need to continue our... great legacy. The way we, humanity, decide to do this is through corporations looking to turn a profit. Such is the way of humanity. It doesn't take long for sabotage and illegal activities to take place as again, such is the way of humanity."
Graphics & Sound
Sound, Let's get that out of the way first.
Let's just say I have mine set on mute. It's not bad, it's just not very useful to me. However if you want to pay close attention, you'll want the robotic adviser on that let's you know all that happens in the game.
The game looks simply put very nice. The graphics are easy on the eyes. The colors are nice and soft. The resources are easy to tell apart. Buildings are easy to locate and the UI is nice, clear and easy to navigate.
As so often with RTS games this is where Offworld Trading Company excels. The game mechanics are perfect for those new to the RTS game genre. What I mean by that is this: The game has a beautiful simplicity to it that allows it to be played by new comers and then an extra layer of complexity and strategy that appeals to the veterans of the genre.
The game isn't at all hard to understand. There is of course a learning curve as there is with any game. But compared to most RTS games this is more like a straight line than a curve. With little to no knowledge needed to play the game you can jump right in, enjoy and play the game and get better as you do. However you will want to step up your game if you want to beat the veterans.
When playing against more experienced players in this game you will want to know a few strategies. You'll want to somewhat understand and know how to read the market and model your corporation in the best way possible to exploit it. At first I found it hard to discover strategy guides, but then I realized why. The game has no set strategies. You make your own, what works best for you. Be clever. Be cunning. If you are, you'll win. This adds that extra layer of complexity that the RTS buffs love.
By far the most fun to play to me. Competing against your friends and random strangers is epic fun. Buying each others stocks. Colluding to manipulate the market. Buying each other out. Racing each other to get a head start on a resource. Buy your own stock defensively to raise the price so no one can afford you.
Help your friend who is in need by driving down the resource he needs so that he can buy it at a cheaper price. Or... manipulate the market with tricks and strategies that will raise the price and make that resource unobtainable for him.
I had and will continue having great fun playing Offworld Trading Company. It's fun, it has a lot of replay-ability, it's so simple yet so comprehensive once you know what you are doing. Over all it is probably the best made RTS game for people of any experience with the genre. But now, is it for you?
Do you like racing people to settle on something they would have wanted, spending hours figuring out how to outsmart others with a tactic, an easy learning curve with a lot more to offer than first meets the eye, making money and manipulating the market, buying stocks to sell for profits later... If you enjoy all of this, then yes you should buy this game, even at the 40$ price range, which I'll admit is a bit steep.
If not, then move a long sir/madam, this game is not for you.
Pros: Easy to pick up, freedom of tactics, nice graphics, great UI, fun competition, buying company stock, clever game design, diverse play-style selection.
Cons: Price point
This review does not fully detail the game. It's merely to outline what it is and try to answer if you might want this game in your library or not.