“Earth may be dying” - with this opening salvo, you begin your journey in Offworld Trading Company. Mars has become the new frontier, and you must compete to establish your place on this new planet by collecting resources and turning those resources into much needed products like electronics and steel to sell to growing colonies that rely on your goods to thrive. But you aren’t the only one attempting to establish yourself and make a profit. Other companies have different visions of what the future will be, some are ruthless scavengers and some are scientific visionaries, while others aren’t human at all.
Make your company indispensable to the colonies and buy out your competition, or you could always just sabotage your opponents with black market EMPs or pirate gangs.
This game can be challenging, especially in campaign mode. But it is not so challenging that you have to be an expert at economics or the simulation genre to be able to succeed. The economics side of this game is simplistic, you won’t be looking at graphs or flow charts to follow your cash flow or monitor your opponent’s financial situation. Economics is simply a matter of having enough resources to support your headquarters as well as having extra to sell to the colony or produce goods to upgrade or sell to the colony. You only need to hover over a resource on the side of the screen to see what it is currently selling for on the market.
Where the game can get challenging is when you are trying to purchase rival stock in order to buyout competitors or purchase your own stock to keep your company from being bought out. The game also allows you to buy some things that you don’t have the money for; the amount you owe is simply added to your debt. I rarely payed off my debt; I didn’t see much need for it as there isn’t much of a penalty. The only thing your debt affects is your bond rating which affects how much your stock is worth and how much sabotage items you can buy on the black market.
Another interesting facet of this game is that there are factions. Your opponents aren’t random computer generated companies. Each company is introduced to you in the tutorials and you get a chance to work for and get to know each group. This can give you a bit of an edge in campaign mode as you are familiar with the behavior of each group as well as what resources they work with and what goods they produce.
This game has beautiful music that wouldn’t be out of place in a movie or AAA game. The music is sometimes moody and sometimes upbeat. I found myself just listening to the music that was playing on the title menu screen and not even playing the game. Even the music that plays in the background during gameplay is engaging and makes you want to keep playing. It is not surprising how well the music fits the gameplay when you consider that Christopher Tin, composer of Civilization IV's soundtrack, composed the music for this game.
Offworld Trading Company is an interesting and somewhat addictive game. If you enjoy simulation games like I do, then I am fairly confident that you will enjoy playing this game. It is also an excellent game for players who are new to the simulation genre. With its variety of campaigns and daily challenges as well as skirmishes and even the opportunity for multiplayer, this is a game that will keep you entertained for quite a while. I know that I intend to keep playing it for quite a while.