The player takes a role of a pharaoh who has to collect 12 glyphs. Each stage has a randomly generated 10x10 grid layout covered in fog. Players must use the limited amount of turns (usually 85) to discover cities, build roads to connect them so they can grow, search them for treasures, and invest in mines to develop technology, all to build up a sizable, well-armed population. The player must also search for the oasis and the obelisk it holds in order to obtain a glyph of power. When the turns are up, barbarians attack and the player must distribute their people to their cities to hold them off. If they succeed, the glyph of power is theirs. Collect 12 to win the game. Fail to defend and the cities fall and you fight the barbarians yourself by using the glyph and then your scarab power to kill them. Run out of scarab power and the game is over.
Though a very simple and as the same time deep game, pretty much everything in it amounts to a Luck-Based Mission to the point of Fake Difficulty. Cities, mines, treasures and barbariabs are all randomly placed, and sometimes you flat won't be able to do enough to hold off the barbarians before your last turn is up. As repetitive as frustrating as it can get, it is still a fun and simple strategy game, and quite addicting.
Tropes present in Oasis:
- Bear Trap: One of the technologies one can get by mining.
- Bonus Stage: By collecting five OASIS letters either by uncovering the entire oasis or as a very rare chance of getting them from obelisk, a player goes there. There's one city, only ten barbarians, and of the 10x10 map 9x9 of it is oasis, allowing a huge boon to your scarab power as well as essentially a free glyph.
- Excuse Plot: Particularly with the Ten Plagues mission. Obviously you deal with the ten plagues of the Bible, but how do the glyphs of power and the barbarians factor into anything?
- Fake Difficulty: Due to Luck-Based Mission as described in the intro.
- Five-Man Band: Your advisors.
- The Hero: You
- The Lancer: The Engineer, arguably the most useful advisor who lets you build roads with just 1 follower.
- The Smart Guy: The Alchemist, you research technology faster, and the Scout, you see into the fog of war.
- The Big Guy: The General, boosts the combat abilities of all your cities.
- The Chick: Mother Serapabee, grants extra followers and lets you recruit more
- The Sixth Ranger: The Architect, whose bonuses (larger cities, one extra city, cities grow faster) are not as impressive as the others.
- Game-Breaker: The Engineer is ridiculously effective, letting you connect cities faster and converse followers so your army to fight the barbarians is larger. And since you connected them faster, your cities will have grown more too.
- Luck-Based Mission: Aside from the above, in later campaigns your cities may be infected with a plague, and that plagued city may be placed in relation to the terrain in such a way you can't connect your cities together without connecting them to the plagued city, thus sapping the population of all cities to 10.
- In other missions, meteors fall at random every few turns, destroying any city, road or mine they hit.
- MacGuffin: Those glyphs of power can do anything can't they?
- Randomly Generated Levels: This makes the game more challenging.
- Wacky Wayside Tribe: The barbarians.