I haven’t had the pleasure of digging for gold in real life. I’ll take a stab in the dark and guess that you, the reader, haven’t done this either. Chipping away at rocks and sifting through dirt doesn’t sound all too appealing, so I was a little apprehensive about playing California Gold Rush. Thankfully, any doubts I had were quickly forgotten as I continued through explorations, one after another, and became hooked.
Your job as a prospector is to mine as much gold as possible and bring it up to the surface. The entire underground is set up into a grid of blocks. Each move you make, such as digging through tough rock or working through dirt, will cost you a varying amount of limited stamina points. The goal then becomes to find the largest gold veins underground, in a way that takes up the least amount of stamina. Maps are mixed up with different types of rocks to encounter, unique goals, and a need to plan a strategy by buying helpful items at the shop.
Complete package: The best part of the game was how tight knit the menu system and bonuses were integrated with the gameplay. There are stories to unlock and read as you progress, and even a secret mine to find. The game is incredibly polished and kept me wanting to unlock more content.
Game time: As soon as the story mode began, the screen panned across a detailed map that would serve as your guide across your adventure. With thirty levels lasting you about fifteen minutes apiece (depending on your own pesonal completion goals), the game lasts for a long time. Levels were varied enough to keep things feeling fresh, although the idea of mining for gold can only be carried so far.
Panning around: Controls in this game worked perfectly fine, until you wanted to pan around the map. The game invites you to do so, but any time you do it becomes a jerky mess and turns into a fight with the game. I ended up trying to avoid panning whenever possible.
I had a great time playing through California Gold Rush. The amount of care that has gone into the game, and overall quality, cannot be stressed enough. Digging for gold ended up being fun, and it’s a relaxing game that’s good to pull out when you need a gaming fix.