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Genre: Casual :: Players: 1 :: Released: 07/5/09

California Gold Rush Review

Developer: Digital Chocolate


Game Features


Horribly addictive game
Easy to pick up
Lots of levels


Some levels are pretty long and you can't save mid level

Save Option
Bus/Tube Friendly
See Compatible Handsets












Review Details
Handset Sony-Ericsson K800i
Time Played 5 hours
Game Progress Level 22

Anannya Sen’s Review

Review Date: 13/5/09

A game which made me miss my train stop.

Everyone knows about casual games. There are some decent ones and some duffers and every now and again you get a real gem. California Gold Rush is a real diamond in the rough. On first play it seems a bit too simple. You have to dig around to find gold which you transport back up to your shop for money.

Each level has a certain monetary limit you have to hit to reach 1, 2 or 3 stars. In addition you will find some bonus objectives, such as rescuing miners who have got trapped, making it to the surface or hitting a certain depth. There's nothing overly complicated about the game and, in fact, you can pick it up really quickly.

The problem is that it's horribly addictive, so much so that on the way home today I missed my tube stop because I was so engrossed in playing the game. As you progress, a "story" of sorts does unfold, but it's the fun in finding the gold veins which is the real key. Because you can't see the rocks you have to take a chance and in that respect, it's almost like a game of battleships. However, there is so much more to it than that.

For starters you have a limited amount of stamina which is used up when you walk and dig. The tougher the rock the more stamina it takes to dig it. Some rocks can't be mined and will need explosives. However, there's no time limit so run out of stamina and that's the end of the level. You can buy more stamina in the shop and you may occasionally find some in the pandora's boxes hidden around. But these aren't always good for you, as they are pretty random. In them you can find money, savings on items or even a heightened gold sense to allow you to sense nearby gold much better. Or you could forget your way, increase the cost of supplies and even cause earthquakes.

Yep, the ground can be unstable, denoted by rumbling and dust. Hang around in that area and you will no doubt be crushed, until the trusty shopkeeper pulls you out. For a fee of course. In addition to this, there are the perils of bats and lava to contend with. And once you do find gold, you have to waste stamina in trudging up to the surface to exchange it at the shop. Unless you have enough money to buy an underground shop that is, which is available on the later levels.

So you can see there is a lot to this game. The strategy element of where to dig and how to use your stamina is paramount, and what makes it so much fun. Then you need to decide how and when to use your supplies. And avoid all the dangerous things that can happen as well as deciding whether to take a chance on opening a chest. Once you do reach a gold vein however, and start filling up your satchel, you will find yourself wanting to explore the rest of the mine and see what other treasures you can find. There are some gems dotted around here and there, and these are great as you don't need to go back to the surface to cash them in.

And hidden on some levels are the legendary artifacts, which, if you get all 5, will point the way to the legendary mine. The mines definitely get tougher and although the locations of the gold doesn't change in a mine (so if you play it a few times you will get used to how you should dig), the randomness of the boxes does mean you won't always get the same result twice. This unpredictability certainly aids to the addictiveness, as does the fact the mines get larger and tougher. What once was an easy job of retaining stamina becomes much more plotted, and the search to find gold or the items you need much more desperate when you see the numbers ticking away. There are a few secret mines too which are really bonus levels until you get to the biggie at the end.

I should really be moving onto my next game and writing a review of that, but before I head off to bed, I am sure I will be sneaking a go at California Gold Rush, either to increase my score on previous levels, or to get further to that legendary mine. The graphics are really nice and cute and the sound sets the mood perfectly. What's even more brilliant are the hugely simple controls so overall this game has it all.

It's not often we unearth a gem here on Mobile Game Faqs, but California Gold Rush is certainly the best casual / puzzle game we've played in a long time. And the title may also be misleading as we have to award it one up over gold and give it our ice cold award. Definitely worth getting for your phone.