ReviewsReview: Gold Rush: The Game.

Review: Gold Rush: The Game.

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The thought of striking gold genuinely makes me excited. Sifting through tonnes of pay dirt to find a large golden nugget makes all the hard work worthwhile. This gold fever has struck many humans across the years, and now gamers can experience this thrill from the comfort of their home. Gold Rush: The Game allows you to explore the Alaskan wilderness, searching for the perfect spot to find your millions.

Developed and published by Code Horizon, this is an ultra-realistic simulation game. Based on the smash-hit Discovery Channel Series, fans can now grab a pan and shovel and find their virtual millions. Originally backed by the Kickstarter program, it has evolved and improved across the years to get a console release we can all enjoy.

Gold Rush: The Game takes the phrase simulation game to the next level.

I have a soft spot for the many virtual reality shows that follow people undertaking dangerous jobs. Fisherman, truck drivers, loggers, gold divers, and others. I admire their levels of expertise and their desire to succeed. It’s also a thrill when you see them hit rock bottom, only to find a way back to the top. Gold Rush: The Game attempts to replicate this with its tough mechanics, and ultra-realistic approach.

Though I enjoy watching these programs, I don’t understand all the finer details. This causes a problem when you learn the fundamentals because of the level of detail that’s been implemented. Every machine you handle has intricate parts that must be purchased, constructed, deconstructed and cleaned. The amount of detail will break some gamers and the opening moments will overwhelm them.

Use technology to make your millionaires.

To get rich, you must get dirty.

There is nothing better than controlling massive pieces of machinery. The tutorial chucks you in at the high end of the operation. Diggers, truck, automated machines, and more are used to explain what must be done. As you are introduced to your parcel of land, the technology is stripped away and you are left facing a rudimentary approach. A shovel, pan, and basic equipment are all you have to make your riches. You realise that you’ll have to get dirty to find your fortune.

Though it is a full-on challenging experience, its slow pace makes it a very relaxing title to play. How quickly you advance through the tech tiers or explore the surrounding town is your choice. You can keep your operation tiny, or expand by hiring workers and attempting to make your millions. I loved the laid back style, but the lack of focus may not be to everyone’s liking.

Being a gold miner isn’t all money and rewards.

Gold Rush: The Game doesn’t make life easy for you. The Alaskan environment isn’t forgiving, nor is the local wildlife! With harsh weather fronts to work through you must work on ways to earn extra cash when the dirt can’t be moved. On top of this, the curious bears love to spoil the party! You will need to have eyes in the back of your head to keep things going.

If it isn’t the weather of bears ruining the operation, it’s the lack of fuel of the continual maintenance. It’s a constant juggling act between spending and earning money. Repairs aren’t simple and like the rest of the game, it’s very hands-on and loaded with detail. All the requirements give you the impression that this has been influenced by many simulation games. Some of you will love the mashup of themes, I, however, found it a bit too much! I wanted to focus my attention on the mining aspect but felt hampered by the constant setbacks.

I love GOLD!!!!!

Gold Rush: The Game has a wonderful sense of community.

Simulation titles have evolved a considerable amount, and it’s no longer just the task that people are interested in. Gamers want meat on the bone, some depth to their virtual existence, and they want to feel like they belong. Gold Rush: The Game has delivered this with a wonderful sense of community. The town at the heart of this rural location is key to your success and you discover you need them more than they need you.

With stores, a blacksmith, a bank, a gas station, and more to visit, you’ll keep returning to town in order to be successful. There is plenty of back and forth and like the high levels of detail and the constant juggling of tasks, this may frustrate some. Personally, I loved it as it added a layer of depth and realism that would have otherwise been missing.

It looks nice, but it has issues!

Sitting back and taking in the wilderness was wonderful. The developers have done a nice job of creating a realistic environment to explore. Earthy tones change to reflect the seasons and the lighting and shadows alter depending on the time of day. Kudos to the team for generating such a realistic-looking title, but, it’s not perfect at all.

Moving around is clumsy and borderline impossible. Minor holes hold you up and you’ll collide with the smallest bit of scenery. The first-person perspective exasperates this problem, sadly. There is no free camera when moving vehicles, making the easiest of tasks an arduous ordeal. These were elements you got used to, but what was unforgivable was the loading between sections. The constant buffering was horrendous and shouldn’t have been present. Seamless exploration is the minimum standard for modern titles, yet this one failed.

Where they didn’t fail was the wonderfully relaxing audio. A calm and serene soundtrack plays along behind everything you do. I loved how it set the scene and mellowed you out. With so much loud machinery dominating the gameplay, anything more aggressive would have been overkill. The deep, grunting sounds of the engines and the constant roar of water were also great to listen to. The audio enhances the realism and was delivered to a high standard.

Shift that pay dirt.

A successful PC port.

It’s rare that I get to say a PC port was a success, but today is that day! Undoubtedly this would still be better with a Mouse and Keyboard, yet the controller worked perfectly well. With a guide available at all times, every task was simple to undertake. You’ll need patience, practice, and finesse to master each piece of machine. This challenge is half the fun and you’ll feel a sense of achievement when you perfect it. The controls were responsive and made a difficult game easier to play.

As with most simulation titles, replay value is determined by your love of the subject. In theory, this has ample content and plenty of scope to keep you going. The moderate achievement list ensures you keep playing, as do the multiple layers of technology you purchase. If you get hooked on this, you’ll lose your life in its addictive ways.

Gold Rush: The Game delivers a lot of content, but is it too much?

Code Horizon has delivered a fantastic simulation title with plenty of content. My concern is it’s potentially too much for the casual player. For fans of the TV series, this will be a thrilling title that gives you a full insight into the life of a miner. For the rest of us, it could overwhelm and cause us to switch off. I enjoyed my time with it and will return to keep digging pay dirt. If you love detailed simulation games, then buy it here! Grab your parcel of land, dig into the dirt, and extract the gold. Mother nature wants you to get rich, don’t disappoint her!

SUMMARY

Gold Rush: The Game is a highly detailed, ultra-realistic simulation title. Start from the bottom and work your way up to becoming a millionaire. A wonderful experience, mostly, but a few annoying niggles hold it back.

+ Nice realistic graphics.
+ Calm and relaxing audio.
+ Faithful to the TV series.
+ Realistic and tough mechanics.
- Perhaps it's too detailed for casual players.
- Buffering in the open world is unforgivable.

(Reviewed on the Xbox Series X. Also available on PC and PlayStation.)
Daniel Waite
Former editor and reviewer for www.bonusstage.co.uk, I've now found a new home to write my reviews, and get my opinion out to the masses. Still the lead admin for Xboxseriesfans on Facebook and Instagram. I love the gaming world, and writing about it. I can be contacted at [email protected] for gaming reviews.

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