Simulation games are all the rage and the ones that capture the realism and detail of the real world tend to be the most successful. As someone who is not often a player of these I was interested to try out the early version of Gold Rush: The Game and see what it was all about.
Set in Alaska, you are tasked with digging for riches as you mine for gold in what is dubbed the “dream come true”. Using realistic, highly-detailed machines with rather impressive controls to match, the game is all about that feeling of working hard to earn your gold. Literally. What was noticeable right off the bat was that this simulation really does put effort into conveying that feeling of being there in person, digging for gold. Featuring a fully reformable terrain and a range of systems to use, there is a lot going on here that will surely make players smile.
At the same time though, the build of the game I got to play was not without its problems. For starters, though the game has some impressive visuals both on the equipment and terrain, the performance and visual bugs were awful, with a frame rate that was more unstable than the ground that I was hoping to dig. The game was, at times, more of a slide show. Add to that the screen tearing, texture pop in, a general mismatch of quality throughout and the fact the tutorial was broken, it was an odd experience. The build also limited how much of the map you could access and plenty of invisible walls would stop your progress in the oddest of places.
Then again as gameplay is the main focus, one would hope that it is up to the task of being labeled a simulation. Thankfully, yes it is. The controls will come across as complex at first but once you get use to them it becomes like second nature. Getting into your car and having to turn on the engine and release the handbrake before driving off for example was engaging. The same can be said for the large mining machines you control as well. Once you master their ridiculous movements you feel a great sense of achievement that is rewarded with the chance to find some gold.
The trouble that Gold Rush: The Game has at the minute is that there is no depth to it and it fails to entrain more than half an hour or so. Though an early build and of course main complaints will surely be addressed by release. It feels a shame that the early version is so lackluster with only the most basic of features developed. Once more of the gameplay loop feels somewhat pointless. Sure this simulation will let players live the gold rush dream, it does not really feel like it is worth it. Plus, why is the background music for this game so horror themed? You end up feeling like you will be jumped at any minute.
Based on this build of the game it is next to impossible to recommend the title. Given that it was funded through Kickstarter and promises a lot of content it would be a shame if the final build of the game doesn’t deliver. Regardless, the issues that need to be fixed are great and hopefully developer Code Horizon will be able to correct these. In the meantime, I would suggest looking for your fortune elsewhere.