Throwback Thursday - Gold Rush! 2 Review
Throwback Thursday - Gold Rush! 2 Review
If you aren’t a big fan of the first game, I’d avoid this one
Posted: 04/12/18 | Category: Review | Developer: Sunlight Games | Publisher: Kiss Ltd | Platform: Linux, Windows, Mac
As of April 12, 2018, thie game is available from the JA Store

Note: This review was originally published May 8, 2017

Genre: Point-and-Click Adventure
Release date: April 28, 2017

Gold Rush! 2  

Gold Rush! is a lesser-known Sierra classic. Released in 1988, you follow the character of Jerrod Wilson while he goes out west in search of his long-lost brother, Jake. The game is known for being historically accurate about traveling to California during the Gold Rush of the 1840s and provides three different paths to get there. The game was actively sold as an educational game after its release, with the rights falling back to the original owners. It was remade in 2014, and recently a brand-new sequel came out.

The Story 

When we last saw Jerrod and his brother Jake, they had struck gold at Jake’s gold mine. This game picks up about 20 years later. Jake and Jerrod are local celebrities and have become extremely rich. They decide it is time to go back home to clear up the circumstances of Jake’s untimely departure many years before.

The game is told in three acts. The first is in California where Jerrod must prepare to leave. The game, unfortunately, gives you no hints about what, exactly, Jarrod’s unfinished business is. In an old-school approach to gaming, you are forced to explore the land to find out. You’ll visit the mine, the town of Coloma, and the remains of Sutter’s fort.

The second act is the act of traveling from California to New York. Unlike the original game, this one offers only one travel route. But don’t worry, there are a bunch of stops where you can use your puzzle-thinking to get out of jams. This portion of the game is a bit illogical, because the bulk of the game has you trying to outsmart bandits by destroying the tracks behind you with the help of your train conductor. It seems unusual that the conductor would think this is a good idea.

Finally, you get back to Brooklyn to confront Boss Tweed, clear your brother, and help rebuild the home you once had. Boss Tweed is a historical figure from the 1860s, who was active in politics and was even voted senator. The game does not explore his real history. Its historical aspects are tacked on in non-interactive ways, usually just small screenshots during the train ride.

Production Values 

The graphic style of this remake follows the style of the Gold Rush! Anniversary Edition remake. Unfortunately, that makes it boring to look at. The characters are blocky and the animation feels 10 years old. The voice actors fall flat, and if you were to tell me they were created using a text-to-speech program, I’d believe it.

The puzzles are primarily straightforward, and a seasoned adventurer won’t have any troubles going through the game quickly. It took me less than three hours, and I got a full score. The scoring system is another callback to the games of old.  Instead of using Steam Achievements or a similar system, the game keeps a numerical score. Little replay value is offered to those achieving full scores the first time around.

The game does have a few death sequences, but they are implemented smartly. An autosave happens before you get close to something game-ending.  Don’t let that stop you from saving on your own, though, as I only noticed a few autosave points. 

The game implementation is a bit clumsy and I think it feels rushed. At one point I was able to bypass a conversation that was vital to understanding the game. At multiple points, I would get odd error messages by clicking on the wrong thing, such as, “I don’t understand, girl.” I wonder if they had a typing interface that was taken out of the final engine. At another point I even got a success message about completing a puzzle before I had come across the puzzle.

Final Thoughts 

Despite its numerous flaws and short game-time, I enjoyed my time with Gold Rush! 2. Revisiting some old haunts and seeing how they had changed was a treat. But overall, the game left me underwhelmed.  Price-wise, if I were to compare this to Thimbleweed Park, a more recent point-and-click adventure, the game gave me 15% of the gameplay for 75% of the cost.

If you aren’t a big fan of the first game, I’d avoid this one. 

Grade: C
Good story that continues the original game 
+ Good music, including nods to the original game 
Straightforward puzzles
- Short gameplay
- Boring graphic style

System Requirements

OS: Windows 7, 8 or 10
Processor: Dual Core 2 GHz or better
Memory: 1 GB RAM
Graphics: Graphics card with a minimum 512 MB RAM
Storage: 1.8 GB available space
OS: Mac OS X Lion
Processor: Dual Core 2 GHz or better
Memory: 1 GB RAM
Graphics: Graphics card with a minimum 512 MB RAM
Storage: 1.8 GB available space
Specials from Digital Download
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