Get busy digging
California Gold Rush! is a simple enough little game, and is firmly aimed at casual players but if you count yourself amongst this number, then it's a perfectly acceptable way to while away a few hours. It mixes light puzzling with resource management to pleasant enough effect and makes for an entertaining romp. You play the role of Mandy, a gold prospector out to make her fortune in California and who possesses an uncanny ability to hunt the stuff down. You'll basically get to explore a series of underground environments, looking for gold to collect and bring back to the surface. Carrying out any action causes you to lose stamina, so you need to be careful to go back up every so often to replenish your health while also returning any gold you've found and using some of your hard-earned cash to buy items to help you make even more money. Items include things like explosives to open up new areas and props to support wobbly areas, while there are also hazards such as bats flying around and which can cause your plans to go pear-shaped. As mentioned, this isn't an overly complex or deep game but there is something strangely compelling about it all. It's certainly charming enough in the visuals department, with some attractive character and environment work but it's the gameplay which is the biggest appeal. This is easy to pick up but quite addictive, with the right amount of intrigue and interest created by its exploratory nature. It's not going to keep you going forever, but for some casual fun, you could do worse.