Review: "Gold Strike" for the Apple iPhone
Another game for the iPhone? I already have over a hundred games on my iPhone (one reason my kids are always stealing my phone!) so when my friend Gary dropped me a note to let me know that his long-time hit Gold Strike [iTunes link] was now available through the iPhone App Store, I was skeptical. He writes great games but still, another game? Fortunately, I sprang for the $0.99, dropped it onto my phone and am impressed!
There are tens of thousands of different games available for the iPhone, a selection that's so staggering that it's almost impossible to wade through them all. On any given day I imagine that dozens - if not hundreds - are added to the App Store, making it even harder to figure out what to explore.
Games also generally divide out into different categories, the First Person Shooters, the Puzzle games, the Strategy games, Role Playing games, Card games, etc etc. Gold Strike is a puzzle game in the same vein as Tetris and Bejeweled. The premise - such as it is - is that you're a miner and a wall of different minerals is slowly working its way towards you. If you throw your pick at adjacent mineral blocks of the same substance, however, they're destroyed. Nail the gold blocks and you get points. Move too slowly and the slowly advancing wall crushes you and it's game over time.
Gary tells me that his inspiration was: "to make the best every "falling blocks" genre game. I played all of them and loved them. I noted that a common strategy was to remove as much of 3 colors as you could, leaving long strings of only one color for max score. So I thought that the game might as well pick the one color for you -- the gold color. Then, I also liked the idea of the blocks coming in from one side instead of up from the bottom or down from the top."
This'll make more sense with a screen shot:
Okay, that's the opening screen. You can get a sense of the visual style of the game that Gary's created. Fun, whimsical, and accessible.
Pick a particular variation on the game -- I'll chose the Standard Game -- and you'll drop into the mine, looking at a wall of mineral blocks slowly moving from left to right:
See that red block with the little urn graphic on it in the column closest to the miner? That's an "artifact": breaking those blocks (which, recall, you can only do if at least one more of the same is adjacent to it) gives you more points.
If you look closely at this illustration you'll see part of the challenge too, because there are only two spots where any of these blocks can be removed, one grey, one blue. See them? That, of course, is one of the challenges of this game, proceeding when you realize that there's nothing you can do to eliminate the stray disconnected blocks.
Survive a certain number of levels showing up in the mine and you'll finish a level:
As far as I can tell, there's no way to complete the game, you just go deeper and deeper into the mine, gaining points and learning how to calm your wild heartbeat. :-)
While not my favorite game, this is a fine addition to my iPhone game library and I am glad to see that my kids are finding it a fun diversion and a break from Cooking Mama (my 6yo girl), Quest Knight (my 9yo son) and Surviving High School (my 13yo daughter), though I am still deep in the Chuzzle zone, personally.
Check it out: Gold Strike for the Apple iPhone [iTunes link].
Nice job, Gary!
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