California Gold Rush: Bonanza!

The question of how to follow up a title that already sparkles in its own right is one that seems to dog California Gold Rush: Bonanza! throughout.

Mess with the formula too much and you risk muddying its otherwise clean and crisp waters. Likewise, if you embrace the status quo, you bring into question the need for a sequel in the first place.

Not that it's especially fair to describe California Gold Rush: Bonanza! as a full-on sequel.

Essentially. what's offered here is a superficially smarter take on the original – a map pack, served up as a game in its own right.

The question of whether it gets away with it, however, largely depends on how much you enjoyed its first hunt for treasure, and how much you yearn for more of the same.

Dig for victory

Essentially, play takes exactly the same form as in its predecessor, only this time, instead of taking charge of sweet young Mandy, you control the kind of butch brute who would perhaps be better placed in a '70s porno.

It matters not, however, as play retains an almost identical setup.

You mine through a grid of earth underneath the surface looking for gold. Building tunnels as you go, each move you make saps away from your total pool of energy, with the idea being to pick up enough treasure before you're completely out of puff.

Though upgrades and additional tools – explosives that burst through previously blocked off areas and maps that highlight where portions of treasure are hidden – are available when your coffers begin to fill, play essentially balances around your ability to be efficient.

Finding as much as you can in as few a moves as you can is the key.

Unearthing history

But, that's a statement that applies to the original title. California Gold Rush: Bonanza! looks smarter, arguably has a slightly better tutorial, and comes with 28 new levels and a batch of bonus stages, but it's basically the same game.

Fans will no doubt be pleased to know that the magic hasn't been messed with as a result, but by serving up a compendium of greatest hits rather than furthering the franchise, many will be content in the knowledge that they're not missing out on anything radical or revolutionary if they choose to give this particular Gold Rush a miss.

California Gold Rush: Bonanza!

Less a sequel and more a smarter take on the original, California Gold Rush: Bonanza! retains the best parts of the first title but doesn't really bring anything new to the party