Golden Trails aims high, almost on target

Spoiler alert! If you love hidden object games and are looking for something a little more fresh, you might want to try Golden Trails: The New Western Rush. There’s not much of a storyline and nothing truly innovative, but the game is a solid performer with really good graphics. It’s definitely worth four stars.


I know this is game day Friday following a week of football app reviews, so I should be reviewing Madden NFL by EA. However, I thought I bought it last year for the iPad and ended up with the iPhone only version, and it wasn’t that great. Then they wanted another $12 for the iPad version. It now turns out that they pulled the NFL 11 apps, and expect players to pay for the NFL 12 game. So I’m going with cowboys and indians.

I ran across Golden Trails, a western hidden object game and it looked interesting. But I’ve gotten jaded with hidden object and storyline puzzle games. As a rule I only download the free trial version and most of the time I never make it to the point where I’m asked to pay for the game because it just seems like more of the same.

As a whole, most are better than some of the first iPad games, but there are so many exceptional ones now the games that used to be good now seem simply playable. The App Store description pitched Golden Trails: The New Western Rush as a combination hidden object shootout game. I was so curious to see how the developer would add shootout capabilities that I had to download the game.

I’ve been painfully honest that I’m not a big fan of shoot ’em up games, even though I know they’re extremely popular. I thought that this might be a good alternative to recommend if, indeed, the game truly is a shootout game.

Which it’s not. Not in my opinion. My first guess was that there wouldn’t be any real shooting, and I regret to tell shoot ’em up fans that there are no shootouts in Golden Trails. There are shooting galleries, and bandits do pop up everywhere, but all you have to do to “shoot” them is to tap them.

The game does feature shooting galleries, but the action is more whack-a-mole than shooting. If you tap on the bandit before he disappears, you shoot him (by the game’s definition). True shooting fans will neither be fooled nor appeased.

I’ll admit that the bandits are fast and not that easy to tap, but Golden Trails shootouts are more like whack-a-mole games than anything else. So if you want to kill things and blow things up, you won’t care for Golden Trails any more than any other game where you look for feathers in cluttered rooms.

For once the game persona is male. For some reason hidden object game designers seem to think only girls like hidden object games, or so it seems because the main character is almost always a girl—usually a daughter or granddaughter. There are some exceptions, Nick Chase: A Detective Story and Frankenstein: The Dismembered Bride. But as a rule, game persona take after Lara Croft more than Indiana Jones.

In Golden Trails, players take on the role of Sheriff Jack who must solve several mysteries tied into a single bank heist. Unfortunately, you don’t really solve the mystery so much as look for items that unlock the narrative that solves the mystery. But it’s a close to solving a puzzle as a hidden object game can get.

The game also introduces characters with dossiers in the form of case files. These files provide much of the information that would help players figure out the mystery if the game didn’t explain it to them.

As with most such games, players have to look in multiple locations for items that will reveal hiding places in other locations. For the most part, however, the objects actually belong in the wild west and associate with the characters. You will encounter a few banana peels and one or two flying saucers, but for the most part the items are consistent with the game.

The graphics are good and the objects range from easy to difficult to find. If you need clues, you earn a hint every time you “shoot” a bandit who pops up where you least expect him. You can also try to recover the stolen loot for additional points.

The mini-games aren’t really puzzles, so much as back story comic strips. Each panel becomes visible as you drag the appropriate clue (one of the found items) into it’s proper place.

The mini games aren’t that challenging and the game wouldn’t let me play any of the bonus levels I supposedly qualified for.

The music is nothing sort of weird. It’s standard western movie fare, but the instruments seem to be Chinese. At first I thought I was mistaken, but it definitely sounds like a yangquin and not a guitar.

Nonetheless, even though it falls short of its promise, Golden Trails is a solid game that never crashes and performs exactly the way a hidden object game should play. The mystery could be more of a challenge, but the levels require enough thought and searching to make the game interesting through the last level. Game length is excellent for the price; you can work it through in a day or take your time and savor it.

Jenny Manytoes rates Golden Trails: The New Western Rush

Jenny Manytoes would purr next to Golden Trails. It’s a solid performer, reasonable entertaining and doesn’t crash or lose your place. It may not be the best the genre has to offer, but it is a model for what a hidden object game should be.

The Jenny Manytoes Rating System

Jenny Manytoes, our polydactyl cat

  • When Jenny makes biscuits on a product she thinks she’s in heaven.
  • When Jenny purrs over a product she’s very happy.
  • When Jenny naps next to a product it’s okay with her.
  • When Jenny bunches her tail she can live with a product, but she has higher expectations.
  • When Jenny leaves it in the litter box….I don’t think I need to explain this one.
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About Phillip T Stephens

Phillip T. Stephens disappeared into the Bermuda Triangle twenty years before he was born, creating a time travel paradox so confusing it remains unspoken between physicists and sci-fi writers to this day. Follow @stephens_pt
This entry was posted in 4 Stars - Purr, Entertainment, Games, Hidden Object, In-App Purchases, Puzzle Games, Shooting games and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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