The New Western Rush
Golden Trails: The New Western Rush is a new hidden object game from Awem Studio. Set in the frontiers of the old American west, you fill the boots of Jack, a sheriff on a forced vacation to the "quiet" town of Sunnyvale. Trouble finds him as soon as he arrives, however, as the bank has just been robbed and everyone else seems to be in a predicament of one kind or another. Good thing Jack wasn't interested in relaxing, anyway!
The gameplay in Golden Trails is, for the most part, a straight-up hidden object game. As you investigate each scene, pictures of items will appear at the bottom of the screen. Find and click the item to clear it from your list, opening a spot for something new. Some items will land in your inventory and can be used to access hidden parts of the stage, such as keys that unlock doors, a rake to move a pile of hay, or a crowbar to pry open a box. If something needs an inventory item to be found, the game lets you know, so you'll never feel lost or have to fumble around to find your next task.
The story is a huge part of the experience in Golden Trails, and you'll find more than just a few cowboys and bank robbers as you move through the towns. Each new character is introduced with a brief bio that brings with him/her a new level of intrigue. Did this four-flusher do something serious or is he just the town drunkard? You find new clues in every scene, thickening the plot like a good mystery novel.
A few neat events take place during the hidden object portions of the game, such as gangsters popping their heads in at strange moments. "Shoot" them with your cursor and you'll earn a hint, possibly the neatest hint system in any hidden object game. You'll also encounter sparkling stolen items that are worth a ton of points, useful for unlocking the game's Secret Mission. Ooh, capitalization!
Analysis: Golden Trails: The New Western Rush will immediately impress you with its broad strokes of gameplay. Mini-games, bonus items, trophies, unlockable extras, secret missions, key items, hidden portions of the scenery, the list goes on and on. Discovering these little bonuses brings that same sense of achievement as, well, earning an achievement! Developer Awem Studio wasn't afraid to cloak a hidden object game in a few bonuses, and the end result feels fresh and interesting at every moment.
Golden Trails offers way more than just a good story, a well-presented game, and a balanced hidden object experience. Available from the top left corner of the main menu is something you rarely see in a casual game: extras. Several wallpapers are available, as well as the game's original (and superb) soundrack. You can even check out a comprehensive game guide and get some info about the making of the game! A shooting gallery is also available, pitting your cursor against a handful of pop-up bad guys to see how many you can take down before time runs out.
Once you beat the game, you'll get access to bonus challenges and, if you find the hidden sheriff badges, a brand new unlimited mode. Unlimited lets you play any stage against the timer, racing to see how many items you can find before the clock strikes nil.
Although it doesn't stretch the genre out in any new directions, Golden Trails: The New Western Rush packs several servings of extras in a casual game that's straight-up fun.