I love the concept of minis, I really do. The choice of platform can change the way games play so much in good and bad ways. Sometimes the PSP’s controls hinder the experience while other times, the PS3’s HD-ness can destroy the simple graphics but at least one of them is usually enjoyable. Some titles are perfect on both and are a pleasure to play but unfortunately Tik Games’ Gold Fever, another title in their Year of Minis event, definitely doesn’t shine on the PS3.
As with most Minis, the gameplay is quite basic. That’s not to say it isn’t fun though. Gold Fever is a Match-3 style game but instead of swapping coins to match the colours, you must flip coins on the grid to match the faces/sides. The aim is to join three or more coins of the same face, removing them from the grid and leaving their square “mined.” Once each square available has been mined once, the level is completed.
Simple, yes? Well as you progress, more colours are added to the grid and the layout is altered, often leaving coins separated from their partners. Gold randomly appears in the layouts and if these can be dropped to the bottom, you will receive an extra life. Power-ups feature too but very rarely and I never felt like I needed them (as with the extra life). The gameplay is fun and if you enjoy this genre, there are plenty of levels, but I never felt pressured by the timer.
As expected, the graphics are sufficient on the PSP. Although Minis are primarily targeted towards portable, on-the-go playing, the graphics on the PS3 must still be mentioned. I’m not sure if Sony could implement some form of anti-aliasing to smooth out Minis on the PS3, right now the game seems very blocky and dated. For this reason alone, I’d recommend playing on the PSP. For some, the coins may be a little small on the PSP’s screen but for me, they were fine. The controls on both work well though.
Between levels, the games supplies you with facts from the mining era and saves your progress, great for playing a few levels and then heading on to something else. You might want to mute your PSP or PS3 though. I know I comment on this a great deal when discussing Minis, but other titles manage to keep the audio fresh and subtle. Gold Fever doesn’t. The theme is very repetitive and the badly voiced “Ready, Set, Dig” is overly cheesy. If only Minis allowed custom music in-game.
- Great on the PSP
- Perfect for five minute plays
- Fans will love this variation
- Graphically suffers on the PS3
- Not challenging enough
- Repetitive sounds
While the gameplay isn’t flawed, there is little in the way of challenge. It is fun and great for a quick go but it should remain on your portable device. It’s a nice variation to the deluge of Match-3 games and fans will more than likely enjoy it.