Are you prepared to become the River Master of one of the longest and beautiful rivers in Europe? In River Master you can experience a breath taking stretch of over 200km of the Rhine from Frankfurt to Wesel with a variety of ships doing what makes the Rhine one of the most important rivers in Europe; haulage!
River Master takes the model of Truck Simulator and gives you access to a Bulk Cargo ship the ‘Anna Lisa’, taking on contracts will allow you to rack up experience points to unlock new and distinctive ships to carry out similar, but different haulage contracts.
If you know your ships then you won’t need any pointers in River Master, and with a fairly average set of vehicles including cargo ships, container ships, tankers and ferries there aren’t too many dissimilarities to confuse you with, however to ease you into each individual ship there is a set of very straight forward tutorials that explain movement, docking procedures and how to load and unload your payload, so there'll be no confusion.
Whilst the controls are very straightforward, you wont simply be running from point a to point b like in a Truck Simulator, in River Master you must pull up to the correct Port, find a suitable crane for the goods that you are carrying, set anchor and unload with the control of a crane. Ships do not simply contain a couple of containers, and most ships will be transporting over 1000 tonnes of goods, and moving these in and out of your ship is not fast work. However if you aren’t a big fan of transferring so many goods, then there’s a handy automatic load/unload option available to you, the developers at Weltenbauer thought of everything!
Now if there’s one drawback to the transportation of goods via the sea, similar to transferring goods, it is the time involved. Large cargo ships are not the fastest vehicles that you can find on the water, and when they’re full of goods they aren’t going to go the speeds that you’ll hope they will. Thankfully River Master includes some much needed time compression, because whilst it is satisfying to complete your contracts at x1 speed, when you’re travelling over 100km on a ship that can only go 13kph you’re going to be travelling for a very long time.
We’ve established that the long haul of a cargo ship is much lengthier than that of a truck cab, however there’s one or two features that River Master has going for it that can ensure that your journey is not had sat in boredom, for starters there is the stunning day and night cycle complete with spectacular sunsets and sunrises, to top things off, the banks along the Rhine are not full of a selection of poorly textured buildings; you can watch trains driving overhead, cars drive by and just enjoy the view. Then, if you feel things are getting a little quiet in the night you can switch on the radio that contains a few pre-loaded songs, or throw your own music in there!
Now understandably some of the journeys will take in excess of two hours, however unlike your standard haulage game, River Master contains an auto save feature for when you just can’t keep your eyes open any longer, so you don’t have to feel the need to complete a job in one sitting! Whilst it isn’t very realistic, the element is a godsend, perfect for when you pick a contract that is way over your head.
Like any good vehicular based game on land or water, River Master allows you to drive inside and outside of the cockpit, and features tens of buttons, dials and levels that can be manipulated to drive your vessel, or if you see fit you can use the keyboard for full control, unfortunately the game does not support game controllers or the luscious Ship Controller peripheral.
What makes River Master so impressive is the attention to detail that the game goes into, simulators are rarely so focused on one area, and even the herald of the ship sims, Ship Simulator does not boast as intricate and dedicated a simulation as River Master.
Whilst the game only contains a modest six ships to unlock on top of the standard Cargo Ship, the longevity of River Master can be extended with the included editor that allows for the creation or integration of your own created ships; complete with personal engine sounds!
River Master is not only a beautiful recreation of the river Rhine, it stands as a compelling addition to the small community of ship simulators by embracing the addictive and popular mechanics of the Truck Simulator, if you love your long haul, and have a penchant for the water, you’ll strike gold in River Master 4/5.
River Master is available now for Windows PC in all good stores and online retailers for the SRP of £24.99, if you love the long haul jobs of the Truck simulator, and admire the beauty of the sea, then River Master is one game you should definitely check out.