This April 7 marks the release of Road Maintenance Simulator, a new simulation published by Aerosoft and developed by Caipirinha Games, to whom we owe the catastrophic Animal Doctor and My Unicorn Princess. Is going from “My little pony” to big construction machinery easy? We'll see that.
Still being excluded from Aerosoft partners, we didn't have the privilege of testing the game before the hour, but that's not a bad thing, the first videos published on Youtube were not the most encouraging, so we might as well wait for D-day to get the game in final version and be able to be a little more objective.
“God damn it”! 25 euros!
Let's start with the purchase of the game, the test is carried out on a PC Steam version. Upon purchasing the game, a search on Steam with the term “Road Maintenance Simulator” turned up nothing…. ha yes… you have to scroll a bit before coming across… “Straßenmeisterei Simulator”. A German name is so much more of a seller. I reassure you right away, the game is offered in French. We are saved. For PC players, the game is displayed at 25 euros, compared to 30 euros on consoles, in dematerialized or physical version.
A very new theme: road maintenance
We knew the publisher Playway, which dares simulations of anything and everything, we now have Aerosoft, which is trying pretty much the same thing. By surrounding itself with several development studios to set out to conquer the simulation universe, the publisher is now offering us a theme that has never been explored before: road maintenance. Why not after all. In Straßenmeisterei Simulator, you will have to manage a business through 30 missions, lasting on average half an hour, such as cleaning roadsides, installing vandalized traffic signs, repairing guardrails, resurfacing , or the markings on the ground.
To carry out these missions, 8 vehicles and a well-stocked warehouse are available to players. The simulation aspect is there, in the sense that the neophyte, which I am, discovers new vehicles in a gameplay that is unfortunately too simplified.
The missions follow each other and… look alike
Road Maintenance Simulator is advertised as an "open-world", meaning a game where you can browse the map without physical limitations. But that's not really the case, the map forces you to stay on the road, and the freedom ends where the mission scripts begin. Action after action, you will have to follow the orders which scroll on the screen. You can't really lose. Pouring bitumen on the ground can only be done on specific areas. Ditto for the white stripes on the ground, you won't be able to have fun drawing anything on the ground, the paint being applied semi-automatically. Even TP mods on Farming Simulator do better and provide more freedom.
The youtubeur Galax, who thought of making a series on the game, dropped the case on the 3rd mission… almost identical to the 2nd and therefore too repetitive. And while we're talking about influencers, another video on the GeekGaming.CH channel ends with a script bug, simply crashing the game.
So if it's not for missions, why do we play Road Maintenance Simulator?
The Unreal Engine hides the technical misery
With a gameplay as hollow as a bamboo, it was necessary the small “touch” so that one can hang and align the few hours necessary to complete the thirty missions proposed. And it is finally the Unreal Engine, used by Road Maintenance Simulator, which saves the day. The engine, whose basic assets are widely used here (trees and textures), gives this realistic side to the environment and to vehicles which, it must be admitted, are well made. The typical orange of construction machinery is respected, without being bland or flashy. The texture of the roads is simply beautiful, with a dose of specular like a freshly spread tar in full sun. If these basic settings of the famous Epic Games engine are sometimes criticized by the biggest studios, they are suitable for bringing this realistic aspect to many low-budget indie games. Remove the vehicles, stand in a patch of grass under a tree, and you'll think you're on ranch simulator, which uses similar assets.
A few months away...
Presented at the event Aerosoft's Nextsim last August, Straßenmeisterei Simulator would have required a few months, or even a year, of additional development to reach the ultimate simulation stage. The material is there but ultimately little or not used. We would have liked more interactions between the workers, the vehicles, and the tasks to be performed. We would have liked to see the character, in an interior view, shift gears, operate levers here and there to start the equipment. Nothing here, it lacks life, the map is empty, and you will have the impression of being alone in the world to repair the surfacing of a section of road, when there would have been a dozen IRL workers. In short, it's bland and you end up going around in circles much too quickly. We would have appreciated that the concept is taken to the end as proposed by certain simulations with improbable themes like a Model Builder.