Sailing isn’t like any other racing sport in that you point to the direction you want to go, and you go there. Oh no. You rely on the wind for propulsion, not some noisy jacked-up V8 engine and because of that you need to make sacrifices. Those sailors out there will know what I am talking about when I say that you need to have your sail in the right position to get the most speed. This added complication will attract people and likewise put people off at the same time.
In the game you are put at the helm of a racing yacht. You are put through a series of water-based courses in which you need to harvest the winds energy to get round it as fast as possible.
Sailboat Championship Gameplay
You do this by controlling the direction the boat is facing and also the position of the sail. You are given the option to hire a sailor who will control the sail for you, just leaving you to the steering, but if you just leave it at that then you certainly haven’t experienced the whole game.
With experience points you gain through completing courses you can level up you boat, buy a new one and improve its stats. XP also unlocks new levels within the game. Other than the normal time trial, there are also races and special bonus levels where you need to save helpless victims of a plane crash in the middle of a raging sea.
Multitasking between the two positions, you boat and sail, can be a challenge though. The game focusses a lot on skill. This means that you must keep constant track of where you are and where your sail is in relation to the wind. This is only made more complicated by the sometimes unclear wind direction which is shown by faint dashes in the sea around you. I like the unobtrusive and realistic way to show wind direction, but when you are juggling between the two controls it can be a bit frustrating.
On the subject of controls, compared to the precise iPhone touch screen, pulling in and out the sail on the Mac is much less accurate and getting that perfect position is harder than it should be.
Where Sailboat Championship doesn’t falter is graphics. The water effects and reflections are simply stunning and make the game a realistic and beautiful experience. You really do feel like you are dodging between tropical islands or battling the angry sea in a raging storm. The environments are varied, and each level feels immaculately crafted.
But this doesn’t stop the game being very difficult. Chances are you are not going to get gold or even silver on your first try which will lead to a number of play throughs. Self-discipline is very apparent in Sailboat Championship and you will need to battle hard for those last experience points to unlock that new level. And even then, there aren’t that many levels at all. Even though it will take you a very long time to actually unlock all of them, there isn’t really a lot of original content to be had.
As I said, Sailboat Championship isn’t for everyone. Its sometimes difficult premise and unforgiving gameplay might put some people off. But if you are a keen sailor then this is a must for your Mac games collection. It might even improve your skills out in the real sea.
Price: $4.99 (£4.99)
Description: A Polished Sailing Simulator for Sailors.
Pros: Stunning graphics, realistic sailing gameplay, polished.
Cons: Unforgiving, could use some more levels, control inaccuracies.
Advised Control Method: All (keyboard control)