Welcome to our Bus Simulator review. Originally released in 2018 as Bus Simulator 2018, for PC, Bus Simulator is now ready to pull into Console Station for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. This game gives you a glimpse into the life of a bus driver.
- Bus Simulator
- Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
- Reviewed On: PlayStation 4
- Developer: Stillalive Studios
- Publisher: Astragon Entertainment
- Multiplayer: Online 2-4 players
- Available: 17th September 2019
- Price: £32.99 (U.K), $39.99 (U.S)
- Age Rating: PEGI 3 (UK/EU), E (U.S)
- Review Code Provided
We’ve all been there, 7 a.m in the morning stood at a bus stop in the pouring down rain, casually waiting for a bus that may be on time, but most likely will be a few minutes late. We curse the bus driver and their giant road-going machine, without thinking of the stress he or she is going through. Well, what if there was a game that could emulate that? Actually there is and it’s called Bus Simulator.
Unlike some other simulators, Bus Simulator doesn’t just task you with driving buses and doing other driver-related things, it also tasks you with creating and managing the entire business your buses rely upon. So as well as driving buses you’ll be building a company from scratch, hiring drivers, purchasing buses, creating routes and hopefully succeeding. When starting your business you can opt for the reality that is going bankrupt and losing it all or having the chance of bankruptcy turned off, which is the better case if you mostly want to just drive buses without worrying too much about the business side of things.
Naturally, the idea of being a bus company is to make money, with your main source of income being the passengers you pick up. Even though you pick up passengers it still is quite possible to eat into your profits with things like fines. Fines are given for things such as running a red light, hitting other vehicles or running down a pedestrian (don’t worry you don’t actually see that last part, the screen goes white). There are also other things that eat into your revenue such as hitting curbs and driving over potholes. All of these possible actions paired with the fact you’re trying to run your bus service on time really do put the pressure on you as a driver.
Other things you’ll have to spend your hard-earned money on include buses, bus paint jobs/decals and staff wages. There’s no denying that this is one very deep simulator when it comes down to it. It’s not often we see management and the actual activity combined into one simulation game.
What good is a bus game without buses? No good is the answer. Thankfully Bus Simulator has quite a few and they’re all officially licensed. The first one you’ll come across as you start career mode is the Mercedes-Benz Citaro K. As you play through the game you’ll unlock more purchasable buses from brands such as Iveco, MAN, and Setra to add to your ever-growing fleet.
Being a simulator game, it’s important that the buses in the game are as close in appearance to their real-life counterparts. It’s clear to see that Stillalive Studios fully understand this as each bus model has been carefully crafted to get it as close to the real thing as possible from the inside and out. On the outside, everything is where it should be and on the inside, the level of detail is just as impressive from the passenger seat layout to the driver’s world of the cockpit.
Looking around the cockpit of the bus reveals many buttons, most of which you can press just like a real bus driver. There are buttons for lights, opening doors, revealing and hiding the wheelchair ramp and so much more. It’s like stepping into a digital wonderland, especially if you’ve never been in a real bus cockpit. I really do love the level of detail they’ve gone into here.
Each bus you purchase can be customized with new paint jobs and decals. If you wish for a uniform approach to your virtual bus company you can apply your customization across all of your buses. If you don’t care for a uniform approach you can just do each bus in whatever style you fancy. Unfortunately, there are no other customization options like engine modifications or adding a kick-ass spoiler to the rear of your buses, although to be honest this probably wouldn’t go down too well with any seniors who wish to use your bus services.
I can’t believe I’m actually saying this, but driving a bus in Bus Simulator can be quite stressful, just like it can be in real life. Whether it’s the traffic you’re stuck in, trying your hardest to be on time, or that annoying passenger who decided to get off the bus just after you depart a stop, this game is packed full of stressful moments that actually make me feel sorry for bus drivers.
The game’s map is very widely spread and features all sorts of scenery from a busy city right to an area populated by farms. At first, you start off in the top corner of the map working a small area, but as you complete certain tasks new areas become available that will allow you to transport passengers between each area with ease from the comfort of your cockpit. Within each area, bus stop locations are fairly spread apart in a fashion that reminds me a bit of where I live.
While the graphical representation of the buses is pretty decent, there’s not much to say for the areas themselves. The graphics are pretty rough around the edges as if most of the budget was spent on making the buses look nice.
Driving around in Bus Simulator is pretty fun overall as it tests your abilities as a good driver. There are things like traffic lights to watch out for, speed limits and even pedestrians crossing the road. You’ll even have to use your indicators to ensure you get a good report at the end. The buses all have their own individual specifications but overall they handle really well within the game world thanks to clevel design and easy controls.
If you want to make the game feel less like a simulator, you’ll be happy to know there are a ton of different settings you can mess around with including one that allows you to just free roam and do as you please with none of the hassles.
Overall Bus Simulator is a pretty fun, albeit stressful way to experience the life of a bus driver. The addition of running a business on top of driving buses makes it quite a deep simulator when it comes down to it. Graphically it’s not very good, well for the most part, at least the buses look sweeeeeet.
That concludes our Bus Simulator review. The game will be available to play on Xbox One and PS4 from September 17th, 2019.