Simulation games are out of control as there is basically a simulator for everything nowadays. Whether you are cleaning up a spaceship after a demon fight, trying to fix a broken car, navigating muddy roads transporting heavy cargo, or imitating a bee, there are no shortage of simulations, extending way beyond simulating city building of yesteryear. Honestly, I just don’t get it as most of these games mimic real life work. Bus Simulator is work, not exactly entertainment. I don’t think there is a bus driver in the world that wakes up in the morning excited to go to work, eager to wait in traffic, and hope they get to deal with cranky riders. Why this was made into a game is nothing short of staggering.
This console version of Bus Simulator is actually Bus Simulator 2018 ported from the PC. The bus simulating tasks you would expect are here, from turning on the cabin lights, opening and closing the doors, starting the engine, extending the handicap ramp, pulling down the sun visor, and obeying the rules of the road complete with turn signals. In this sense, yes, this is a bus simulator. But you know what Bus Simulator doesn’t simulate? How awful riding the bus actually is. Sure, dealing with weather, traffic, and construction is built into the game, as is time of day, but there are many elements not in the game that truly defeat the whole purpose of simulating a bus. Dealing with customers starting fights on the bus isn’t a thing, not having people scream in horrible fear if you decide to drive down the sidewalk nailing pedestrians, and avoiding gum on the seat are features simply not found in the game. There is no option to shop around for gas or insurance quotes either. Either way, the biggest let down is the game never simulates any fun either.
Want to see me get frustrated with Bus Simulator? Watch my embedded stream below:
This console version is tough to navigate even for veteran players as it was clearly designed with a mouse interface in mind. There are also elements that are broken. For example, it took me about 5 minutes to open the front door, literally the first thing the game tells you do to, something that should take about one mindless second. After stopping at a designated area, the bus just wouldn’t start even though I was in the driver seat and was able to move the wheel. After minutes of horrible frustration, the game auto set the parking break and never told me how to release it, causing me to be off schedule. Just simply clicking the buttons between neutral, drive, and reverse is tricky as the player has to delicately hit a tiny button using the analog stick. Even the interface in the options screen is cumbersome. Load times are also long, the rear view mirror looks like pages were torn out of a poorly drawn flip book, character models are N64 quality and don’t move their mouths when talking, and collision is not set on most pedestrians and parts of the environment. These are budget quality features but found in this $40 game.
Honestly, I just don’t get Bus Simulator and this target audience clearly isn’t for me. Each day, I spend about two hours in traffic getting to and from work. Last thing I want to do when I get home is sit in virtual traffic, dish out small change to annoying low poly passengers, and still keep to the anxiety filled scheduling, all from a clunky interface.
Not As Good As: Mister Mosquito (PS2)
Better Than: getting hit by a bus
Wait For It: a true Bus Sim in which SWAT is called for that bomb that will blow unless you continue to drive at a high speed