by Andy Gallacher
First and foremost, I’m not a gamer. I mean that I’m 56 and have never been into games on a console or anywhere else. But I decided to get a console to play some very simple games on easy setting to pass time a couple of years ago, games like Rory McIlroy Golf and snooker games. I also play story led narrative type games like Detroit, Become Human.
I just wanted to make it clear that my review of Bus Simulator on the PS4 is made from the point of view of a non-gamer who only plays for fun. As most will know Bus Simulator has been waited for and gathered interest in particular in the last 9 months.
I had followed all the development and beta testing videos on YouTube. I’m a former bus driver and so I’ve been very excited about the release.
I think Bus Simulator is excellent, it’s by independent developer Stillalive Studios and uses fully licensed buses from Mercedes-Benz, Setra and Man and so the interiors are exactly as the real world buses look. The game isn’t a true Simulator by my understanding and I’d set it firmly in the Arcade genre.
The map is fictional but absolutely has the look of central Europe like Germany etc. It doesn’t take it’s self too seriously which can be seen by the quirky bios of the drivers. For example, I have one driver who holds the world record for the most porridge eaten in one day haha.
You progress by driving a bus around routes that you map yourself from mandatory requirements from ‘investors’ You then must drive each new route yourself to show a new driver.
This is quite an important part because how you drive will be copied by your driver and so you strive to drive a perfect route thus making the route as profitable as possible. As you complete tasks you will unlock new buses, routes and customisation for your buses, you can even have personalised number plates for your fleet.
From my limited understanding of games and true gamers’, this is a game for fun that all ages can really get in to. I suspect any proper sim gamers’ would not like this but as I say it’s more about building up your bus company, checking the profits and stats and making the most profitable routes.
The actual driving of the buses is secondary but for me, very enjoyable as an ex bus driver. There are also trophies to get and hidden items to find, you can leave your bus and literally walk around the entire map. The graphics and attention to detail are very impressive and you really need to drive in the city at night to appreciate how spectacular it is.
Little touches are brilliant in Bus Simulator such as when you drive around your route you will also see other buses from your company coming the opposite way and they will flash their lights at you.
There is a multiplayer option where you can drive along on separate buses with friends or you can do a ride-along and go on a friend’s bus and pass the time checking customers tickets.
I’ve never written a game review before but I hope this is of some use to those curious or unsure whether to get the game or not. Just for information, I played Bus Simulator on a PS4 Pro with an entry-level steering wheel attached to a wheelstand Pro and on a 4k HDR tv.
Bus Simulator is fully supported by 3 grades of wheel each by Thrustmaster and Logitech although originally only intended to be used with a controller which I have also played with and it’s really easy and intuitive.