Publisher astragon Entertainment and developer stillalive studios take the simulation-scene with the newly released Bus Simulator 2016. You, the new owner of a small bus company, is set out to climb out high from the bottom. You are a normal bus driver, and the world is your oyster.
Bus Simulator 2016, has an amazing take on real-life bus interactions, definitely befitting of its title. While it might seem simple to operate as a bus-driver, picking-up and dropping-off passengers down a set route, there are certainly mechanics to emerge the player in their new role.
There are a surprisingly amount of interactions between the player, the bus, the passengers, and the environment for such a straight forward setting. Turn on the engine, double check the lights, lift the brakes, signal and turn down the road towards your first load of passengers. As you pull up to the bus light, you have to slow down and align the bus parallel to the curb, at the most optimal angle for passengers. Put on the loading brakes, start to kneel the bus, and then open the passenger doors. Then you will have to dole out their change, then the automatic doors get stuck, well, you get the point. A loose objective is set based on whether or not the bus can make it to the next stop on time and precise the player is in following traffic laws and general procedures.
The environment and the graphics of Bus Simulator 2016 are nicely made and of a high quality. The cars and passengers that you may encounter while driving follows the traffic lights quite well, and there were not any bugs or difficulties with their interactions. There is a colorful and animated background of bright buildings, moving cars, and walking pedestrians. Combined with the GPS map onboard the bus, you can definitely see the image of a large and lively town. In addition to the bus driving portion of the game, there is also a portion of gameplay with company managing-esque elements. The player would eventually purchase new buses and hire new drivers to grow the company.
All-in-all, Bus Simulator 2016 has few but blemishing flaws. The physics engine used in this game is not an accurate representation of real-world physics, severely undermining its genre of being a simulator. Besides for the bus, the models for the buildings and NPC cars are not very detailed. Considering the main portion of the gaming experience involves driving and looking at scenery, in addition to managing the bus and passengers, this oversight undermines the immersion of the game. There is a multiplayer option in the game but the lack of player-to-player interaction makes it almost obsolete. Despite these short fallings, the flaws are overshadowed by the accuracy and mechanics of the game, making it a great overall gaming experience. As such, I would give it a score of 3.5 out of 5.
Here is the official Bus Simulator 16 release trailer:
Bus Simulator 16 is now available for PC and Mac OS either in retail or on digital download platforms (Steam) for 26.99 USD/ 24.99 Euro/18.99 GBP (RRP).