Bus Driver: Driving Innovation?
Now, it’s no secret that the PC is the most diverse platform out there - there are games for every niche you could ever imagine, from your trusty Military Action to your bizarre School Simulators (yes, that’s a real genre - I checked.)
One particular style of game that’s been popping up a lot recently are the so called “Job Simulators” - games meant to simulate the jobs that some people aspire towards but simply can’t do in real life. One such example of this is Bus Driver, a bus simulator from the creative minds over at Spirën Softwares. Now, here’s the kicker, dear reader - it’s really bloody good.
This game puts you in the shoes of an everyday bus driver doing his rounds in several distinct locations, such as place with lots of buildings or place in the middle of nowhere. Jokes aside, these environments do feel very different, and aren’t just a glorified difficulty selector - both have a distinctly different form of challenge to them, with the city area being more densely packed and filled with pedestrians, whereas the rural areas are more sparse yet have more unpredictable roads, with them twisting and turning almost constantly.
Now that’s all well and good, but what would these environments be without something to do in them? Well, sadly this is where Bus Driver falls a tad short. See, the core mechanics of driving the bus feel weighty, responsive and rewarding, yet it’s all there is. The two areas mentioned are the only two areas, with about 5 bus routes each - this essentially means that the game has 10 levels without any variation or excitement to them, which is a real shame, as the actual gameplay is great.
Another area in which this game can’t help but disappoint is in it’s visual design. The environments are flat and textureless and have a severe lack of anything interesting going on. This lack of polish also extends to the optimisation, as our PC couldn’t keep the framerate anywhere near the target 30fps, and that’s with a 486DX and 16MB of RAM - this is a game meant purely for the monster PCs out there.
So, with all that said, my score may surprise you. The piss-poor optimisation, the lack of content, I can look past that, simply because the actual gameplay is just so good. I hope that Spirën Softwares learn from their mistakes and deliver a true masterpiece in Bus Driver 2 - until that day comes, however, I’m giving Bus Driver a 7 out of 10.
7/10 - Good.
-Severe Lack of Content
(Sequel to Epic Galaxy Saga)