Bus Simulator 18 Review

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The next edition of the Bus Simulator franchise is here and complete with multiplayer and mod support. Find out what we thought in our Bus Simulator 18 Review!

Release Date June 13, 2018
Genre Simulation
Platforms PC
Developer Stillalive Studios
Price $39.99 US
ESRB Rating N/A
Players 1-4 Players

 

*A copy of this game was provided to FYIG by astragon for review purposes.*

I’ve never played a game in the Bus Simulator series so I’m not someone who is going to be good at comparing this game versus previous games in the series. I don’t think that’s much of an issue, though. I’ve been pretty curious about this series for years. I’ve always wondered how a game simulating a transit bus route could be any kind of fun. It always seemed a bit too realistic for me. After playing the game, I found that there is definitely some enjoyment to be had here.

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You can customize many things including your driver.

Bus Simulator 18 isn’t just a game about driving a bus, even though that is a big component of it. You’re in charge of running a bus company. Driving those routes give you cash to buy new buses, upgrade existing ones, hire drivers and staff, and anything else that you can associate with running a successful bus company. You can also create your own new routes and complete missions to unlock new city districts and buses. The game is highly-customizable from your character to your buses to your routes. Is it a deep customization tool, not really. You’re able to put a bit of a stamp on everything and that’s better than nothing. You can even choose whether you want realistic driving or simplified depending on what your skill level is.

The game begins with a great tutorial mode that shows you the ropes. You open the doors to your bus and a helpful lady sits behind you and starts to tell you how the different aspects of the bus controls work. Once you figure out the lights, how to close the door, and how to start the ignition you start on your journey to your first bus stop. There’s a lot of steps to be a bus driver and you continue to learn as your passengers get on the bus. Some passengers require tickets and you need to give them the correct ticket for their age group and type of ticket they want. Then, you have to give them correct change. If there’s a passenger in a wheelchair, you have to lower the ramp for them. There are even nuisance passengers that leave trash or turn up their music too loud that you have to deal with. It’s a dynamic experience that is constantly changing.

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All aboard!

It takes a little while to get used to the subtle things you have to do as a bus driver. Using your turn signals is one of those things that you constantly have to remember. You even have to watch out for things like potholes, speed bumps, and railway crossings. Paying attention is key to making a lot of money on your route. I learned this the hard way by doing things like crashing into cars, running over pedestrians, and even hitting the curb with my tires. Fortunately, you have your mirrors and GPS available to you and the obstructions are easy enough to see that you won’t have a hard time avoiding hazards.

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The rain effects are very well done.

Bus Simulator 18 looks pretty good for the type of game it is. The game is very detailed with every little switch and toggle easy to see in the bus cockpit. You can even see the light indicators on the panels when you turn on headlights and things like that. Beyond the bus, the game world feels pretty alive for the most part with people walking around, cars driving on the streets, ads, and other things you’d expect to see in a lively city. The bus designs are based on real-life buses, but I can’t vouch for that authenticity since I really don’t know. The sound is equally decent with a lot of different sound effects to hear and the sounds of the world around you sometimes help you know what you need to do next. You can even listen to the radio while you drive which was a nice touch.

I’d like to mention that this game does have Steam Workshop support and there are in-game tools for loading mods. There are a few items in the Workshop already. The game also includes partial controller support which is strange to me. I had little issue using my Xbox One Controller and it worked quite well to drive the bus, but it didn’t work in the menus so I guess that’s what they mean by partial support. I didn’t spend much time with it, but multiplayer is featured in the game for up to 4 people which was a nice addition. I think it’s great to have some other people playing with you in a simulation game like this and I hope more games in this genre follow suit.

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The cockpit view of my bus.

I’ve read some other reviews complaining about some game-breaking bugs so I feel I have to mention a bug that I ran into. The game asks you to choose a control type even if you are using a controller after a little while. If you choose mouse controls, you have to go into the settings and disable the mouse controls otherwise your bus will lock up because the game is trying to only use the mouse controls rather than your controller and it renders your controller useless for until you shut that setting off. It’s a weird issue, but it’s definitely one that seems to be popping up a lot so hopefully, this fix helps some people. I also experienced a lot of framerate drops especially as passengers were coming onto the bus or getting off.

Pros Cons
Feels like you’re really driving Framerate drops
Good weather effects Customization doesn’t have a lot of depth
Mod support