Astragon provided me with a key so that I could test their latest simulation. After the work in Construction Simulator, or the public works in Cityconomy, I am leaving today behind the wheel of a big bus!
The story is similar to the previous simulations: I play the young promoter of a new company who has just moved to the city. Thanks to the grants from the town hall, I have a small nest egg, a deposit, my first bus and onward!
A tutorial allows me to grasp the main controls of bus driving with the help of Ben, an experienced driver.
Even before driving, I discover that I can detach the camera from the mouse by keeping the right click pressed. I can then interact with the elements of the decor, in this case the doors and then the ignition key.
Before starting, remember to turn on the exterior phrases and interior lights in order to be seen by other vehicles. These are the little buttons on the left of the dashboard.
Then I have to release the parking brake (P) and go! My big blue bus is ready to pick up its first passengers. On the mini-map at the top left, I have all the necessary information: my route in blue, the stops to be served in yellow, my speed and the time remaining to reach my next stop on time and satisfy my impatient passengers.
At each stop, to maximize the reputation gain and be as efficient as possible, I must:
- indicate that I am going to pull over with the flashing (right flashing: button E)
- slow down slowly (passengers moan if braking is hard)
- put the bus stop brake (Alt key)
- put on the kneeling device (F key)
- open the doors (keys 1 and 2 in the case of my two-door bus)
- give tickets to passengers who ask for them
- resolve any special cases by getting up from the seat (key C): go down the disabled access ramp, ask a passenger not to interfere with closing the doors, turn back a drunk passenger, etc.
- close the doors, deactivate the kneeling device and then the parking brake
- start again by indicating my movement by the flashing (left flashing: key Q)
Tickets are sold in the form of a mini-game where you have to choose the requested ticket on the screen and then give change.
Between each stop, you must of course drive and follow the rules of the road: stop at traffic lights, let pedestrians pass, mark the stops at the stop sign. The police are fortunately not often there and it is possible to make some infractions without being noticed, although this can create discontent among the passengers and thus lower the reputation (experience) gained at the end of the journey. And I can assure you that a bus is far from being the most maneuverable vehicle!
On the other hand, it is necessary to pay particular attention to the scenery because knocking over traffic signs counts as an accident which systematically reduces the bonus earned (and which says less money, means less possibilities of hiring and buying a truck. .) because of the deductible.
Buses can be personalized with paint, decals or advertisements.
The circuits can be modified although the stops are fixed. The principle is therefore simply to connect the points between them to have the most efficient path possible.
As it is quickly impossible for me to serve the entire city, unlocking neighborhoods as I progress in levels, I hire drivers. These employees will progress and become more efficient as the weeks go by.
And suddenly, I invest in new buses in order to be able to cover all my routes.
Bus Simulator 16 offers a fun immersion in the world of bus drivers based on an accessible business simulation. Certainly far from the truth, the "simulation" aspect is reduced to a few commands and interactions which are quite sufficient for me, even if some players may seek greater complexity and / or immersion. Unfortunately, we cannot escape the repetitive aspect of games of this type: although the city is varied and rather well simulated (the AI is doing quite well), the repetitive tasks to be performed entail a certain weariness after a few routes where hazards are ultimately uncommon (some traffic jams, roadworks, a drunkard ...).
Be careful though if you have an entry-level PC, the Steam forums report many performance concerns, regular crashes and bugs in the comments posted at launch (around March 3). For my part, I had no problem and I was able to play for several hours without any problems, so maybe the patch deployed on March 10 solved all these problems!
The game is available on Steam for 24.99 €.