Developer: Alexandru Marusac
Price: FREE
Version Reviewed: 1.0.0
App Reviewed on: iPad 3

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★☆☆
Controls Rating: ★★½☆☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★½☆☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★½☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★½☆☆

I have to admit, the bus simulator genre isn’t one I had heard of nor one I had particularly thought of researching. Why would I want to drive a bus when I could fly a plane, drive a ridiculous muscle car, or generally commandeer anything else? Bus enthusiasts may argue differently, and if so, they’re in for a treat.

20131011-150837.jpgIn Bus Simulator 3D, players must park their bus in the designated pick-up zones before ferrying commuters towards their final destination. That task will prove to be somewhat challenging though, as the zones are easy to miss. Controlling the bus using tilt-steering, on-screen pedals, and a gear stick is relatively smooth in terms of handling, but acceleration is a different story altogether. Just when players begin to pick up some pace, they will have to come to an abrupt stop in a drop off zone. It makes gameplay feel staggered, especially when braking takes half of a lifetime. To achieve the highest scores, players should avoid collisions and drop off the passengers as soon as possible.

Ironically though, the first thing I wanted to do was crash into an incoming car or those pedestrians waiting for the bus, just to see what would happen. Maybe that’s what playing video games has done to me as a human being, and maybe that’s the reason I shouldn’t become a bus driver, but driving a bus aggravatingly slow was not my idea of a good time. I wish someone would make my local bus driver play this game, because the way he tears around those corners is criminal. The general presentation, particularly in the menus, feels a little rushed though the bus itself and the environments are pretty well-rendered.

20131011-150958.jpgBus Simulator 3D does exactly what it says it does on the tin. Unfortunately, that particular tin is unexciting and frequently frustrating. Controlled driving is clearly the challenge in this game, but that really doesn’t make for a thrilling or addictive experience. It makes for a tiring one. With a wider range of challenges and more of an arcade-like, Crazy Taxi-feel to gameplay, Bus Simulator 3D could be just the ticket.


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