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PC Game Review

European Bus Simulator


Format: PC
Excalibur Publishing
RRP: £24.99
5 060020 475580
Age Restrictions: 3+
Available 01 June 2012

There are a number of vehicle simulations, which defy my personal understanding, and in recent months I’ve had the relative misfortune to try out all sorts of esoteric machinery; esoteric only because I never had the desire to drive most of the vehicles, even in real life. That said, obsessives can go to lengths which defy logic. I once, many years ago, spent a whole evening at a friend’s house who took great delight in showing me his latest aircraft sim, which would allow you, in mind numbingly great detail, to fly from London to New York, in real time. It's amazing I didn’t turn into an alcoholic.

Although I thought it dull, I couldn’t really complain as if he turned up at my house I’d force him to sit through my Space Shuttle Sim, regaling him in equally dull detail as to what every single button did, until his brain switched off and he blissfully passed out. The point being if you produce a sim then there is bound to be someone out there who will be in pig heaven, even if it makes their friends eyes bleed. Of course, some sim’s are understandable to the point of being mainstream, buses are one such example.

European Bus Simulator, created by Astragon, TML Studios and published by Excalibur Publishing, aims to reproduce the experience of driving a bus in Europe. Now, it’s not really my cup of tea, but I can appreciate the amount of detail which has been included.

Like most sims, this is not really a game. There are goals, involving routes and missions, which can be obtained, though these are secondary to the experience of getting behind the wheel and from my own perspective it was a blast from the past to spend time discovering what all the buttons did. Who knew buses were quite this complex. I have to admit to trying out the Speed option, by driving the bus at high speed recklessly through the city seeing how many things I could hit, whilst pretending there was a bomb on board. In fact, given the amount of times buses appear in films, the addition of a maniac on the bus mode is just begging to be added, but then it would be more of a game and less of a sim.

The game cannot be considered as graphically cutting edge and runs moderately well on an average laptop. If you have something more powerful then you have the option to install both a 16 and 32 bit version of the game. The environment is sufficiently detailed, with both vehicles and pedestrians to give you a pretty realistic impression that you are driving around a moderately sized town. This is a PC game only and will happily run on Windows 7, Vista and XP.

For those of you seeking the real experience of being a bus driver, but are precluded from doing it in real life, European Bus Simulator is a pretty good recreation. You start the sim outside of the bus station, where you can choose your bus and the route you want to follow. You not only have to drive the bus, which is more complicated than it would first appear, but also collect the fares, remembering any concessionary deals for old folk and students.

I don’t know if the game was more satisfying because it is a familiar experience - there can be few people who have not at one time travelled on a bus - compared to some of the more obscure sims which Excalibur have published, but even for someone who has no interest in buses, there was some fun to be had here.


Charles Packer

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