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Bus Driver Simulator Countryside is one entry in a series of Bus Driver simulators, and this one is a bit more toned down, as the environments are less busy, the scenarios are prettier, and there is less demand.
So is Bus Driver Simulator Countryside a bus driving sim that you need to play in order to understand the bus driver life? Or is this just a dull experience that feels like driving a bus around town? Well, let’s find out!
Welcome to the Russian countryside! Murom is one of the oldest towns in Russia with a population of 106,984, which is located on the left Oka shore. There are many bus routes connecting the town with other villages and bigger cities. The map includes a part of Murom and about a dozen villages in the countryside, so it mostly consists of countryside routes.
There are huge fields and dense spruce forests that are wonderful during the different seasons. Summer and winter versions are included, so that you can feel the life of the Russian countryside even more. Most of the roads are made of tarmac, but there are gravel roads as well. You’ll definitely feel the difference when you drive off of the asphalt.
For what it is, this is a nice simulation that is presented in a quaint area that offers some pretty nice views of certain areas. However, this is not the most technically sound game, as the background, buildings, and passengers will just appear and disappear at random points. That does not feel like much of a simulation, especially when these teleporting humans are taking the bus instead of just warping to their desired location to save money.
When it comes to brass tax, Bus Driver Simulator Countryside is exactly what the title says: it’s a bus driving simulator in the countryside. This is no adventure and no major challenge game. This is all about driving a bus, picking up passengers, and stopping at all bus stops along a route to receive a payday so that you can continue to do this day-in and day-out. You can spend your money on new buses and upgrades, but this does not do a whole lot outside of provide cosmetic improvements to the bus. Customers will still get on whether you have the cheapest bus or the best bus.
Controls are weird, though, as the driving mechanics just never feel great. I know driving a bus is no walk in the park, but Bus Driver Simulator Countryside makes it seem like a bus cannot control itself half of the time. One tiny tilt to the left or right will cause the bus to go wild, but honestly, this doesn’t mean anything, as accidents or breaking the law mean nothing. You can drive into people, because they just ghost through the bus. You can drive into other cars, because it doesn’t damage either. Because of this reality, there is not a whole lot of natural challenge in the game, as you can break laws to bring people to their destinations easier.
The other side of the controls is how you use all of the buttons within the bus. Basically, you have to push A, Y, or X to bring up a sub-menu that brings up buttons to control your lights, engine, wipers, doors, radio, and more. It is not the most intuitive set up, but I do understand. But because it is set up this way, simple actions take longer and the game just moves slower.
There are a couple ways to play the game, too, as in addition to the Career Mode, Bus Driver Simulator Countryside offers Scenarios, which are basically pre-made circumstances that you need to help resolve. It is a nice little series of side tasks, but ultimately, we are still left with the same lull experience.
I do appreciate that the game offers a very large map that connects multiple countryside areas together, but the overall presentation in regards to the graphics is pretty poor. As mentioned before, models just appear and disappear frequently, and cars driving by are often not even touching the road. There are also invisible walls everywhere, so even if you wanted to be a terrible bus driver, the game does not give you a whole lot of option to do so. Even the human models look like they are directly from PS1-era games, and that is not a compliment.
On the sound side, this is where Bus Driver Simulator Countryside shines. The menu music is strange and does not fit the title at all, but the in-bus radio plays some lovely tunes while driving. In addition to the radio, the sound effects, especially the bus sounds, are top notch. Whether it is driving, opening the doors, or using the blinkers, everything sounds great and really caters to an authentic driving experience.
Bus Driver Simulator Countryside has a lot of issues that prevent it from being a good game, but at the end of the day, if you are looking for an affordable bus driving simulator, this is a passable option, especially if you can get it on sale.
The setting is unique, but it is hard to look past the dated graphics, the frustrating controls, and even the frequent grammatical problems. Bus Driver Simulator Countryside is a game that could have used a lot more development time, as many of its major issues could have been ironed out before release. But as it sits now, it is just not a bus ride I can recommend.
Excellent sound effects
Graphics do not look good
Controls can be infuriating
Very slow and non-challenging experience
Lots of grammatical issues
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My name is Jason Capp. I am a husband, father, son, and brother, and I am a gamer, a writer, and a wannabe pro wrestler. It is hard to erase the smile on this simple man.