There seems to be a simulator game out there for just about anything, from power washing to lawn mowing. Some of the most popular ones are the driving kind such as trucks, trains, and buses, which leads us to the latest entry in the genre with Bus Simulator 21. If you’ve always wanted to know what it’s like to be a bus driver, this is the game for you, just mind the pot holes and glitches along the way.
Once you’ve started by customizing an avatar and naming your bus company, you’ll be off and running to getting your business off the ground by learning the ropes of driving and operating a bus, being on time for pickups and drop-offs on different routes, keeping customers in check when they act out of line, sell bus passes, and more. You’ll also have to manage keeping your business afloat behind the scenes with plenty of micromanaging to keep you busy when you’re not behind the wheel.
If you’re coming from the previous entries of this series, there’s a new map called Angel Shores with a lot of districts for you to ride through. To make things even more exciting, you can customize and create your own route to play through, go online and ride around town with others, and you can always hand things off to an AI controlled driver if you just want to take in the sights or go work on something else.
Speaking of sights, the graphics look nice enough but won’t be pushing your video card or console to the limit, even though you’d swear it was by the lack on optimization which causes the framerate to be erratic. I was sent the PS4 version to review, and while I’m playing it on my PS5 without a patch to utilize its power, the game has a clunky, unpolished feel to it.
It also doesn’t help that there’s a few glitches that tend to get in the way such as AI controlled characters not behaving as they should which can hold up progress, the steering in game not matching the direction you’re going in, and more. Thankfully some of these have been fixed since I’ve been playing, but there’s still plenty more for them to patch.
Another issue are the controls which can cause your bus to either overturn or not turn enough, even after tweaking the steering sensitivity. There’s also a clunky UI which can be a bit overwhelming with all of the different options available such as lights, opening the doors, using the fare machine, and more. I know it has to be difficult trying to condense all of these into a simple interface, but hopefully they’ll manage to make it better in some future patches.
These issues aside, if you love driving around cities and always wanted to be a bus driver, then you’ll want to come aboard Bus Simulator 21. There’s a fair amount of glitches and issues to be sure, but with some more patches and polish, this can easily be one of the best entries in the series.