At a certain age, realizing that my parents weren’t necessarily the biggest fan of my life choices, I came up with plan B: becoming a bus driver. After all, who doesn’t like driving a bus, picking up passengers, and getting them to where they need to be in time?
Well, it’s pretty clear I kind of failed to materialize this dream as well, but driving a bus continues to be something that I, and I’m pretty sure many other kids out there, still hope to do one day.
Enter Tourist Bus Simulator.
If you’ve played Euro Truck Simulator, you probably know the drill already. You pick up the passengers and follow the indicated route to get them where they need to be. The most exciting part, however, is the driving experience itself, as you get to jump behind the wheel of various bus models from several renowned companies.
But at the end of the day, Tourist Bus Simulator is a highly complex game whose top objective is building a transportation empire with you in charge of everything.
In addition to the large selection of vehicles, you also need to create new routes, take care of finances, manage your fleet, recruit drivers, keep an eye on the required repairs, and so on.
The developer has tried to push Tourist Bus Simulator beyond the traditional simulation concept, so using the money you make, you can also invest in your personal life and buy houses, and so on. So no, Tourist Bus Simulator isn’t the kind of game that has you jumping behind the wheel of a bus and heading to a specific destination. It’s a lot more than that, and the driving part is just the core of the entire experience.
Browsing menus and all the other options to manage your bus empire isn’t necessarily the most intuitive thing to do, but there’s a learning curve, and it all comes down to getting used to what every button does.
Now let’s talk gameplay and graphics.
Leaving aside how challenging it is to drive a bus with a PS5 controller, the experience overall feels very similar to ETS. The attention to detail is impressive, and if you think that simply accelerating and braking is enough, you’re super-wrong.
The game offers a very large selection of bus designs, and you need to carefully choose the right one for each task. Of course, you also need to do the typical maintenance, refueling, and so on, so overall, it’s more or less the ETS concept expanded to bus territory.
The scenery, on the other hand, is beautiful, and once everything is loaded, it all looks fascinating. Unfortunately, this buggy rendering proves Tourist Bus Simulator still requires additional polishing on PS5, and hopefully, it’ll also be delivered.
One thing that I also need to complain about is the AI system. While its behavior has already been refined, the other cars on the road would have absolutely no problem crashing into your bus whenever you cut them off, or you get your left wheels over the median strip.
CONCLUSIONAt the end of the day, Tourist Bus Simulator is a great game if you don’t mind all these problems and you’re specifically interested in the driving experience itself.
In many ways, TBS feels like a beta title, but keep in mind it’s the PS5 version I’m talking about here. The PC version is a lot more polished, so most likely, it’ll take an update or two before the same level of refinements is achieved on consoles.
And once again, make sure you play the game with a steering wheel. It may be fun with a DualSense controller, but a genuine driving experience wouldn’t be possible without the proper equipment.