European Bus Simulator 2012 is a public transportation simulator that is surprisingly deep and engaging
Windows 7 / Windows Vista / Windows XP / Windows 8
Drive one of the many buses available to complete challenges or to see what it's like being behind the wheel of a larger vehicle.
While you're playing the game, there are activities that you'll take part in that resemble what you might experience if you drive a bus in the real world. You have to get passengers to their destinations and make sure that you follow the safety rules of the road. It's not a game that should be seen as challenging. It's one that is fun and that delivers realism. Scenes change all the time as you drive on one of the many roads in the country. You'll deal with a few passengers that try to give you a hard time, but that's when you can stop playing the story or challenge mode and drive in free play.
The game focuses on the cities in Europe. There are miles of roads to travel on and a system that has over 500 stops along the way. If you plan on stopping at each one, then you're going to spend hours playing the game. Your goal is to find a route that you can complete and stick with it until you have accomplished everything that there is to do with that mission. There are hints and maps that can get you through the game, especially if you've never been behind the wheel of a bus before. As you get comfortable with the game, you can turn the hints off. A map is at the bottom of the screen so that you know where you're going. There is a significant amount of detail on all of the buses in the game. The controls are seen at the bottom of the screen if you're looking out the windshield, but you can also see them in this area if you play in a third-person view with the entire bus on the screen.
Bus Simulator 2012 is a game where players get to drive a wide variety of buses and try to deliver great service to riders. One of a surprisingly large sub-genre of games where players are allowed to take part in real-life activities that some might consider mundane, this one makes for a fairly compelling experience. If it delivers white-knuckle action, that's probably the fault of the player. Driving in a responsible, safe manner can actually be pretty enjoyable.
All Aboard to Deutschland
Created by a German developer who specializes in games of this sort, Bus Simulator 2012 understandably focuses on European cities and roads. It offers quite a bit of territory to traverse, with an extensive transit system consisting of nearly 500 stops being put in front of would-be drivers.
The idea, of course, is to stick to an assigned route while making good time, and this can be fairly challenging as one starts off. A variety of driving and navigational aids make it easier to get a handle on the bulky, hulking buses, and these sorts of assistance can be switched off as players improve and want more challenge.
Buses Are More Complex Than Many Think
Despite being the sort of production that some might be inclined to scoff at, Bus Simulator 2012 is clearly a labor of love. The developers have gone to great trouble to reproduce all of the detail of the buses in the game, even to the point of drawing in unneeded and useless auxiliary controls on panels where they occur in real life. Drivers will have plenty to keep them occupied and can fiddle with air-conditioning levels, interior lights and other such amenities if the roads and traffic aren't enough to deal with.
A Good Driver is a Safe Driver
That isn't to say that the game is really complicated. The idea here is to safely navigate the traffic to be found on the roads while keeping to a fairly rigid timetable. Breaking traffic laws incurs the kinds of penalties that one might expect, and accidents will result in predictably harsh retribution. Players who just want to mess around can switch off these structures, though, and free-wheeling of that sort might be enough in the way of entertainment for some. Others will enjoy the relatively slow-paced feel of shuttling passengers around a well-depicted city and find that to be the perfect way to spend an evening.