Bus Driver Review (PC)

When I first read the description of what I was getting with Bus Driver it was not a game I expected much out of. I mean, come on, you drive a bus from one location to the next and pick up and drop people off. Itís not even like Crazy Taxi where you get extra points for doing bizarre things or getting them there faster. You get penalized if youíre too fast or two slow, or if the passengers are unhappy, or if you forget to use your blinker. This did not sound like the makings of a fun game. Happily, I was completely wrong.

There are a lot of things that Bus Driver has going for it. From a nuts and bolts perspective it pretty much can check the boxes. The graphics are good and the sound isnít nagging so long as you donít mind the varoom of a bus engine and the shrieks of passengers when you break too hard. There isnít a sound track or voice acting to speak of, just the pleasant buzz of road noises. The AI doesnít have too much to do, mostly timing you to make sure you get to the right place on time, and keeping track of how much you screw up, which it does easily, allowing you to rack up points for the positive or the negative depending on your driving prowess or lack there of.

Blinker on means you can see your blind spot!
Plenty of courses and buses to choose from.

The game play is both very simple and complex all at once. At the most basic level you are simply pressing the up key to accelerate, the down to break or reverse, and the side-to-side keys to keep you in your lane. Thatís the simple part. The not so simple part is that you have to remember and follow traffic rules and there is a bunch of other buttons for things like turning blinkers off and on. The bus youíre driving handles likeÖa bus, which means itís a pain in the butt sometimes! You canít turn on a dime, you hit things, and momentum is your enemy since once you get going fast you have a hard time slowing down and then the whiny butt passengers complain, as you canít go faster than about 45 mph. Add traffic lights, other cars parked on the side of the road, a time schedule and itís not nearly as easy as just zooming from one place to the next. It hooked me because I knew that I just couldnít suck that bad. I ended up with about a negative 4000 score on the first run, so I had to keep playing until I could consistently end up in the positive zone.

This is the answer to life, the universe, and everything bus.
Follow the blinking arrows.

The other thing that became obvious to me is that Bus Driver is a good family game. Itís rated E for 3+, and both of my boys, 7 and 11 loved it. The first time through they both spent their time trying to destroy everything possible. They ran into light posts, rammed other cars, drove the wrong way on one-way streets, tried to hit the passengers (you canít do that, btw, not part of the programming), and competed for the lowest possible score. After that was worked out of their system they started actually playing the game as designed to by earning points and clearing all of the levels in the first two tiers. Over two days they played for around 3 hours at a time. Keeping two preteens occupied for six hours was totally worth the $20 price tag for the game.

All in all I didnít have too many complaints about Bus Driver. Itís a simple casual game, but it does what it sets out to do well. Hard core gamers are likely to be bored with it, however, for a casual pop in and play it was fun and will definitely see more play time around here.

My passengers hate me. Stupid bus.
In the home stretch. Get off of my bus!

Top Gaming Moment: Making a right hand turn at 30 mph, remembering the dang blinker and immediately pulling into a bus stop without crashing into anything.


By bloodhound (SI Veteran Newbie) on Jun 16, 2008
By JezzaLeone (SI Veteran Member) on Jun 16, 2008
RAp ON!!!!!!!
By JamieSI (SI Core) on Jun 17, 2008
Did you give it a try?
By Dtesh (SI Member) on Jul 31, 2008
By Nicolas19 (SI Core Veteran) on Dec 08, 2008
I gave it a try, and had a surprisingly great time:) Like a travel through time, when I was a little kid:)
By nobuargaoda (SI Core Veteran) on Dec 08, 2008
Nice game! Looks like 18 wheels
By exacatovator (I just got here) on Apr 08, 2010
how do you get into games