I have a long history of enjoying all manner of simulation games, and realism is a large appeal of the genre for me. Where Microsoft Flight Simulator and Euro Truck Simulator 2 serve to represent long and medium distance travel around the globe, the appeal behind The Bus lies in its true 1:1 recreation of Berlin, Germany.
The Bus has recently entered its early access phase on Steam and developer TML Studios is hard at work on following through on its extensive road map. At this stage, players are limited to a single bus and lone route that takes passengers from Berlin’s Tegel airport to the famous Alexanderplatz and back. I spent some time enjoying the gorgeous rendition of Berlin, including some not-so-nice weather. You can view my entire stream below.
In the current early access stage, the following features are available:
- Three Modes: Realistic Campaign, Arcade, and Custom
- Mouse support for convenient driving control with simple keyboard and mouse setup
- Supports many gaming steering wheels with or without pedals
- Supports Tobii Eye Tracking and TrackIR
- “Photo Mode” allows for high quality, UI-free screenshots
- Two integrated web radio channels: DoubleBass.FM and FlashBass.FM
As you can see from my video, support for the Logitech G27 wheel and pedals was excellent. The experience with TrackIR was passable, but there is still some work left to ensure proper functionality with the ticket computer while head-tracking is active, but several of these issues have already been addressed in a recent beta update.
The areas of Berlin that I was able to navigate through looked beautifully rendered and detailed, though I am hoping for more activity on the roads and sidewalks as development progresses. The driving model and sound effects were well done and provided a nice sense of immersion.
There’s a lot of work ahead of TML Studios as the current version is quite light on content. Looking through the various inoperative menu options, the entire management side of this simulation is still under development. With a mere single route and a single bus, once you’ve driven in each of the weather conditions, you’ll quickly be out of things to do.
Upcoming phases of early access will add multiplayer support, additional buses, game controller support, and the economy features to help you properly build your bus empire.
At this time, you’ll really have to crave a bus driving experience or have a strong desire to support the developer to purchase The Bus. Having said that, I do believe the future is bright, and I look forward to following the updates made to The Bus over the coming months. You’ll be able to stay in the loop by following our coverage here.
I would like to thank TML Studios and Aerosoft GmbH for providing Guide Stash with an early access key to The Bus.