As the sort of virtual tourist who plays American Truck Simulator largely for sightseeing, I am well up for the early access launch of The Bus yesterday. The bus-driving sim boasts of being set in a 1:1 scale version of Berlin, a city I've never visited but heard a lot about. So please be patient, passengers, as we go on a necessary detour around my collection of Google Maps pins. Roadworks, you know. Swans nesting in the traffic lights, or something. Two handymen crossing the street holding a large pane of glass. The road burst. Valid reasons. Shh.
I don't have the experience to tell how much it actually looks like Berlin, nor how much it catches the vibes of areas, but it does look like a place I want to drive around. Parp parp!
The Bus is available now on Steam Early Access for $22/€26/$25. The plan is to add extra features and content over the next 8-16 months before launching in full. Expected additions include multiplayer, mod tools, an economy mode, and more busses. But as ever, remember early access plans are only plans and you shouldn't count on 'em.
The game is made by TML Studios, whose previous virtuajourneys include New York Bus Simulator, Tourist Bus Simulator, and World Of Subways. The publishers are Aerosoft, who've put out games including historical Berlin bus sim OMSI 2.
The last bus 'em up I played was Bus Simulator 18. While it wasn't set in a real city, it did have the most enthusiastic tutorial person. Honestly, I'll miss Mira Tannhauser. She just chuffing loves busses. And her city. And her neighbours. Everything, really. Well, expect maybe her partner Aubrey, who she refused to sit next to. Such a charming tutorial.