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Mini Review: Bus Simulator 21 (PS4) – Zen Sim Doesn’t Take Itself Too Seriously

MAN, I feel like a bus driver.

Bus Simulator 21, like its PlayStation 4 predecessor, straddles the line between authentic public transport management and tongue-in-cheek entertainment. While this vehicular sim set across two maps – the all-new American-inspired Angel Shores and an updated version of European backdrop Seaside Valley – demands you engage in all of the nitty-gritty of bus driving, like selling tickets and extending wheelchair ramps, it also likes to poke fun at itself by emphasising the inane chatter of the patrons you’ll be hauling. Everyone has an opinion on boy band All Direction, apparently.

While the gags can be a bit cringey and outdated, we appreciate that the game doesn’t take itself too seriously. Unfortunately, we wish the developer would have taken the title’s user interface a bit more seriously. You’ll spend almost as much time in menus as you do behind the wheel, plotting out routes that link each map’s key destinations. But while the addition of route balancing and peak times adds depth to the strategy, it’s still overwhelming and hard to keep track of – an issue we experienced with the original as well. In fact, despite the gentle introductory missions, we’d argue it’s worse here.

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