Simulator games allow players to take part in activities they'd otherwise never get to try, from flying a fighter jet to performing a surgical operation. As the title implies, City Bus Simulator Munchen sees players taking on the role of a bus driver. This sequel to 2010's City Bus Simulator New York moves the action to the city of Munich. The 100 line, commonly called the Museum Line, is the main location for the game.
Take to the streets
The basic premise of this game is simple: you choose from one of three different bus types, get in, and drive around the city of Munich picking up passengers and following your route. Unlike a lot of driving games, there are no points for going fast or crashing into things: indeed, that's exactly what you don't want when you have a bus full of innocent commuters.
A detailed simulation of the actual buses used on the 100 line gives you total control of your bus's features, from starting and stopping to opening the doors, adjusting the mirrors and even communicating with the depot. Your schedule is tightly controlled, so be careful; you don't want to be either early or late to pick up your passengers.
Learning the route
City Bus Simulator Munchen takes you past dozens of Munich sightseeing destinations, including the National Museum, the Haus der Kunst and the Prinzregentenplatz. Like the bus's interior and controls, these are rendered in careful, precise detail. The weather and conditions change realistically as well, with forests of colorful umbrellas sprouting along the streets when it starts to rain.
The bus's electronic copilot handles passenger announcements and puts information on the displays, although you don't have to use it if you don't feel like it. Bear in mind that these announcements are all in German -- you're in Munich, after all -- although there is an option to add English subtitles.
Working out the controls can take a little practice, but after a few attempts you'll be able to control every aspect of your bus. There are some niggles with the controls -- for instance, the steering wheel gets in the way of some of the dashboard indicators, so you'll have to zoom in on them from time to time, which can be a little tricky while driving. Overall, though, this is a highly realistic simulator, with all the good and bad things that implies. After all, driving a city bus around isn't exactly thrilling gameplay.
Hail to the bus driver
A few peculiarities of the user interface aside, City Bus Simulator Munchen is a detailed and realistic simulation of, well, driving a city bus in Munich. How much you enjoy the game will depend largely on how much that concept appeals to you. For maximum enjoyment, you'll want to play the game with a driving-wheel controller; that's clearly how it's intended to be played.