OMSI is the bus simulator with character
- Great sense of place and time
- Realistic classic busses down to the engine sounds
- Decent traffic and driving mechanics
- Not going to win any graphical awards
- Newer OMSI 2 is available- but more pricey
The sim genre is huge these days, covering everything you can imagine from farming to street sweeping! With automotive simulators being huge, it’s no surprise that bus simulators are high on the list. A slice of modern life which we’re all familiar with! OMSI The Bus simulator gets its name from ‘omnibus’, the typical German name for public buses. This game lets you drive classic buses all around the late 80s, so it has an extra aspect of fun based on going back in time.
Go busing it through the 80s!
OMSI The Bus simulator really stands out from the crowd thanks to its 80s setting. Set in West Berlin, you get to see a slice of modern history with this game and it feels not just like a sim, but also a historical snapshot. The biggest feature of course is driving classic buses, the MAN double-decker buses SD200 and SD202, which appear in various versions depending on year of manufacture. Naturally these vehicles are the star of the show, having buckets of character and being a pleasurable challenge to drive. Even the adverts on the buses fit the theme of 90s Berlin. Driving here is a joy, with a good-sized area available with a considerable amount of variation. In fact, this simulator uses the former omnibus route 92 on a seven-mile route across the district of Spandau. Atmosphere is boosted further with day and night and weather effects, so you can drive in harshest winter or a fine summer’s day.
A game with a lot of thought behind it.
You will first notice in OMSI The Bus simulator that the classic buses are reproduced in fine detail, from the color scheme to the dashboard. Not only do they look great and are well lit, but the audio is excellent here too; cranky old engines and traffic sounds really add to the immersion. They are not perfect by any means, but the spirit is there. The mechanics of driving are well simulated too, from the gearbox to simulated compressed air systems. Very importantly, traffic is intelligent and realistic, so you have the challenge of avoiding both calm and troublesome drivers as you navigate an authentic West Berlin. There are various animated objects too, but it must be said that overall the game always feels like a game- you cannot get totally lost in it. Graphical limitations are noticeable, however the attention to the period and the vibe of the city are strong enough to keep you playing.
A cheap and cheerful experience.
OMSI The Bus simulator is not the bus simulator to end them all, but it does feel quite unique and it has a lot of character. The buses and the city capture 80s Berlin well and it’s very interesting to navigate the streets, taking in this snapshot of history. Add in nice features like the ability to edit in your own vehicles and modify the weather and time and you’ve got a surprisingly varied experience.