Fernbus Simulator allows you to fulfil your coach-driving dreams. However, if you’ve never had aspirations to drive a coach, this lets you take in some stunning scenery instead. What’s more, you can test your driving skills, set your own routes, and relax at the wheel of some iconic machines.
Developed by TML Studios and published by Aerosoft GmbH, this is a simulation title. Moreover, there is a blend of ultra-realistic action or a more laid-back arcade approach. Accordingly, whatever you choose, you’ll enjoy hours of tranquil driving across some iconic German landmarks.
Fernbus Simulator fails to explain its purpose.
Now, from the off, it is obvious that you are a coach driver. Yet, this is the only detail that you are told. Consequently, you spend much of your time wondering what the hell you are supposed to do. What’s more, the basic mechanics are poorly explained, and you are left to your own devices. Subsequently, you never know if you are progressing, and you second-guess your choices throughout.
The action revolves around an unnamed driver and his iconic MAN Lion’s coach. This stunning replica of the real thing is perfectly formed and remarkably accurate. Furthermore, it can be customised to your liking. On top of this, you may select from either career or free mode. If you choose the latter, you can do as you wish. However, the career option has statistics, a hometown, passengers, and other elements to focus on.
So far, so good! But once you select your mode, you are left to your own devices. As such, you’ll scratch your head, follow the fleeting pointers, and drive each route that you’ve created. Along the way, you’ll have to avoid accidents, book in passengers, and obey traffic laws. If you fail to do any of these things, you’ll be marked down, and you won’t gain as much XP.
Driving is fun.
Though there was little guidance, once you started driving, it was great fun. Not only do you have the challenge of maintaining your speed and obeying laws, but you must avoid accidents and traffic jams. Alongside this, the varied landscapes and the beautiful scenery were fantastic to see. Moreover, the viewpoint from the driver’s seat was excellent, and I loved the levels of detail.
What was also great was the navigation system and the mountains of toys to play with. As the driver, you are in charge of the Wi-Fi, toilets, radio, announcements, doors, AC, and much more. Accordingly, you’ll be shouted at by your passengers as they desperately want a comfortable ride. Furthermore, you must keep on top of your fuel and navigate some tricky roads. This is easier said than done, as the AI is aggressive, and avoiding them isn’t always that easy.
No business model.
Fernbus Simulator has no business model! Now, this may be a plus point for some, but for me, it ensured there was a serious lack of depth. Additionally, your coach suffers no damage and other than losing XP, there is no punishment for traffic violations. For example, I drove the police off the road and nothing happened. It was insane that a realistic simulation title would allow this to slip through the net.
This to one side, I was disappointed at the lack of business mechanics. As a minimum, I wanted to buy a fleet of buses as well as try to balance profit and loss. However, these ideas are missing and this left me wanting. Yet, you are expected to check passengers’ tickets, and this was interesting. During this phase, you must examine documentation and decide who is allowed on the bus. Sadly, though, this is the extent of your powers, and no matter how many passengers your transport, the result is the same.
Fernbus Simulator looks nice, but it is flawed.
The developers have done a great job in replicating the MAN vehicle. The cockpit is accurate and the internal decor is on point. Alongside this, the world looks attractive and the vehicles flow nicely. Yet, the character models are repetitive and one of my tours had 7 identical people. Alongside this, you can ghost through vehicles and the render distance is appalling. Furthermore, there are screen tears and lighting issues that make the game flicker. This was a shame as when Fernbus Simulator works, it is great. Disappointingly, though, the errors creep in far too often.
Another complaint is the lack of music. Each tour can take you hours, but you have no songs to keep you entertained. This was a mistake and something that needs to be rectified. However, I loved the sound effects and the incorporation of weather effects. The drumming of rain or the whistle of the wind was fantastic. On top of this, I enjoyed the noises of each passenger and the realistic German announcements.
Due to its lack of hand-holding, the controls are understandably fiddly. Luckily, the arcade approach resolves many of these issues, but it removes much of the realism. Consequently, if you want to get the most from the game, you need to select realistic mode. With multiple submenus and unexplained icons, there is plenty of trial and error. But once you nail the fundamentals, you’ll enjoy the challenge of driving your coach.
With no business model in sight, Fernbus Simulator shouldn’t have been addictive. Yet, I adored its relaxed gameplay and the large map on offer. Furthermore, there is DLC for additional vehicles and the more you drive, the larger the map becomes. Subsequently, you can explore every beautiful landmark and minor city that Germany has to offer.
Fernbus Simulator needs some work.
I’m no expert, but I don’t think you can ghost through vehicles. Moreover, running cars off the road or hitting walls rarely goes unpunished. However, a lack of consequences and business elements taint this otherwise realistic title. Accordingly, if you want a chilled coach driving experience, then this is the game for you. Alternatively, if you are expecting a deep and business-focused title, then you’ll be disappointed. All things considered, I enjoyed it despite its shortcomings. Subsequently, I recommend that you buy it here! Pick a route, grab your passengers, and undertake a relaxing and enjoyable tour of Europe.