Originally published at: Review | Fernbus Simulator - XboxEra
Fernbus Simulator, shown as Fernbus Coach Simulator in the box art and referenced as Flixbus in the description. Hit Xbox back in February, seven years after its initial release on PC. The latest Aerosoft GmbH joint, this game allows you to travel from France to German, Prague, and more! Featuring truly terrible physics, occasionally decent graphics, and little to no music is it worth checking out?
100 Cities and 50,000 km of Boring Routes
Fernbus Simulator, which has three different names in its Xbox.com listing, is a bad game in most ways. You are a bus driver, and you will choose from two modes. First up is free play, where you choose a starting point and aimlessly drive a bus around Europe. Career mode has you set your own routes in a much smaller area based around your home city. This game’s map is truly massive, with over 50,000 kilometers of European countryside and cityscapes available. It is a truly daunting task to try and see it all. During my time with the game, I visited Paris, Prague, Munich, and other decently rendered versions of Europe.
This, somehow, is an incredibly light-on-content game despite all of that. There is no other content besides the aimless, pointless free play or the zero progression outside of unlocking starting points, and career mode. This is all made worse by the complete lack of any soundtrack while playing the game. You get ambient city/country noise and the sounds of vehicles and that is it. The best simulator titles at least try to have a soundtrack of some sort available. You get a jaunty, annoying tune at the main menu and that is it.
The driving itself is not the worst. Fernbus Simulator aims for 60 frames per second. It rarely hits it at a consistent pace in any larger city, but it holds it well in the countryside or on major highways. You have arcade and simulation modes available. The only differences I noticed between the two were the penalties for driving errors. Controls didn’t change much, and you’re not in control of the major functions of the vehicle. You have gas, turn signals, and brake/reverse. You can click in the right stick to go to a loose-feeling third-person view or switch back to 1st. B allows you to leave the vehicle when you are at a complete stop, which is mostly used for checking in or out passengers in career mode.
Even More Awfulness
The game never feels good, and it’s hurt even more by the difficulty of getting a full 1000 achievement score. “Complete 1000 trips” means you’ll need to play this game for a few thousand hours at the least doing the same short trips over and over again to complete it. At $40 US it’s already a terrible bargain for the amount of content and its quality. That price makes it a terrible proposition for people looking to get a fast hit of Gamerscore. The driving AI is non-existent as well. If pushed off course cars will simply disappear, and it is a straight line from point A to B for them otherwise.
Graphically the game pulls from other titles from this publisher and has some decent-looking car models and nicely varied landscapes. There are major landmarks in the big cities, though none look high quality. The textures on trees, buildings, and the roads are far worse than the vehicles, and the pop-in while driving is god awful at all times. It got so bad on a highway while doing 100 kmh that I started to get a headache and had to look away. When you’re out of the vehicle and on foot you can walk directly through any NPC vehicle. The models inside look straight out of the late 90s and don’t even attempt to fit into the cars correctly.
Wrapping Things Up
There is no part of this game that warrants it’s $40 asking price. It would be a bad deal at a quarter of that cost. Mediocre driving, poor performance, terrible world textures, ridiculous achievements, and a lack of any intriguing content make me question what is a “simulator” about it at all.