Game Review: Empathy for the devils of our roads

Game Review: Empathy for the devils of our roads

By AKHIL SOOD | | 5 September, 2015
Bus Speed Driving 3D | Developer & Publisher: Gamestarstudio | Platforms: Android | Price: Free

I spend the better part of my daily commute cursing in Hindi at buses and bus drivers who’re forever changing lanes, cornering me, driving rashly, giving me mini-strokes with every petulant honk. They’re the worst — absolute scum. Bus Speed Driving 3D, an Android mobile game, lets me drive a mile in their shoes, and, while I still hate their guts, I do understand where they come from now. The game has a simple enough interface: the steering wheel is on the left side and the brake and accelerator are on the right of the screen. The objective is to drive from point A to point B within a designated time period without crashing, to move to the next level. It sounds easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy but it’s really not. 

What no one ever accounts for is that buses are huge, and by extension really difficult to drive. And then you have those infuriating car owners who feel they can swerve around and cut you off as they please. In the game, as in real life, you try to maneuver your bus by turning ever so slightly to one side, and suddenly the whole thing begins to tilt, sometimes toppling over as you scramble to save yourself (and any potential passengers) — and it’s a long plummet from the narrow road, off the cliff and into the river below. Buses have the turning radius of buses, so there’s a lot of back-and-forth to pass through bylanes to get to where you need to. Frequent road blocks and diversions make life hell from time to time, and on those rare occasions when you do hit a straight, empty stretch and decide to step on it and cruise… well, it’s a bus so how fast can it realistically move? 

The graphics on Bus Speed Driving 3D are dated and so-so, and really nothing to write home about. Detailing is limited, and the terrains of different levels all start to look pretty much identical after a point, so tedium can set in. But then you can’t expect the world if you’re playing games on a 3.5 inch screen on your phone. Through the very precise science of personal experience, I would rate the addiction quotient of this game to be somewhere between light and medium — the dynamics are limited and the gameplay gets old after some time. But that doesn’t mean it’s not worth spending a few days on.  

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