Publisher Ultimate Games presents Bus Fix 2019 for review. Bus Fix 2019 aims to simulate the experience of repairing buses based on the complaints of their owners. In-game cash rewards allow the player to expand the palette of available buses to repair and garner further rewards.
Bus Fix 2019 involves a lot of tapping. There are some Joy-Con controls but as a general guideline Bus Fix 2019 will proceed with more tapping than controlling. The two initial options to progress involve buying and refurbishing old buses or taking in buses to repair for a fee. In either case, the player will be tapping or rubbing the screen to fix or replace the needed parts, and receive additional in-game money to unlock more buses.
It’s unlikely I’m going to find a game that’s more of a nightmare to navigate than Bus Fix 2019. But that might be a level of notoriety that the absolute chore of playing Bus Fix 2019 is unworthy of holding. So let’s be more direct – please do not consider playing Bus Fix 2019. If you are thinking of picking it up for someone else instead buy an equivalent amount of building blocks or glue and Popsicle sticks. I guarantee that the recipient, or yourself, will learn more about vehicular construction and maintenance more than playing Bus Fix 2019 will impart.
What educational value Bus Fix 2019 could have had in fixing buses is undone by its own mechanics. There are little mini games involved that have the player rotating wrenches, repairing parts by rubbing the screen, or tapping components to get a smaller number to turn into a larger number then put the piece back. However, most of these mechanics can be completely skipped because removing parts from the bus is done one step at a time and if the player skips to a later step they receive a message that “part x needs to be removed first” with an option to remove “part x.” Don’t feel like picking the correct wrench? That’s fine, just pick the part behind the part that needs the wrench and you’ll skip whatever part needs the wrench, thus eliminating any need to learn about bus parts and what needs to be done to fix what.
Not that the player would learn much about buses even if they opt to painstakingly repair and/or replace each part. The player is matching parts to a list, without explanation as to what each part does, and success necessitates matching correct replacements instead of learning. There’s not even a glossary to inform the player what part does what. All the player is doing is tapping through a list, matching the item, then tapping more to get the item onto the bus.
I also could not imagine what problems someone with coordination issues would face. Most of the taps or rubs needed to repair the bus are taken as suggestions instead of commands. Whether that’s a Switch hardware issue or Bus Fix 2019 software issue it is easily solved by plugging in a game that correctly functions. In my case, the problem appears to be with the Bus Fix 2019 software. So, if the player has issues using their hands, playing this game will be that much more frustrating an experience. The Joy-Con controls are similarly awful with Bus Fix 2019 frequently unable to determine what direction it should move the cursor in even if the player is holding left.
What makes Bus Fix 2019 an almost interesting kind of purgatory to play is the wave of stock photo faces with plasticine features pasted onto each bus maintenance request. They’re photographed in nearly blinding light, perfect for daytime soap operas, and their list of problems with the bus are frequently wrong. I stopped tracking the number of times the creepily wide smiling customers told me a window on the left was broken only to examine the bus and find every window but the ones on the left broken. This is almost interesting because customer service does feel like this sometimes, but even so the customer is correct about their own problems far more than Bus Fix 2019 would suggest.
The player could keep going, unlocking what amounts to new bus skins, and skipping the same repetitive challenges for people stuck in the uncanny valley of photography or – and this is crucial – they could stop and have a hydrating beverage of their choice before doing literally anything else. For your health, my suggestion is to hydrate fully then do something other than play Bus Fix 2019. You’re far more likely to learn more about buses by doing so.
Bus Fix 2019
Even for those with fully-functioning hands, Bus Fix 2019 barely works. Those players willing to trudge on will confront an interface system that takes commands as suggestions and has a built-in skip for most of the gameplay that exists. As the waves of creepily photographed customers continue to arrive with the same litany of lies about what does not work on their bus please remember that there are other things to do with your time. Please do not spend any more of it on Bus Fix 2019.
- Creepily bright customer portraits almost captures what it is like being observed in a customer service position.
- Nonresponsive touch and Joy Con controls.
- Repetitive tasks that are unnecessary in the gameplay loop because they can almost always be skipped by removing a later part.
- Progress is primarily cosmetic and does little to alter the already dull gameplay loop.
Do Not Resuscitate