What the Bus?

by E. Joyce profile

Surreal/Humor
2020

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Number of Reviews: 8
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
A Wicked Good Commute, December 6, 2020
by Joey Acrimonious
Related reviews: IFComp 2020

On my first playthrough, this transit nightmare about a confusing commute didnít impress me too much. With somewhat minimalistic writing, a short playing time, and a bunch of choices that felt like they had no real emotional significance, I felt at first that this was a competently-built game but not a very engaging one.

I was wrong.

Upon completion, the game lists ten possible endings to achieve. Iím glad that I accepted that challenge. Through repeated playthroughs, What the Bus? matures into something greater and more sublime than what it might seem to be on the surface. The labyrinthine web of interconnected bus routes and rail lines in this game meant little to me at first, but they took on a new significance once Iíd found a few endings and had to hunt for the ones I still needed. No longer could I blindly click my way to completion - now the game was drawing me into the shoes of the protagonist, as I tried (and often failed) to navigate the insane world to the endings I was trying to get.

Damn! I didnít realize this interchange took me to the red line again! or Oh crap, I didnít want to get on that bus. These were the types of things I kept saying to myself as I gleefully embraced the role of clueless commuter more and more. I felt a genuine sense of accomplishment when, after countless times getting lost or winding up in the same dog park again, I finally achieved the last ending by running across a rail line that I didnít even know existed. Glorious victory, and good fun.

One of the endings is also a nod to a classic piece of Boston lore, which is much appreciated.