Game review: get on board the OmniBus and enjoy a little carnage and non-stop thrills
It mightn’t make much sense but OmniBus satisfies our urge to wreak a bit of havoc without consequences – and be challenged at the same time
Armed with plenty of time, a little bit of cash and an absolute love for virtual worlds, indie developers can pretty much create anything their creative minds can conceive within the video game realm. It’s a near-limitless playing field and sometimes, when said mind is one of those unique souls that functions on a different plain to the rest of us, you get something like OmniBus.
Available for the PC, it’s almost impossible to initially work out exactly what the point of the game is. In its blockish, rough ’90s-style polygon set-up, you take on an unstoppable bus speeding its way through an outlandish world where one minute you’re doing something as simple as dropping off passengers or herding cows, and the next, you’re toppling King Kong off the side of a building before robbing a train and taking part in a free-for-all demolition derby.
A goal is set out at the beginning of each level and you vaguely have to complete that task, with the only constant here being that the bus is forever hurtling forward Speed-style. But there’s a certain sense of skill involved, too, one where you have to balance out its physics-based gameplay, lest you trigger the immense crashes, massive collisions and huge pile-ups that are also somehow infinitely satisfying.
Sure, it doesn’t make much sense but it doesn’t have to really, the thrills behind OmniBus being solely tied into its sheer chaos. See, we all want a bit of destruction in our lives – it’s why open-world games such as GTA are so damn popular. Everyone wants to wreak a bit of havoc sans consequences and be challenged at the very same time. OmniBus satisfies those urges and does it with tongue planted firmly in cheek. And it certainly helps, of course, that alongside the standard Story Mode, there are Free Play and Multiplayer to keep things fresh.
The rise of indie games has meant the field has been flooded with plenty of “crazy” simulators – crude, bizarre games where you’re a goat or a surgeon or a piece of bread. Most are just blatant attempts to cash in on their inherent kookiness, but some have actual love put into them – a sense of a long-percolating dream realised. OmniBus might look the part of the former, but it’s definitely one of the latter.