Hop on the Omnibus

OmnibusHeaderThis Steam game has you climbing on board the strangest bus journey of your life. Developed by Buddy Cops, LLC, and published by Devolver Digital, Omnibus is a game where you command a bus and unleash destruction chaos on it’s world. The graphics of the game are basic and blocky, but it still manages to be fun despite the foundation for frustration some of the story levels have. Success in the game’s levels involves a lot of randomness, fueled by the fact that Omnibus has a physics engine that’s very difficult to deal with. If that’s something you think will impede your ability to enjoy the game, it’s definitely not for you. But all of that aside – past the crazy physics, there was still enough of a game to enjoy here.

There are seven different types of buses you’ll be able to get behind the wheel of. You unlock new buses as you make your way through the story mode, they get introduced as the Omnibus plot unfolds. World 1 starts you out with the basic Mr. Bus. He’s blue and he doesn’t fly in the air too good.  Sir Bus comes into play in World 2. It’s TERRIBLE at turning left and right, so you’re at the game’s mercy trying to play levels with it. Mega Bus is also around in World 2, and it’s just like the vanilla Mr. Bus except for the addition of an extra section on the back of it. Gravity Bus is the real game changer in World 3. As previously explained, Omnibus has a difficult to work with physics engine. The game gives you the power to manipulate gravity with this bus, allowing you to have some degree of control as to the direction you fly around in the air by.  Barrel Bus and Cow Bus come in World 4. The former of these is harder to knock over, due to the fact that a barrel has more than four sides to it. The latter of the two has the ability to jump a short height into the air, allowing you to navigate across platforms easily. The Lava Bus doesn’t become available until World 5, at the very end of the game. But it’s powers are totally worth it – allowing you to stop yourself as you’re being thrown in the air, giving you more control over your landings.

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Omnibus has five different worlds set-up in a Super Mario World fashion. There’s a grassland, a cityscape, then you fly to space, but after that you get sent back in time to the Wild West, which in turn causes an ancient spirit to send you to Hell, the final area. The overall atmosphere of the game manages to stay just above bland. It’s not a spectacular and stunning sight, but it does the job here.  You can play the particular levels in any order you like, but you have to complete them all eventually in order to progress to the next set. You can collect a series of hats throughout any of the levels, but some of them are in absolutely impossible to reach places. The trick with the hats is you need to first grab them, then beat the level that hat is in to unlock them. But some of the hats are actually off the level’s edges, floating there out of your grasp. The only way to get it would be ramming your bus off the ledge, but then you would lose and die and have to start over. Hats are cosmetic, appearing on the “head” of your bus when you play. There’s achievements associated with them if that’s something you like in a game.

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The levels themselves in Omnibus vary in appearance based on the world you’re in. But the activities you have to complete follow a few basic central ideas. You’ll be hitting targets with your bus, collecting items throughout the levels (money, chickens, beer kegs, etc), or sometimes you’ll be faced with a straight up bus obstacle course, where the main objective is getting from point A to B without getting knocked off the ledge. That’ll happen a lot. It’s a frustrating part about Omnibus that flirts with almost rage quit levels of anger, but given the simplicity of the levels it manages to stay in the “I should be able to do this if I just focus” realm of difficulty. When you do finish a level, you get a rank for them based on either how fast you beat it, or how well you did accomplishing the relevant task involved there. Free play gives you the ability to play in a sandbox-like map of any of the five different world’s settings, earning money by destroying the environment and doing tricks in the air. Versus mode allows you to raise Omnibus hell with a friend, if you manage to convince someone to join you and play the game.

OmnibusGameBut that’s it. Omnibus isn’t a complex package, and it depends a lot on randomness in order to both tell it’s story and succeed in the game’s levels. If you can tolerate that, there’s a decent experience to be had. Decent bus selection, the possibility of getting extra hidden hats, a story mode that takes you on a solid ride, and the ability to play with your friends makes the game a beyond average title. You can check it out on Steam over here. If you want to keep in touch with the developers, check out their website, Twitter, and Facebook.