Take control of a bum in this action, adventure, open world. Developed and self-published by the team at Ragged Games with some help from Playway S.A. comes Bum Simulator, released May 12th on Steam for £13.99 or can be picked up on sale for £6.99 at time of writing.
Time to hit the streets!
I’ve had Bum Simulator on my Steam wishlist for a few years. I was excited to wield the magical power of booze and run around with Weaponized Pigeons. Now let us hit the streets of Bumsville and see what mayhem we can cause.
If you enjoyed this review then let us know in the comments below.
Bum Simulator has players take control of a Bum that wakes up on the street with no name and simply speaks in gibberish. He isn’t alone as his trusty companion Carl Cartman explains that both of you have been experimented on by the evil corporation Evilway (a play on words for the publisher Playway). They have taken Carl’s body and half of your brain. With a full brain between you and Carl, you both take off to bring down the Corporate tyrant and get your parts back.
In the beginning, Carl will show players how to earn money by giving them cardboard and a pen to write with. Players can write whatever they like (be it dirty and profound or something more wholesome). It is graded from F- to A+. It determines how much change walking NPCs will give when begging. One of the main nuisances is the local gang called the Bugs, who will harass you and your fellow gang members The Creeps.
How to survive on the streets
The most important thing to have in the game is money. Money is for purchasing food, alcohol and crafting supplies. As mentioned above, begging is one of the many ways players can obtain it. Walking around, the player can punch any pay phones they spot to make it drop loose change. Collecting scrap and junk from trash piles can be taken to any pawn shop to sell. I found pawn shops useless when needing money, as junk sells for $0.01. Finishing missions will give a lot of money after completion.
There are four needs the player has to manage (health, stamina, hunger and thirst). They don’t drain fast, and gathering food and drink isn’t that hard to obtain as our character has a gut of steel. Trashcans will hold food that can be either fresh or rotten, and depending on what one it is, they will fill the needs much quicker. Health can be replenished by eating, but I found the best way to heal was by purchasing painkillers from the store, as they heal the player to maximum health in just one dose.
Turning your trash into treasures
Players find themselves dumpster diving a lot to find trash used for crafting. Some junk will need to be recycled to get the raw materials so they can get converted into craftable items. For example, taking a bike frame will turn into metal scraps, whilst a broken wooden door will give wood. Crafting is only available within specific areas that will serve as bases (there are five in the game). Scattered around the map are blueprints the player can find to unlock more craftable items such as a shower, sofa and some tables. They are identified by glowing yellow and will have a group of bugs nearby to fight. Other blueprints are found and purchased from pawn shops around the map.
When it comes to getting around and storing stuff, then Carl is your guy. He serves as transportation and inventory in the game. The player can look at Carl and throw the trash at him to deposit the item. I liked this as I didn’t have to keep running to him to deposit items. When at a home base and crafting, you don’t have to remove any items unless it’s to recycle. If Carl is nearby, the items will appear on the crafting screen. A good tip for getting more materials is crafting a bum shelter and hiring a fellow gang member so you can send them out to find more.
Cast and combat
Bum Simulator has a small but colourful cast of characters players will meet throughout the story. When walking around, players will come across a man dressed in a bright green suit and top hat, simply known as the Rich Gentlemen, who will give players a side quest to finish for his own amusement. One type of quest is to go around and urinate on people wearing suits to tick them off. A lovely lady in a pigeon suit will sell pigeon suits to the player after collecting a set number of feathers. Feathers serve as the main collectable for players to find.
The combat is both fun and downright wacky, with the player utilizing the power of pigeons as ranged weapons. There are three variants of pigeons in the player’s arsenal (Shuriken, Pigeonado, and Peckers). Shuriken is the main one I found myself using in its basic form, it doesn’t do much, but after upgrading the coop, it gains some serious firepower. The Pigeonado conjures up a whirling vortex that sucks in items and enemies. It’s okay at the start but creates a powerful tornado when upgraded. The last, and in my opinion, most underwhelming, is the Pecker ability. The Pecker is used to distract enemies with a swarm of birds, but the A.I. didn’t seem to really react.
Graphics & Audio
While the graphics aren’t particularly pretty or crisp, the streets of Bumsville look suitably grungy and grimy. The environments are chock-full of tongue-in-cheek billboards, signs, dialogue and Easter eggs. The main characters and gang members are very uniquely (and sometimes creepily) designed, from the buff Bug gang members and the Pigeon lady. It almost has the nostalgic look of some games from the mid-2000s, like GTA San Andreas. However, the mushrooms found throughout the map look great with their colour scheme and how they glow. The lack of graphical polish gets made up for with crude and vulgar humour, which is up the alley of fans of the Postal series and GTA games.
The voice acting is stellar. The Bum’s gibberish is hilarious, and I loved the gravelly and creepy voice of the clown merchant Mr Jello. From the double-entendres thrown at you by hotdog and ice-cream vendors to the on-the-nose self-awareness of some of the story dialogue, Bum Simulator has plenty of laughs that will leave the player in stitches or at least give a few chuckles.
Despite being open-world, Bum Simulator is pretty short, with only a handful of side quests and the main story being short. It took me only under ten hours to finish the game. If players love to collect achievements, then you are in luck as this game has one hundred and five for players to get. I ended the game with ninety-eight achievements.
Even though Bum Simulator is short for an open-world game, I really enjoyed my time with it. It doesn’t take itself seriously, which is refreshing in an industry where every game has to be serious. I do have some issues. For example, I didn’t use alchemy much as it didn’t work on the enemies when I played. So I couldn’t comment much on it. I did have a bug where I had to finish a set of missions again, but it resolved itself after completing them a second time. I will recommend this to anyone who enjoyed Postal 2. The story was fun and simplistic, and all the characters shined in their own way, with Mr Jello being my personal favourite. Some more activities in the world would be a good thing to add, as after doing all missions, there isn’t much left to do apart from finding feathers. I was slightly disappointed that I couldn’t steal from stores since I had seen that feature in the original trailer.
I give Bum Simulator the Thumb Culture Silver Award
Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.