Ever wanted to own your own gas station on a mock Route 66? Here's your chance! A first-person simulator where you tart up, mark up, and clean up a piece of Americana. Out now on Steam and one well worth getting if you like 'this type of thing'.
Developer : Drago Entertainment
Publisher: Movie Games, Heartbeat Games
Genre: Simulation, management, indie, building
Release Date: 15 September 2021
Immersive and mightily addictive
Always something to do
Milestones add to the longevity
Lots of stock, decorations, and expansions
AI was gamebreaking until finding that 'red button'
Some items will stay stuck in place, unable to interact with
The cleaning element is monotonous and too often (assigning staff isn't the solution)
If you share this, I'll love you forever (ish)
Gas Station Simulator is like a best mate with an irritating trait – whether that be bodily smells, a bad taste in romantic partners, or one of those people who keep putting themselves down when they’ve got so much going on. Most people would leave, give up and move on to the best person, but as you love them so much, you stay.
That’s pretty much my relationship with the game. It has so much charm, engagement and satisfaction through progress that when the shit eventually hits the fan (and it does), you’re there to pick up the pieces. Wait…
In short, the premise for Gas Station Simulator is about as lacklustre as any other in the genre. The only difference here is your grandad hasn’t kicked the bucket and left you his legacy, but an uncle of yours has loaned you some money to invest in a rundown gas station. The problem is, he’s a bit shifty.
Gas Station Simulator Review
As soon as you get out of your car, your chucking bin bags from a distance, making a game of it, pulling down wooden planks, giving the outhouses a lick of paint, then opening shop to sell some fuel and snacks on the side.
It doesn’t take long for you to realise that your uncle is a bit of an arse and uses one of his biker thugs to ‘teach you a lesson’ when you don’t pay up. Amusingly, the thug is wearing a jacket with the developer’s name on it (Drago Entertainment). Art imitating life? Are these devs part-time bruisers?!
Anyway, your job is to get the place up and running, meeting many quotas to upgrade the station in size and facilities. In a short space of time, you’ll be opening a warehouse to stock all your gear, as well as a workshop to fix up customer cars, change some tyres – that kind of thing.
P Is For Profit
The money should come from the gas, but it’s a mixture of many elements. First of all, you need to use a computer to place orders for food and drink, magazines, car polish – stuff like that. If the buying price is green, you can make a profit, and if it’s red, miss out. On occasions, you’ll have to take the hit as you might need a part for a customer’s car, and if it isn’t in stock, you may have to pay full whack.
It doesn’t take long for Gas Station Simulator to become slightly overwhelming as you have to pump the gas, place and receive orders, serve customers on a till by manually swiping goods, keeping it tidy by sweeping up and chucking out the rubbish, then repainting the place every time that little prick Dennis shows up and draws a cock on the front of your shop.
For a while, I was muttering about needing the help as it was all feeling quite like Overcooked. Mystic abilities confirmed, I could then hire and fire employees, pending I had a trailer for them to live in and allocate job roles – their stats improving the more you use them in a particular role. Winner.
Gas Station Simulator is ridiculously addictive, and I may have gotten myself in a bit of trouble by spending too much time playing this instead of doing any other work. Unfortunately, a lot of that work was strategically saving and reloading save games as the number of times the AI effed it up efforts was stupid.
Customers will drive around the back of the building, and after the first hour, I could hear the constant sound of horns. Walking around the side of the building was a tailback – the cause was a car had flipped. Later in the game, sandstorms will create obstacles that will trap a car, but they can be removed with your digger, Rudy. However, this scenario had nothing to do with the dunes and a freak accident.
Reloading back about 20 minutes before this happened, I had to complete the same milestones and was safe for another two or three hours. Then it happened again. This time a delivery truck, for some unknown reason, took a wrong turn and got trapped. Another tailback occurred, and I was unable to create a new order (as the delivery truck was already out), and the fuel delivery couldn’t take place as the truck couldn’t get past the pile-up. Load a saved game again…
Painting Without Numbers
Alas, these glitchy elements occurred again and again. For the duration of my playthrough, I was unable to paint my workshop but could upgrade it. This was another location for error as cars could enter the building and get stuck on the ramps without them being raised. It wasn’t that these events were every few minutes, but they were game-breaking.
Using that rubbish best mate analogy, the reason I kept loading a new game was because it’s such a good game. I said about this in the preview, and it’s very much the same thing here, only on a larger scale as you now have employees and other buildings to manage. Oh, and don’t forget the stock – that’s a game in itself.
BUT… a rewritten paragraph later… there’s a big reset button conveniently placed where you can open and close your station. I must have missed that in the tutorial. Its function is to reset all the customers and vehicles, leaving your station temporarily empty to get ready for the next wave. This saved the game and the review!
So, in summary, this Gas Station Simulator review was going without a score due to the glitchy bits, but as there’s an actual reset button, I’m back in my happy place, though wish I could have painted my workshop. If you’re a fan of House Flipper and Train Station Renovator, you’ll love this. Just let’s not start another paragraph about the cleaning aspect of the game…