when I saw gas station simulator Hit Steam, you come to it with a side look – it’s often hard to tell if a new simulation game is popular because it’s a joke or because it’s really good. After a few hours, I can’t stop filling people’s cars, calling customers, and fixing their cars.
Surprisingly, Gas Station Simulator has a plot. It starts with you driving your really cool car – complete with a smoking dog’s head – through the desert before getting into the Dust Bowl Gas Stop and buying it from the owner. Soon, you get a call from your uncle who tells you that your grandfather once owned it, and is happy to help you get it back in shape.
Yes, it starts out just like Stardew Valley. You even have to build everything from the ground up. From breaking 2×4 planks to the new gas station and driving a front loader to clear sand from the parking lot and pumps, there really is a fair amount of work to be done before you can start serving customers. Aiming and throwing trash bags and other trash into trash cans – Kobe! – It’s such dumb fun that it even tracks your farthest distance with a victorious “high score”. Oh, and that kid who keeps showing up and ticking off with spray paint? Throwing trash at him is fun, too.
If you play the demo, you’ll start with a fully functional gas station that just needs a good wipe. Once everything is cleaned up, you will play the role of gas worker, cashier and mechanic until you earn a certain amount of money, then the demo ends. It’s obviously an earlier build, because the full game has an improved user interface and controls – it looks less awkward and more responsive than the demo, which won’t record mouse clicks on certain objects. The full game also adds customization and maintenance, bringing the experience closer.
I hate cleaning up and doing chores in the real world, but this gas station needs a lot of upkeep and maintenance, and I’m happy to do it. I’ll never understand why cleaning a building in a video game sounds so exciting to me, but seeing the place nice and tidy is just as satisfying as spraying a car in PowerWash Simulator. Buying furniture and painting the station gives me the customization I love in games like House Flipper.
There is a simple kind of fun in the other missions. Filling up a person’s car offers a meter that tells you when you need to stop. The Shift key speeds up the counter, but you have to be quick to stop if you want the maximum tip. Likewise, ringing people at the teller makes you start running the conveyor belt, scanning items, and putting them in a basket. Completing an order without stopping the belt – quick scanning and packing – puts you at ease in a way you shouldn’t be a cashier.
But do I really have to be into this? Even with an excellent Deathloop With rent taking in my head, my body longs to go back to my dirty little gas so I can clean up and help some clients, and I can’t fathom why. Oh, okay. I think all that matters is that it makes me happy. I don’t pack my things, I run out of town, I open my gas station – as some have done Farms and Stardu Valley—But if you’re a 3D primitive looking for some gas and eating, go to ol’ Dust Bowl off Route 66. I’m running the pumps, and there are snacks and drinks inside.