When I saw Gas Station Simulator hit Steam, I came at it with a side-eye glance—it’s often hard to tell if a new simulator game is popular because it’s a joke or because it’s actually good. A few hours later, I can’t stop filling up people’s cars, ringing customers up, and fixing their vehicles.

Surprisingly, Gas Station Simulator has a plot. It starts with you driving your really cool car—complete with a smoking dog bobblehead—through a desert before pulling into the Dust Bowl Gas Stop and buying it from the owner. Shortly after, you get a call from your uncle who tells you that your grandfather once owned it, and he’s happy to help you get it back into shape. 

Yes, it starts almost exactly like Stardew Valley. You even have to build everything from the ground-up. Starting with breaking down 2×4 planks to get into your new gas station and driving a front loader to remove sand from the parking lot and pumps, there’s actually a fair bit of work to do before you can start serving customers. Aiming and tossing garbage bags and other trash into dumpsters—Kobe!—is dumb fun that even tracks your furthest distance with a triumphant “high score” sign. Oh, and that kid that keeps showing up and tagging the stop with spray paint? Throwing trash at him is fun, too.

(Image credit: Drago Entertainment)

If you play the demo, you’ll start with a fully functioning gas station that just needs a good sweeping. Once everything is cleaned up, you’ll be playing gas attendant, cashier, and mechanic until you make a certain amount of money, and then the demo is over. It’s clearly an earlier build, because the full game has an improved UI and controls—it feels less finicky and more responsive than the demo, which wouldn’t register my mouse clicks on certain objects. The full game also adds customization and maintenance, rounding out the experience.

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