The sheer amount of simulation games releasing continues to astonish. From the usual racing simulators, to rally simulators returning from the dead, and even full-fledged farming simulators, there is no denying that this genre has pretty much every niche covered. Then again, a new game has surfaced proving that there is more to be covered by this genre than originally thought. Especially when it comes to bees!
Bee Simulator is a cute new game from polish developers Varsav Games, a fairly unknown developer working alongside BigBen Interactive. They have worked tirelessly to help bring light to the bee extinction situation facing the world. Is the game any good though, or is Bee Simulator just another mediocre simulation gam? In this review, I will go over the good, the bad, and the surprisingly ugly of taking on the role of a busy little bee.
Stories in simulator titles are usually lacklustre at best. Bee Simulator, however, attempts to break away from the mould, to make the game more appealing to story-oriented players. Alas, it is a very brief reprieve.
In the story mode, your bee colony is dying off. You now need need to find a new hive for your bee colony. It is a fairly short stint serving more as a tutorial than an actual narrative development.
The story mode takes place across eight chapters. You take on the role of a busy little bee, all the way from its hatching and larval stage, through to the busiest little bee in town. There are several main objectives you will need to complete. There are four or five main “game modes”, for lack of a better term, and all of them will have to be repeated a few times as you progress through the main chapters of the game.
While the game never switches to different modes, you will notice how missions follow certain types of pre-built mechanics. There are rhythm-type games where you have to fly your bee as necessary, while you will sometimes come across races and dances down the line. Occasionally, you will also be tasked to sting the bully bees and take their honey, because why the heck not?
Beyond the various activities in the game, you can also expect to see a fair few sidequests. These cause you to deviate a tiny bit from the “golden path” and open up the world to explore. These are nicely done and I believe mostly handcrafted! For example, I remember flying about and finding a squirrel who seemed lost. When I flew off, I found his mother. Upon reuniting the two, I was met with an extremely adorable scene where the two squirrels returned to their tree. Very wholesome!
Beyond the few adorable sidequests and various activities spanning the brief 4-hour story mode, Bee Simulator does not have a lot more going for it. I think this is largely because the game tries to appeal to players of all ages – with a focus on the very young.
Courtesy of its rather sizeable target audience, it would make sense for the game to play well, which it does! Simulation titles are renowned for their extremely intricate gameplay elements. Bee Simulator, on the other hand, is actually quite easy to play!
The controls are incredibly easy to grasp. Banking left and right, flying up and down, and even increasing your speed are all very intuitive. There are no fancy button combinations to remember or intricate upgrades and menus to master, like most other simulators.
Beyond the main game mode, you can also fly freely and explore the world that Bee Simulator is set in. This is effectively the exact same game mode the game transitions into when you finish the story as well. In this mode, however, the game lets you explore with friends! The game offers both split-screen co-op, and competitive modes. This is particularly great when younger siblings want to join in on the fun. Thus allowing them to forgo the slog of beating the various wasps and their ilk who want to ruin the day. Together you can fly through rings, race each other to different points in the city, and even see who collects the most honey (pretty much all you can do).
The lack of things to do after six or seven hours is offset by the game’s sheer amount of detail and beauty. Bee Simulator is a colourful and beautifully crafted game, one made for exploring every nook and cranny of the world.
I particularly enjoy how the narrative uses a comic-like storyboard to tell its story, while the game itself attempts to recreate real-life with an exceptional colour filter that brings out the beauty in everything it overlays. The game also features a tiny bit of cell-shading, which can only be seen every once in a while (especially in the gloomy hive). I think that is the game’s true secret – have it be as photo-realistic as possible while mixing it up with filters serving to enhance the colours beautifully. Whatever the case may be, I loved every second of it.
Varsav clearly poured their hearts and souls into getting all of the details just right. As such, the game strikes a nice balance between gameplay and visuals.
Bee Simulator is a cute game. It is meant to bring light to the bee epidemic, and it does so beautifully. Alas it seems to be all it does, which is a shame. I cannot complain about how great the game is. The gameplay is fun, and the story is a quick stint into the life of a bee. It also lets you explore the city and unlock all kinds of trivia and facts about insects and flora. I just wish it had a bit more going for it.
|Time Played||8 Hours|
|Acquisition||Review code courtesy of BigBen Interactive|