STAFF REVIEW of Bee Simulator (Xbox One)

Thursday, January 30, 2020.
by John Elliott

Bee Simulator Box art Ever wake up and say to yourself, "I really wish I could experience life as a bee."? Well, for you and any other avid apiarist, there is finally a chance to do just that. Welcome to the world of Bee Simulator, a game that takes you into the nitty gritty everyday life and responsibilities of a little bee as she learns her new role in the hive.

This title sounded great at first; mix a little bit of nature facts with the relaxing simulator genre game style and you have yourself a winner, right? Wrong. Bee Simulator starts out slow and just never seems to pick up.

Let’s start with the positives though because it's apparent that someone put a lot of time and effort into this title by the graphics alone. The title is absolutely beautiful. The artwork is unique and captivating and if the whole premise of the game was to fly around and look at the scenery it would be a success. The graphics to me scream indie title as they have that special artistic feel to them that I love.

Ok, so with the good out of the way, let us talk about where Bee Simulator fell short... The mechanics of the game are pretty standard: Fly up, down, and side to side as you explore your hive or the outside environment. You might even have to fly through a few hoops while you are out there. You are equipped with a special skill called Bee Vision that helps you identify plants in increasing rarity based on the colour they show up as through this view. Fly to the flower, collect the pollen and when your meter tells you that you can’t hold anymore, fly back to the hive to deposit it.

As a little bee you also have to look out for enemies while out and about. Some might just pick a fight with you, and the obvious answer to that is to work on your hand-eye co-ordination to hit the right pattern of buttons to strike back. The combination of fighting mechanics combined with the turn-based approach just felt off to me. Maybe a different fighting style might have improved the experience here, possibly something a little faster paced.

There are also some other actions you need to perform such as dancing for your directions. Again, this was accomplished by performing a series of patterns, which makes a bit more sense as dancing does involve patterns. When flying out in the open I was disappointed to see the lack of attention to detail as I almost flew right into a human’s face (on purpose mind you) and they didn’t even flinch or react. There were some instances where they did react but only when built specifically into the game sequence.

The voice work is what really brings the game down in my opinion. All voices sound pretty much the same and I kept wondering if this title was maybe someone’s college project where they were forced to voice every single character on their own. I know all bees in the hive are female but they definitely don’t have to sound the same. There was also some questionable use of quotes (albeit converted to bee quotes) of famous franchises like Skyrim and Star Wars., which in turn had me thinking about copyright issues rather than the game itself. All in all, I spent most of my time playing thinking of a plethora of other things rather than being enthralled by the game itself.

Bee Simulator offers a unique look into the day to day life of bees but for anyone but the avid apiarist, Bee Simulator lacks the intrigue and excitement that would typically draw a player to the game and keep them interested for long term. The fighting sequences were bizarre, the objectives a bore and the voice work left you scratching your head. Unless you are looking for a pretty fly through the park, I’d skip on this one.

Overall: 6.2 / 10
Gameplay: 5.0 / 10
Visuals: 8.5 / 10
Sound: 5.0 / 10


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