Review – Bee Simulator

I would have loved to bee a little bee just so I’d bee able to bee at the meeting where the publisher greenlit a project like Bee Simulator. Can you imagine the elevator pitch? “Well yes gentlemen, we want to make a game in which you can control and honeybee and partake on all the exciting activities of its six-week lifespan, with voice acting”. I can’t deny the fact that this is a truly unique concept for a videogame, but it’s time to find out if this game is worth all the buzz.

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You know a bee dies after stinging a person, right? I tried doing that in order to put myself out of my misery. Didn’t work.

Weirdly enough, Bee Simulator is an open-world adventure game! You start off by naming your insectoid heroine (you’re a worker, so you’ll always be a female), learning how to tame the bonkers controls, and then proceed to collect as much pollen as possible for your beehive. You’ll also partake in other somewhat nonsensical yet varied gameplay challenges, such as racing, treasure hunting, animal cataloguing, balloon popping, bear stinging (you get a trophy called “Unbearable” by doing so), and even brief instances of combat against other wasps and hornets. The combat can best be described as “a turn-based JRPG fighting system combined with Guitar Hero“.

You follow a very brief, as well as unappealing, story about gathering pollen for your hive before winter arrives. There are some dramatic plot twists that, at the very least, give Jerry Seinfeld and Bee Movie a run for their money. It will be over in a couple of hours, but as previously mentioned, Bee Simulator does try to extend its overall duration with some mundane tasks, as well as collectibles. You can unlock skins, trophies of arthropods, and so on. Nothing in here is very exciting, but the game does provide you with a ton of info on every single animal you find on the map, which is based on a very poorly made Central Park.

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Too much candy might give you diaBEEtes.

You collect pollen by simply touching a ring that represents a nearby flower. Different flowers yield different amounts of pollen, all based on their rarity. You can find out how rare a flower is by using your bee’s Witcher-esque “bee vision”. In races, all you need to do is flying through a bunch of rings as if you were playing a less terrible Superman 64. In combat sections, all you need to do is press the triangle and square buttons as shown onscreen, as if you were playing the easiest Guitar Hero ever created. Sadly, the controls aren’t great. The game allows you to freely move around as a bee and the degree of freedom is quite impressive, but the control responsiveness and turning sensitivity are plain awful. You’ll constantly smash your head onto a wall while trying to fight with the controls.

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There is a LIBRARY inside the beehive. Because why not.

Technically-wise, Bee Simulator isn’t a winner. This is a very mediocre-looking game. It does feature some impressive-looking bee models (if you’re into that, I guess), and it does manage to maintain a rock-solid 60 frames per second at all times, even when the screen is filled with flowers, bugs, and animals. Then again, everything else looks underwhelming, to say the least. Levels, animals, human models, everything looks like something that’s just a tiny little bit better than, say, the animal models featured in Life of Black Tiger. Thankfully, the human characters still look much better, as they look like they came from the PS2, not the PS1.

The sound design is another beautiful mess. The soundtrack itself isn’t exactly bad; it’s your basic collection of cheerful music meant to keep your spirits up at all times. The real star of the show is the voice acting. It’s bad. It’s really bad. It’s the kind of bad that reminds you of the glory old days of 3DO titles and the original Resident Evil. Every bee features the most unprofessional voice you’ve ever heard in a video game from this generation. It starts off as deliciously cringy, then it becomes so bad it’s good, but it won’t take long until the terrible voice acting starts irritating your ears like a bee buzz.

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I am pretty sure Life of Black Tiger used the same rhinoceros model.

Bee Simulator is a bad game, but honestly, it’s far from being offensive. It’s just a ridiculously short and simplistic title that is too easy for anyone over the age of six to fully enjoy. But I guess it can be used as some sort of introduction to the saturated universe of open world games for smaller audiences. It’s also a surprisingly robust zoology encyclopedia, so I guess I could recommend it to animal lovers who own a gaming console but don’t have access to Animal Planet or the National Geographic magazine.

 

Graphics: 5.0

The bee models are well-designed, and the game does manage to maintain a very fast and stable 60fps. The rest of the game looks like a bunch of poor quality Unreal assets cobbled together.

Gameplay: 4.5

The game does provide you with a much more open-ended gameplay than expected, but you’ll constantly fighting against it when trying to control the stupid bee.

Sound: 4.5

The cheerful soundtrack is harmless, but decent. The voice acting on the other hand, is downright amateurish and poorly mixed.

Fun Factor: 5.5

It’s a game that’s not exactly fun, but it rarely infuriates. It’s painfully short and ridiculously easy, but there is a sizeable amount of sidequests and extra content. It’s best suited for kids.

Final Verdict: 5.0

Bee Simulator is available now on PS4, Xbox One, PC and Switch.

Reviewed on PS4.

A copy of Bee Simulator was provided by the publisher.

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