REVIEW – Bee Simulator (Xbox One) with Stream

There are so many simulator games available on the market, with more releasing every month, it is curious to see what will pop up next. Bee Simulator is the next game with “simulator” in the title although this is rather misleading. Instead of being a true insect simulation, this is more of a family friendly bee experience that should have been turned into a straight to DVD movie.

Playing has a honey bee, the game tasks the player with collecting pollen by flying through rings. Once enough pollen has been collected and the bee cannot hold any more, the player must tediously fly all the way back to the hive, sit through some loading screens, drop off the yellow dust, then sit through more loading, then re-enter the large open world. This open world, that provides an excellent sense of scale, is this title’s biggest bullet point. Having the ability to buzz around a mock Central Park, complete with a zoo, a carnival-like area, and some water environments is actually pretty cool, that is, if you can get a hold of the controls.

Controlling the bee isn’t like piloting an Arwing in Star Fox. Instead, it feels more like controlling the monitor in Halo’s Forge mode as the bee will need to stop, hover, and pivot throughout the entire experience. Unfortunately, getting a grasp on this control system takes time and turning never feels right. In fact, the racing segments are just about unplayable thanks to loose cornering and unfair ring placement.

Racing isn’t the only gameplay element in which to be challenged. Using bee vision, the player will be able to see which type of pollen is emitted from a given plant and where to snack on left over food humans left exposed. From a story perspective, the bee is ultimately tasked with finding a new home as the humans are chopping down trees. Along the way, the bee will talk to other poorly voice acted bees similar to how any Assassin’s Creed game has the player mindlessly completing checklists. Instead of climbing towers or racing down feathers, the bee will be forced to complete Simon-Says dancing, search for the pollen of a specific flower, or fight enemy wasps using lame button prompts. Flicking the analog stick a few times to make the bee “dance” and tapping buttons to the lamest form of Guitar Hero ever made gets old quickly and never sports a challenge. This would be somewhat excusable but these boring mini games happen throughout the entire campaign. Thankfully they never last very long. The biggest problem, the player cannot exit one of these mini games until it is successfully completed and becomes a major problem during the racing segments. After losing over a dozen times due to the poor flight controls, the game basically asks the player to rage-quit by having to reset the entire game to get out of it to do anything else.

Again, Bee Simulator really isn’t a simulator as nothing reacts to the player. The bee has access to his huge world but humans never run in fright, wasps only talk smack when you manually encounter them, and even fellow wild life just stand their even after pressing the stinger button. From a gameplay perspective, the entire experience feels empty and is a miss opportunity. From a teaching perspective, players get to casually learn about the importance of bees and their important place in the eco system.  Instead of trying to make a highly entertaining game, it is almost like the developers instead wanted to focus on how important bees are to Earth’s environment. The soundtrack, however, is sweeping and grand and feels like it should have been placed in an epic movie instead of this mock-simulator.

Bee Simulator is a misleading title that ultimately misses the mark. There are spots of enjoyment and even moments of quality edutainment but the repetitive nature of the gameplay and loose flight controls hold back the entire experience.

Also available on pretty much everything else.

SCORE: 5/10

Also Try: organic honey
Don’t Forget About: Mister Mosquito (PS2)
Better Than: any Ultimate Games simulator

By: Zachary Gasiorowski, Editor in Chief
Twitter: @ZackGaz

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