We’ve had all kinds of different simulator titles release over the years, so why not one that lets you play as a bee? Bee Simulator offers gamers the chance to live out their dreams of being a honey bee, with everyday tasks such as collecting pollen or racing across parks (I’m sure they do that, right?) making up the light-hearted adventure. You never know, you might even learn a thing or two about bees when playing too…
Bee Simulator actually has a narrative and you’ll even get to interact with other bees, though it’s all very simple. Basically, you take on the role of a bee that has to help look after the hive, collect pollen, and then eventually find a new home for everyone to move on to. It’s as simple as that, with no deep bee-fuelled narrative to be found, but rather a quirky (and undeniably charming) escapade instead.
The gameplay is equally as simple, with the player flying their bee around and completing a myriad of tasks across both the hive and the open-environment. You’ll use your ‘Bee-Vision’ to help you navigate to your objectives and highlighted points of interest, weave around flowers to gather pollen, battle other insects in a rhythm-style mini-game to assert your dominance, and copy the dancing routines of other bees to communicate. The gameplay cycle of Bee Simulator is all very simple in design, but in that fun little way that doesn’t feel too shallow. That being said, the simplicity of it all does see it cater more to a younger audience than anyone else – older folk might find it all a bit TOO basic.
Exploring the world is fun though, with the Central Park-inspired locale making for a fun place to *literally* spread your wings and fly. There’s plenty to see and discover, whilst missions and side-tasks are quite plentiful too. The missions themselves are fairly straight-forward and consist of things like collecting pollen, rescuing bees, or battling other bugs, but they’re charming enough and feel appropriate for the game.
Those who just want to fly around freely will be glad to know that the open-world itself is fairly safe too. Whilst there are plenty of animals and humans around, they tend to leave you alone and let you go about your business in peace. I mean, no human wants to hurt a bee, right? Again, it makes Bee Simulator feel ideal for younger gamers who just want to play about, though it should bring a few smiles to the older ones too.
Obviously, you’ll spend most of your time in Bee Simulator flying and it can be pretty satisfying – the wide and open area offers plenty of sights to see and it’s surprisingly big in scale. However, as soon as you hit a smaller area or need a bit of precision, things can start to get clumsy fast. I noticed that the slightest bump with the environment could send the camera and the controls haywire, with the bee seemingly going out of control for a bit too. When you’re not in a mission it’s more forgivable, but when you’re in the middle of a race and have to start again it can become frustrating. It’s a bit annoying because the controls themselves are simple enough and function well for the most part, but as soon as you need precision they’re lacking.
The controls aren’t the only problem either, with some long loading times in the game as well as the occasional drop in frame rate. Neither are game-breaking issues, but they are ever-present and can feel particularly noticeable at times. Bee Simulator isn’t too long a game though with it easily beaten in around three hours or so, so you probably won’t be playing it long enough for them to become TOO frustrating.
One thing I’ve got to give Bee Simulator a nod for is its educational value, with a myriad of ‘Bee Facts’ popping up during your adventure. I’m certainly more knowledgeable about bees after playing, whilst my young nephew who I played with was actually wowed by some of the things he learnt. It’s worth pointing out that you can actually play in local split-screen multiplayer to freely roam with other players, which was something I enjoyed doing with my nephew too – it’s definitely a game that’s ideal for adults and children to play together.
I went into Bee Simulator expecting it to be a bit crap, but it’s actually a charming little experience that offers a fair few moments of fun. Don’t get me wrong, I’d hardly call it an overly good game and it certainly has its fair share of flaws, but there were also times when playing that I’d have a smile glued across my face as a glided through flowers collecting pollen or I competed with hornets in insect-battles.
Overall, Bee Simulator was a pleasant surprise, but with its whimsical setup and simple gameplay it’s easy to see that it’s a game that would be better enjoyed by youngsters.
Developer: Varsav Game Studios
Publisher: Bigben Interactive
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC