Developed By: VARSAV Game Studios
Published By: BigBen Interactive
Release Date: 11.12.2019
Bee Simulator is an educational, adventure-sim that has you taking flight as a newly birthed bee that is learning the basics of the environment and how the bee species live their day to day lives. As you traverse these impressive locales that nail scale and beauty, it is hard to not feel the elation of flying through areas effortlessly. However, some serious control issues and a lack of length and depth hurt this titles longevity, especially at its heft price tag.
Beginning the game as a larva exiting the hive, you are immediately thrown into missions to help the hive gather nectar and do whatever else bees do best. You meet the Queen and start off with the tutorials learning the controls and start to work through gathering and mini games.
The game offers a good bit of information on bees and how important their existence is to humanity, which was appreciated as someone who cares a good deal for the fate of these powerful little creatures. Beyond the intro and in cut scenes, you are pretty much left to play the game, but having these little bits and pieces of education added a lot of value to this package.
Gameplay consists of flying around environments, collecting nectar from various flowers. You can use a first-person “bee vision” to differentiate between the different nectars, each of which fill different meters from nectar holding to speed boost, but all in all you are looking for pretty, pretty flowers and snorting the delectable treats they harness. This bit of the game gets pretty samey, and quickly loses its flavor as the environmental scale and beauty isn’t enough to hold up the experience as a whole.
There are some mini games you will interact with that breakup some of the tedium, but it really doesn’t do enough to solve this issue. Rhythm games are used to get through fight sequences with various creatures, as well as in bee interaction, with a racing game being used elsewhere. The rhythm games are decent, but lack any real difficulty or substance, and the racing games fall short due to the wonky controls.
Controls are a major issue in this one. Maintaining speed and maneuverability is something you will battle with from start to finish, but really isn’t all that noticeable until you get into these areas. The regular loop allows you to take your time, so slowly floating about is totally acceptable, however when racing you will have to quickly move through rings, à la Superman 64, and it handles just about as well, as slight adjustments can send you careening into nothingness. Although I have played speed-based titles with touchier controls, this one is rough. Luckily, this is a small portion of the game, and you can quickly return to the ambiance of the normal game.
Although the scale is something that is a huge selling point of the game, and the visuals are quite nice, this port definitely takes a knock on the Nintendo Switch. Grainy, dull coloration and detail throughout takes a lot of the value away from this title and leaves a lot to be desired. The soundtrack is a master class, however, and adds a ton to the feeling you get as you slowly get your work done, moving from flower to flower, as you complete your missions for the betterment of the hive.
Co-op and PvP game modes are available for those who would like to experience this one with a friend, which is a nice touch, but the experiences you have here don’t add enough to make this something that makes up a lot of ground on the negatives here. Although I can say I would rather have these options than not, I think I would have rather had a more polished single player product in the end rather than these added on group features.
At the end of the day, Bee Simulator gives you an interesting look into the life of a bee that has a lot of value as an educational piece. As a simulator, it locks right in with some of the better, quirky ideas out there, and luckily does fall to the more recent iterations or “Simulators” that has a lot more in the negative column than the positive. This title definitely sets itself apart, but in a genre that has lost a lot of its luster it isn’t that hard to be something that is exceptional. Boring gameplay at times, muddy visuals, and rough controls hurt some of the major functions of the game, but if you can just focus on how cool it is to float around as a bee (and hopefully at a sale price), then this will be a title you could play and enjoy.
Buy Now – $39.99
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*The Switch Effect was provided a code for this game*