Bee Simulator Review: Appleseed
Kalvin Martinez / Dec 30th, 2019 No Comments
Simulator games are a unique genre. Most fall into the category of wanting to make you feel like you’re doing the thing whether it is farming or driving a forklift (no Shenmue). While there are few that try to turn the genre on its head like Goat Simulator, which plays for jokes more than acting as a serious simulation of being a goat.
The plight of bees is a major issue. I, admittedly, don’t know much about bees. That has changed thanks to Bee Simulator, which opened my eyes to the majesty of the bee and the horrible extinction they face.
Bee Simulator rides a line as a sim. It isn’t quite camp, but it also isn’t super serious where you are simply being a real ass bee. The middle ground helps it educate while still being fun.
If You’re After Getting Honey, Hey!
Finding your purpose is difficult, especially when you’re 1 of 10,000 siblings. Yet for Beescuit, she is trying to find her place as a young bee within a hive with a clear delineation of labor. However, she doesn’t let her role as pollen gatherer get her down. While her over zealousness is often a problem, it helps her become a hero to her hive as they face impending destruction due to human meddling.
Bee Simulator’s story mode is notable for existing. You don’t expect a story mode when diving into a simulator, much less one that’s decently thought out. Much of the narrative centers around Beescuit’s journey to be more than simply a worker bee. Despite wanting to be more than that, she is constantly being told to put the hive before her own wants. She must balance her personal desire with what is best for others. It is an interesting internal struggle.
What is exciting about the story mode is how this character arc intertwines with the larger narrative of the hive being threatened by humans. In a triumphant moment, Beescuit gets tasked with finding a new location for the hive. Watching her grow and become a hero for her hive is a wonderful journey.
While the story is mostly serious, the writing is fun with a lot of liberties taken with characterizing the bees and other insects and animals in the game. There are plenty of jokes, mostly aimed at an all ages crowd, but some will make you chuckle.
Further riding the line between silly and serious is the ability to customize Beescuit with different skins, hats and colorful trails for when you fly. Nothing will warm you heart quite like a bee with a cowboy hat and a trail of fireworks behind them as it flies.
As a worker bee, Beescuit’s job is to collect pollen for the hive. Fortunately, there are flowers throughout the park where the hive is located and the surrounding areas. Collecting pollen is simple: fly to a flower and you’ll collect the pollen. After you collect enough pollen return to the hive to deposit it then head back out to collect more pollen.
In terms of flowers, they range from common to legendary flower types with the best pollen belonging to rarer flowers. Some side missions involve collecting a specific number of different types of pollen, which is made easy by bee vision!
Bee vision goes into a first-person view and allows you to discern different pollen types by assigning each a color: white, yellow, green, red, and purple. This is especially helpful when you need to track down specific pollen. It also delightfully disorienting…become the bee.
While collecting pollen is Beescuit’s main job, despite her protests, there are a variety of mission types she can take on both in story mode and as side quests. In addition to collecting pollen, Beescuit can engage in battles, chases, dances, and more.
Dancing? This is a mission/activity done mostly to convey communication between bees. Essentially, the dance is a series of directional button inputs done in a specific order. By remembering the moves the other bee does and mimicking them, Beescuit is able to gain information or pass it along. Dancing isn’t a tough task, but they add some variety to the game.
Chases are more straightforward. Beescuit at various points in the game must chase after another bee or flying creature. In order to win the chase, she must fly through translucent rings along a path without missing too many. By closing the gap, she’ll catch her target.
Races or chases are fun enough, but they suffer from the insubstantial nature of flying. Admittedly, a bee is small and naturally light, especially compared to say a jet. However, there must be a sense of scale because a bee would feel its own weight and have a different sense of flight than us appearing to control a bee.
This means sometimes flying in Bee Simulator feels like swimming. The lack of weight makes controlling Beescuit a bit unwieldy, which ruins the momentum in a chase.
In a delightful twist, Bee Simulator has combat! At various points in the story and for several side missions you must square off against rival bees or horrible hornets or wasps. These battles are the most exhilarating part of the game. Nothing feels better than being triumphant over some dumb wasp who is trying to act all tough.
The game has the option for hard and easy difficulties. The largest difference comes in the complexity of controls for different quests. While an added challenge is good, hard mode mostly makes the controls more convoluted.
For instance, the fights become wildly indecipherable in terms of controls on hard whereas easy, it is easy to play and follow with a simple timing of X and Y buttons. If you’re looking for a more enjoyable time, then play the game on easy mode.
Bee Simulator shouldn’t work as well as it does. It is goofy but also delivers a lot of important information about bees. By skirting a line between too serious and too silly, it crafts an enjoyable and playable experience.
Bee Simulator was reviewed with a code provided by the publisher.
tags: Bee Simulator , Bee Simulator Review , Nintendo Switch , review , Switch