Bee Simulator is the tale of a small honey bee and follows her adventures from birth to the day that she saves her colony. The setting for the game is a park that has clearly been inspired by Central Park in New York, so it’s filled with people and animals. At the start of the game, your main concern is collecting pollen for the hive in preparation for winter, but it soon becomes clear that there is another threat looming on the horizon. It seems that some humans have taken an unhealthy interest in the tree where the hive is located and intend to cut it down, so the search for a new hive becomes a top priority That’s pretty much all there is to Bee Simulator, at least as far as the story is concerned.
One thing becomes very apparent early on in the game, Bee Simulator really isn’t much of a simulator and the target audience is clearly very young gamers. Flying around as a honey bee is quite fun, but it isn’t accurately simulating anything related to bees. Collecting pollen is as easy as flying through the glowing hoops that appear above flowers while fighting attackers, such as pesky wasps, involves pressing the correct buttons that are shown on your screen. Even the “dances” that bees perform to give each other directions take the form of a“Simon-says” style mini-game in Bee Simulator, for the rest, the bees simply communicate with each other in English. Finally, you’ll get to take part in races, which also involves flying through marked hoops while dodging obstacles. No matter which one of the three difficulty settings you choose these activities are all extremely easy, apart from the races, which can be a real nuisance.
To make up for the lack of realism when it comes to actually simulating anything bee-related, the game does feature a ton of bee facts to entertain younger players. Dropping off your collected pollen back at the hive also rewards you with “knowledge points”, which is the in-game currency for Bee Simulator. Those points can then be spent unlocking things like 3D statues of animals and insects that you have encountered in the game or new costumes for your bee. Seeing as the main story is extremely short, it’s a good thing that there are so many things to unlock to keep players interested. However, even with all the costumes and unlockables, the game can easily be completed in a day or so.
Visually, Bee Simulator is not a bad looking game, but as soon as you fly too close to people or animals the cracks begin to show. The human characters who inhabit the world are particularly robotic in nature and they all have very limited animations. For some reason, the game allows you to use your stinger, which in real-life would spell certain death for the little bee.
However, in the game, stinging a person only results in some stars popping up and your victim saying “ouch.” Considering that we tested this out by stinging a few people in the eyes, nose, and ears we expected something a little more dramatic.
The people you sting won’t even deviate from their preset animations, apart from maybe waving their hands a bit occasionally. While this makes sense given the non-violent nature of the game and the fact that the developers are clearly making sure that they portray bees in a positive light, but this begs the question as to why the ability to sting thing was even included. It does allow you to do mean things like flying around popping all the balloons in the park with your stinger, but even this grows old very quickly. A game where you could fly around causing mayhem and chase people around the park would have been a lot more entertaining, but it makes sense that the developers didn’t go down this route. The various animals in the game look ab it more realistic than the humans, but they are just as oblivious to your presence. However, it is neat that you can fly around and look at the various animals to unlock the ability to purchase their 3D models back at the hive.
Bee Simulator is viewed from a third-person perspective, except when you switch to your bee’s special vision, which allows you to see how “rare” flowers are based on the colors that they emit. This is used in a couple of missions where you are tasked with only collecting certain types of flowers. The third-person camera works well for the most part, but in tight places can become a bit of a hassle, which also makes the races needlessly frustrating at times. The park setting of the game allows for some nice variety as it is home to not just plenty of trees and flowers, but also a zoo, large lake with rowboats and even a small funfair with rides. Playing through the story mode will only give you one or two missions in each area, so if you really want to see all the interesting locations you’ll have to keep playing the free flight mode that you can unlock. Apart from the main area, Bee Simulator also features a couple of smaller locations that are available in the split-screen multiplayer mode. This mode is fun for a short while, but since it’s not actually competitive in nature you’ll quickly lose interest.
We played Bee Simulator using an Xbox controller and it worked fine for the most part. The controls can be a little twitchy, but this never really becomes an issue until trying to navigate tight spots. There’s no denying that soaring through the air as a bee is a lot of fun, especially after filling up your “beetro” bar by landing on sweet things like human snacks. Although the playing area is not that huge you can still make use of the fast travel feature to quickly get to previous areas that you have visited. The audio is a bit of a mixed bag and features a nice orchestral soundtrack, some decent sound effects and voice acting that can be described as amateurish at best. The voice acting fits the child-friendly nature of the game, but will probably sound grating to anyone over the age of seven. We were surprised that the game didn’t go all out on bee-related puns although the name of the queen bee did make us groan.
If you are looking for a realistic bee simulator then this game, despite the title, will likely disappoint you. Younger players might enjoy the vibrant game world and gentle difficulty curve of the game, but older players will be able to complete everything it has to offer in no time. Despite the open-world setting of the game, there is very little to do beyond the rather limited mini-games unfortunately. If you really love bees or want something that your kids can enjoy without exposing them to violence and mayhem, then Bee Simulator is worth a closer look. However, if you were expecting something like Grant Theft Auto featuring bees or a realistic simulation of the buzzing critters, then Bee Simulator is likely to disappoint.
- OS: Windows 7
- Memory: 4 GB RAM
- Processor: Intel Core i5-2300 or AMD FX-4350
- Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 550 Ti or ATI Radeon HD 5770
- DirectX: Version 11
- Storage: 10 GB available space
- Additional Notes: 1 GB VRAM for 720p, 2 GB VRAM for 1080p
- OS: Windows 7
- Processor: Intel Core i5-3470 or AMD FX-6300
- Memory: 4 GB RAM
- Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 or AMD Radeon HD 7870
- DirectX: DirectX 11 is required
- Storage: 10GB
- Additional Notes: 2 GB VRAM is required