Bee Simulator review for PS4, Xbox One, Switch

Platform: PS4
Also on: PC, Switch, Xbox One
Publisher: Bigben Interactive
Developer: VARSAV
Medium: Digital/Disc/Cartridge
Players: 1-4
Online: No

The premise of Bee Simulator is a lot of fun. It?s an open-world sandbox game set in Central Park where, as the title implies, you?re a bee. It?s intended to be an intro to open-world games for younger gamers that doubles as an educational tool about all things apian, which is certainly a noble aim.

Unfortunately, the execution of the idea leaves a whole lot to be desired.

The game?s failure can be traced directly to one thing: the flying in Bee Simulator is awful. And seeing as bees tend to fly from place to place, you can see how that would have a detrimental impact on the game as a whole. The simple act of going from one place to another is a lot harder than it needs to be; your bee can only move up or down with great effort, they fly slowly, and any time you try and land anywhere, you need to touch it at just the right angle, or else you?ll bounce around trying to find your bearings.

Worse still, there are races in Bee Simulator, some of which are key parts of moving the story — such as it is — forward. These are pure torture, since they require you to make some sharp turns through a series of rings, and the controls just aren?t tight enough to let you do that. The race sections are so bad, they almost single-handedly sink the rest of the game, and I can?t imagine why the developers thought that an educational game for kids was the right place to stick the most unforgiving race course imaginable.

It?s doubly unfortunate, because otherwise Bee Simulator isn?t that bad. You fly around Central Park doing all the things bees do. You gather pollen. You learn the locations of legendary flowers by dancing with other bees (it?s as cute as it sounds). You fight the occasional wasp. You can even sting humans, if you?re so inclined, and you can do so without the pesky death that accompanies it in the real bee world.

And, of course, you learn. The game is stuffed full of bee facts, designed to impress upon young players the crucial role that bees play in our ecosystem. Given that pollinators like bees are endangered, that educational function can only be seen as a good thing.

Too bad, then, that the only thing young gamers — or anyone else, for that matter — is likely to take away from Bee Simulator is how utterly wretched its controls are. No matter how noble its goals are, they can?t overcome the fact that the most important facet of the game is absolutely terrible, and for that reason, Bee Simulator is best avoided.

Bigben Interactive provided us with a Bee Simulator PS4 code for review purposes.

Grade: C-