Simulator games have got pretty wild over the last decade or so, but you wouldn’t beelieve what’s just around the corner. Well, actually, considering that you’ve read the headline, you probably would. Move over Farming Sim and Surgeon Sim (and Car Mechanic Sim and Totally Accurate Battle Sim and Alaskan Truck Sim and Bum Sim) there’s a real buzz to Bee Simulator.
You’re a fresh bee graduate, simply looking to make their way in the world when he one day discovers that humans have been stealing your hone… no, wait that’s the plot of Bee Movie. Oh, I’ve got it. Bee Simulator is more straight forward, putting you in the fuzzy little body of a buzzy bee going about their buzzy lives, collecting pollen, fighting off threats to the hive and generally beeing a good little honey bee.
This isn’t as ludicrous as the more over the top simulators out there, like Car Mechanic Simulator, and it’s certainly not as pernickety and obsessively detailed as the most hardcore truck, train and farming simulators out there, but quite a sweet game geared toward children. It’s difficult to know the tone it’s going for when you’re told at the start just how important bees are to pollinating crops across the globe, but it soon becomes clear when you meet other characters like Kind Bee Alice and the mean Wasp Casey.
Once you’ve been assigned the job of honey bee by the queen, you head out into the open levels to meander around collecting pollen and doing a few little missions. Flying around as a bee is pretty simple, despite the known laws of aviation saying there is no way that a bee should be able to fly. You just direct yourself with the analogue sticks and buzz about, basically. Collecting pollen sadly doesn’t have you clambering into a flower and snorting up all the pollen you can find, but rather just flying through golden rings next to clumps of flowers, filling up a pollen meter that you then take back to the hive and drop off to be turned into honey.
Sometimes you’ll be asked to collect the pollen from particular flowers, getting you to turn on Bee Vision and enter into a first person view. It colours the world blue in an unexpectedly accurate way, since the spectrum of light that bees can pick up extends into the ultraviolet. It’s also nice to see that all the worker bees are female, lending the game a real educational authenticity. I’m not a kid and even I’m learning things about bees!
What’s a little bit less realistic is the way that you fight wasps. Everybody knows that wasps are nasty little rotters, and they’ve got the attitude to match in Bee Simulator. I’ll tell you what I wasn’t expecting was something so close to a boxing game, as you attack horizontally or vertically and defend, depending on your stamina. Every once in a while you can unleash a more powerful attack. It’s pretty straight forward and you can happily button mash your way to success.
But why wouldn’t you just sting them? Well, as we all know, honey bees (and honey bees alone) will die after stinging, so it wouldn’t make sense for this particular honey bee to throw their life away stinging a wasp. You can sting and pop balloons around the world, but try as I might, I couldn’t terrorise the humans milling around on a sunny day in the park, and they don’t really react to your presence outside of a few surprised audio cues. Still, I landed on a few cupcakes and tasty looking bits of food, so my head-canon has them freaking out because an insect touched their food.
That got a bit much for one other bee in the park, as they got sick (I mean, she was definitely drunk) from eating a bit of gone off apple. Classic bee, she raced off on a winding path through the park and I had to chase after one of my many, many sister bees, getting blown around by gusts of wind, having to dodge little clusters of flies and cobwebs to stay close.
When I sat down to play Bee Simulator, I honestly didn’t know what to expect. Would this be a gritty, realistic simulation or a bit more ridiculous like Goat Simulator? I was actually pleasantly surprised to find neither. This is a charming children’s game that does a good job of being authentic to bees, while also being simple enough for the younger generation to pick up and play. If you’ve got young ‘uns and want them to learn about these little insects (and not just run away screaming when a bee gets too close to their ice cream), this could be a game to put in front of them when it releases later this year.