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Bee Simulator

Game review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
Bee Simulator Game Poster Image
Take flight and "bee" what the hive is buzzing about.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Educational Value

Although it takes creative liberties by translating and simplifying everything into an arcade-style experience, the game still teaches about the life of a honeybee and its importance in nature.

Positive Messages

The game's primary focus is for players to learn about and understand how vital the bee population is to the ecosystem, as well as the threats that could push them to extinction.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The bees, wasps, other various creatures are given some basic personalities so players can relate to their lives better, but these are still insects following their base instincts.

Ease of Play

Controls are relatively straightforward and responsive, though it's easy to get disoriented flying through some obstacle courses. Fights get much more complex and objectives change depending on which difficulty setting you choose.

Violence & Scariness

Players do occasionally have to fend off some of their natural enemies, such as wasps and hornets. Combat is a time-based affair, challenging both a player's reflexes and patience. Defeated enemies simply vanish in a puff of smoke.

Language
Consumerism

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Bee Simulator is an arcade-style simulation of the life of a honeybee, and is available on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and Windows-based PCs. The game focuses on the integral part bees play in the ecosystem, but in a simplified and gamified way. There's some mild violence, with players fighting against invading predators in turn-based combat. Attacks only show insects charging at each other, with defeated enemies vanishing in a puff of smoke. These mild battles aside, the action is otherwise suitable for gamers of all ages.

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What's it about?

It's a great big world out there, especially when you're a honeybee in BEE SIMULATOR. You begin your life as the latest addition to your hive, instantly part of a family that supports and relies on each other for its very existence. Your job is to go forth from the hive, flying around the open world environment, collecting all the best pollen from all the best flowers, which in turn allows your hive to thrive as it produces all the best honey one could hope for. Be careful, though. There are constant threats out in the wild, presenting a danger to you, your queen, even your entire bee community. It might be an invading wasp looking for a fight, a hungry bear determined to turn your hive into a midday snack, or maybe even those pesky humans, intent on destroying all that you and your fellow bees have spent their lives to build. You won't need to face these threats alone, though. There's strength in numbers as you join up to three other players in split-screen co-op adventuring, or just prove that you're what everyone in the hive is buzzing about in competitive player-versus-player. However you choose to play, it's up to you to "bee" the best.

Is it any good?

Bees are some of the hardest workers in nature but are often misunderstood or viewed as pests. Bee Simulator looks to change that by giving players the opportunity to see the world through one newly hatched bee's five eyes. The game presents the world of bees in a way that's meant to be both educational and entertaining. This results in an offbeat mix of scientific knowledge and lots of creative license. Still, from a presentation and story standpoint, it's a good way to feed players, especially younger players, a dose of knowledge and to raise their interests to possibly learn more.

Bee Simulator isn't just a learning tool, though. It's a game, but some elements are hit and miss. It's a lot of fun to fly around the park on your own, exploring the environment at your own pace and zipping through picnics while popping colorful balloons. The flight controls feel natural, though it's easy to get turned around and disoriented during obstacle course missions. The game features two difficulty levels, Hard or Easy, which completely change the play dynamics. On Hard, the combat controls are an absolute mess, with players having to constantly try to match their opponents' direction of attack in order to block, while also attacking on their own from a different angle. It's frustratingly awkward and not very effective. On Easy, though, the fighting's almost too simple, with players simply pressing either attack or block when prompted by a sliding on-screen prompt, like a sort of combat karaoke. No matter which difficulty you choose, though, the game, much like a bee's life, exists in a routine cycle. There's a lot of repetition and it's easy to start just going through the motions. Still, Bee Simulator does offer a unique gaming perspective and leaves players with a whole new appreciation for and curiosity about these wonders of nature.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about our relationship with nature. What are some of the ways, both good and bad, that human behavior impacts our ecosphere? What are some things you can do today to help keep the planet sustainable in the future?

  • What are some ways that routine tasks or simulated behaviors can be turned into game experiences? How does this help people to connect to those activities?

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