Bee Simulator for Xbox One review – Never spreads its wings

Some subjects are just better suited for simulators than others.

Bee Simulator co-op
(Image: © Bigben Interactive)

First, there was Goat Simulator. And Farming Simulator. And Euro Truck Simulator. And Flight Simulator. Well, now there's Bee Simulator. You can guess what the game's all about. You play as a buzzing little bumblebee, collecting pollen for your hive to prepare for the winter. It's fun in fleeting moments, but not the type of simulator I can see people sticking with.

Bee Simulator What I like

Bee Simulator bugs

Source: Bigben Interactive (Image credit: Source: Bigben Interactive)

I remember as a kid playing LeapFrog learning games and reading all sorts of books about insects and bugs. Bee Simulator acts as an intersection between those. There are neat little facts about bees throughout its loading screens, and there are sections where you can read up on other insect facts as well. It's educational, and I like that. That may not be its primary purpose because of the way the game is designed, but these facts are welcome additions regardless. I learned some interesting things I may never have known otherwise. Did you know a honey bee's wings can flap at 200 beats per second, creating its distinctive buzzing sound? Now you do.

There's a charm to Bee Simulator that you can't help but like.

There's also a charm to Bee Simulator that you can't help but like. The idea is cute. Buzzing around and collecting pollen can be relaxing and a nice change of pace from your typical shooters or expansive RPGs. I had fun flying around — even though the controls took me a bit to get used to — trying to find the rarest pollen I could. The problem is that this is enjoyment is fleeting.

Its mini-games thankfully allow you to do things other than collect pollen. Challenge a wasp to turn-based fight, race against another friendly bee. Or just go around and sting people. Whatever works for you.

Bee Simulator What I don't like

Bee Simulator environment

Source: Bigben Interactive (Image credit: Source: Bigben Interactive)

I can't see people spending more than a couple of hours in Bee Simulator. You can argue that it's not meant for players to be in it for the long haul, but it still can't grab your attention as long as it should. Maybe it's also the time of year it released. I found myself gravitating towards other games. The gameplay loop just isn't addicting nor fun after a while.

I don't think it's worth $40.

I don't know what Bee Simulator cost to make. A $40 price tag might be totally justifiable from the developer's standpoint. They need to make money, and games aren't cheap to develop. But for consumers playing the game, I don't think it's worth $40. People already hate spending $60 on AAA experiences and, even though I think they should cost more, it's a difficult sell when you can buy games for much less.

And despite how beautiful some of the screenshots make it look, the visuals aren't all that appealing. They're dated. Some games can get away with rougher visuals, especially if they lean towards a stylized nature, but this isn't one of them. All I could think about was how ugly, and lifeless the park looked.

To cap it off, the voice acting also sounds like they didn't hire real voice actors, and instead used anyone with little or no voice acting experience. Basically, what I'm saying it sounds like I could have auditioned for a part and got the role. I by no means think my voice acting capabilities would be good. Again, not every game needs top-of-the-line professional voice actors. I'm not expecting Troy Baker or Laura Bailey to jump on Bee Simulator. But if the acting you can get sounds as amateurish as it does, just don't put any voice acting in all together. Most of the humans only communicate in grunts anyway, with only some of the animals taking a bulk of the dialogue.

Should you buy Bee Simulator? Not at full price.

Bee Simulator

Source: Bigben Interactive (Image credit: Source: Bigben Interactive)

The charm that Bee Simulator sells in its trailers is there for a short while before turning into dull, mostly monotonous gameplay. At its core, the game isn't broken, but the foundation is so bare that you won't stick with it for long. What I found to be the most rewarding aspect was learning little tidbits about bees that I otherwise would never have known. And these usually came in the form of loading screens.

Considering the quality of the graphics, voice acting, and expensive price, I find it hard to recommend it to anyone. Children might appreciate it more, but even then, you should wait until you can find the game on sale.

Jennifer Locke

Jennifer Locke has been playing video games nearly her entire life, and is very happy Xbox is growing a stronger first-party portfolio. You can find her obsessing over Star Wars and other geeky things on Twitter @JenLocke95.