IGN Review of Bee Movie Game
It's almost hard to believe Jerry Seinfeld is still around. After his TV series ended the guy kind of just faded away. Bee Movie, written and produced by Seinfeld is his biggest project since those American Express commercials with Superman. The movie is everywhere. It's inescapable, and so it's no surprise that Bee Movie is swarming into the videogame world with Bee Movie Game. Vicarious Visions has done some neat stuff with the concept, and the game looks great, but it's about as long as the running time of the film.
The game follows the plot of the recent film it's based on. Barry B. Benson, the wide-eyed, recently graduated, and possibly Jewish honeybee has pretty high aspirations. He wants to be a Pollen Jock, one of the group of elite that collect pollen for the hive to make their precious honey. During Barry's adventures outside the hive, he discovers that humans use bees and eat their honey. So he does what any reasonable honeybee would do: sue humanity.
Players guide Barry through the Hive, as well as New York City, trying to discover the source of the honey distribution. There are four areas to explore - New Hive City, Central Park, Grocery Store, and The Honey Farm - and each area is pretty large. Barry flies around in 3D, with the camera overhead. The levels are not only large, but detailed with dozens of different textures and designs.
What really makes the levels impressive is the scope. Each of the NYC based locations has three height tiers. Barry can change level at any time as he flies around. Certain pathways are unlocked by changing height, and different types of enemies appear in the different sections. Cats may prowl the ground but can't reach Barry if he's up higher. However, birds can, so players have to strategize how they work through the levels.
It's really a shame that the levels are wasted on fetch quests. The majority of Bee Movie Game is about finding other bugs, delivery candy, or collecting objects. As a developer, Vicarious Vision is know for innovative gameplay, so it's disheartening to see the talent wasted on the most trite and cliche gameplay mechanic around.
There are three minigames that are used as a form of bee combat mechanic. Players can upgrade Barry's skill levels by playing the minigames in New Hive City. Later in the game the same minigames are used in "boss" battles. They're pretty basic games. One has players tap blue circles that bounce around the screen, and another has players trace shapes with the stylus. Still the games are fun, and get pretty intense in the later difficulties. Plus, we like the idea that the same minigames used to train the bee in the beginning are the same he uses to prove himself in the end.
During the minigames Barry is involved in some sort of scene on the top screen. It's usually a short looped animation, but the quality is pretty impressive. Barry engages in acrobatics or fights with evil humans while players frantically try to complete the minigames. It's a shame that the games require so much concentration that players will probably never see the animation.
With only three levels, the game is over in a few short hours. It's surprisingly short. Since so much of the film is skipped over in text dialogue cut scenes, there just isn't much there to play.
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