Bee Simulator Turns Players Into an Adorable Honeybee With a Mission

While I'm someone who cowers whenever I hear the droning sound of a buzzing bee, I'm also deeply appreciative of the vital role they play in our ecosystems. Without bees, humans would be left pretty much helpless.

I think that's one of the things that first attracted me to VARSAV Game Studios' unusual Bee Simulator, which allows players to take control of a honeybee on a mission to save her hive. I reached out to the publishers, who were kind enough to provide me with a review code for the game on Nintendo Switch, and here's what I've been loving about it.


(Bee Simulator via Bigben Interactive)

The Life of a Bee

Bee Simulator follows the life of a hard-working honeybee from the moment she first takes flight and learns how to do her job serving the hive. The game was developed in collaboration with real beekeepers to keep the environmental message accurate while conveying just how important honeybees truly are and injecting a hint of their real lifestyles into the gameplay.

As the story progresses, it's fascinating to see how the relationship develops between your little bee who just wants to help and her mother, the queen, who thinks she's too young to make a real change in the world. By the end of the game, you'll find that the queen is proven very wrong by the bee's tenacity and strength.


(Bee Simulator via Bigben Interactive)


Serving the Hive

The game begins with learning how to fly your little bee around the world. Though the controls can take a little getting used to, they quickly become second-nature, allowing you to zip around to your heart's content. Your adventure starts inside the beehive, where a golden glow will direct you to your next objective, but once you learn the ropes and finally adventure outside, you'll need a hud at the top of the screen to guide you through the expansive land to get you where you need to go next. Along the way, you might also encounter various color-coded optional missions that'll help you live your ultimate life as a bee.


(Bee Simulator via Bigben Interactive)

The different challenges and missions in Bee Simulator aren't the most varied, but they work well to serve the story while also being pretty true to the bee experience. First, there are battles, in which you play a rhythm-style game against an opponent bee or wasp, pressing the right button in time to take them down.


(Bee Simulator via Bigben Interactive)

Secondly, there are races, which ask players to try to catch up to their opponent without missing too many floating rings in the process. These were certainly the most challenging parts of the games for me, sometimes even becoming frustrating when I felt like I simply wasn't making any progress in them. But by sticking in there and remaining persistent, I eventually bested each one, and felt pretty accomplished when I finally did.


(Bee Simulator via Bigben Interactive)

There are also Simon-style bee dances, in which you must memorize a number of directional presses in the correct order to communicate the location of pollen and other objects to fellow bees. But my favorite mission type was actually collecting pollen, turning on my bee vision to see not the flowers themselves, but the color-coded rarity of their pollen. At first, this mode was a little strange and disorienting, but once I got the hang of it, I loved flying around and seeking out the rarest of pollen types.


(Bee Simulator via Bigben Interactive)

As you collect pollen, your honey pot meter gets filled, and when it's topped off, you pretty much have to drop whatever you're doing and return to the hive to deposit it before you can do much of anything else. While this is the mission of any honeybee, and the game incentivizes payers with in-game currency for doing this often, I found the process to really slow down the gameplay.


(Bee Simulator via Bigben Interactive)

Collecting the same type of pollen multiple times in a row also powers up your "Beetro" meter, which allows your little bee to fly faster with the push of a button. However, the same can be achieved by landing on human-made sweets, such as cupcakes and lollipops, so I preferred doing that to power up in a fraction of the time.

Of course, the key story missions did tend to offer a little bit more variety. You might find yourself stinging a bully child who won't stop stomping flowers, or carrying around glowing mushrooms to help a group of ants. Flying into a spooky spiderweb activates a mini-game in which you must fight for your life. The more you go out of your way, the more interesting storylines you'll encounter, and the more accomplished you'll feel in your role as a busy little bee.


(Bee Simulator via Bigben Interactive)


Bringing the World to Life

Though your beehive serves as the central hub of the world in Bee Simulator, there's a much larger world beyond it. The game takes place in an area inspired by New York's Central Park, complete with a zoo, and it's packed with things to do and see.

As you play, the game never stops teaching players just how essential bees truly are to us, and what we'd all be missing out on if it weren't for our mighty flying friends. The loading screens all feature interesting bee facts, and you can learn even more about them by digging deep in the beehive's archive.


(Bee Simulator via Bigben Interactive)

You can take the education even further, if you choose, or just stick to the main gameplay if that doesn't interest you. Any time you encounter an animal in the wild, they are added to your in-game Glossary, so you can complete a nice encyclopedia of critters.


(Bee Simulator via Bigben Interactive)

The entire game is also fully voice-acted, and it's interesting to see what voices and personalities it ascribes to the bees in your hive, as well as to rival bees, antagonistic wasps and other creatures you meet along the way. Though the voice acting can get a little repetitive when you get stuck on a tricky mission and have to hear the same lines over and over again, it does inject life into the world and add a charm that would likely be lacking otherwise. It also helps that the game has a silly sense of humor and knows not to take itself too seriously.


(Bee Simulator via Bigben Interactive)

While the game can get a bit monotonous at times, it does so without ever quite being dull. The game's routine seems purposeful, highlighting the tough and sometimes repetitive day-to-day life of a honeybee before infusing it with a little excitement as you work to find a new hive and save your entire family.


(Bee Simulator via Bigben Interactive)

Despite this sense of repetition, I found myself compelled to continue even once I'd completed the main story, fulfilling additional missions and quests, eager to see what other adventures the game had to offer for me.

One of the things that kept driving me was the customization available in the game. Not only can you change the look of your bee to reflect a number of different species, but you can also make them wear cute accessories such as hats and headphones as you unlock them.

Though Bee Simulator is not really a "simulator" in the strictest sense, it does throw us into a few days in the life of an incredibly special bee, making it fun and sweet nonetheless. The entire game is gorgeous, and exploring the large Central-Park inspired world was a delight in itself. There's never a dull moment with this game, and it just might make you more sympathetic to the cause of the humble bee.


Bee Simulator is out now for PC, Xbox One, Playstation 4 and Nintendo Switch for $39.99.


Love nature's pollinators? Click HERE for cute captions to use for all your pics of bees.