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Bee Movie Game

Score: 72%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Beenox
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1
Genre: Action/ Adventure

Graphics & Sound:

Bee Movie Game is yet another licensed movie tie-in game, and as most people would expect, it isn't really the best the next great experience, in fact, on pretty much every point, this game is average.

The characters and locations look okay, but there isn't anything that really makes you stand up and take notice. The character models (both bee and human) look pretty close to their film counterparts, but the amount of detail on the characters just feels like I'm playing a PS2 game. On the other hand, the various levels tend to have a fairly large feel to them. Whether you are in a field of flowers, the hive or in a human apartment, there is a lot of open area to fly or drive around in, and this at least feels like it's done right.

The game seems to use the same vocal talents that the movie has (Jerry Seinfeld, Renée Zellweger, Patrick Warburton, etc.) but I can't find any additional credits for this game, so, having not seen the movie yet, I can only assume no new recordings were done and the scenes that play out with the various characters are more or less in-game graphical reproductions of the movie's events.


Bee Movie Game follows Barry B. Benson as he realizes working at Honex making honey isn't quite the job for him. So you will control Barry as he not only goes through the events of the movie (becoming a Pollen Jock, meeting humans, etc), but also try out tons of other jobs like pollen sorter, mechanic, race car driver and taxi driver. As you progress through the story, new jobs become available and completing these jobs earns you money you can use to buy cars or new outfits for Barry.

Each job is a mini-game that is typically fun to play, and offers something to do while you wait for the next story mission to unlock. Games like the pollen sorting will have you moving a tub left and right at the bottom of the screen trying to collect the non-burnt pollen as it falls down in a Plinko manner. Another game, the race-car driver, simply has you taking part in races of either the checkpoint or lap variety.

One of the things that really bothered me about this game is that I couldn't just go from story mission to story mission and run through the game, and use the open-world New Hive City as a place where I can go to take a break from the main events. Instead, after completing chapters, you are dumped into New Hive City and not given any kind of direction. You basically have to mill about the area taking part in jobs and buying stuff until some amount of time has passed and the game tells you the next mission is available. This was really aggravating because it made the between-mission times feel like a waste, and there where times when I thought "What if I don't want to try out a job."

On the flip side, I found a lot of the missions themselves to be fairly enjoyable. When you are outside of the hive, your character is buzzing along trying to collect pollen from some flowers and deposit it in other, wilted flowers. While performing your bee duties, you will be attacked by dragonflies and mosquitoes that are, funnily enough, allergic to pollen, so you use the same device you suck and deposit the pollen with as a weapon against the zooming bad guys.

There are other types of objectives, like following prompted inputs in order to stay out of danger (like the scene where you are stuck to the tennis ball that shows up in all the movie previews), or turning on your Bee Senses so you can dodge rain and get back to a safe area. Of all of the gameplay styles Bee Movie Game presented, I found the pollen gathering events to be the most fun.


Bee Movie Game's difficulty has a few interesting aspects to it. While the story chapters aren't ever really a challenge and may require two or three tries in order to get past them, the various jobs you get to try out while in the hive get harder and harder as you do them. For instance, the mechanic job will have you performing various input commands in order to fix various parts of the car. While this mechanics of the mini-game doesn't really change between the different job-levels, what does increase is the number of cars and the complexity of the broken engine in each level. I found myself spending more time trying to get past these mini-games at the higher level than getting past the story event.

Game Mechanics:

Bee Movie Game's Windows controls weren't all that bad, at least not as bad as the PS2 ones from what I saw. But they are still a little shaky and it took me quite a bit of time to get a good handle on them. First off, there are two control styles, in the hive and out of the hive. While in New Hive City, you control Barry's walking with the W-A-S-D keys and look around with the mouse (pretty basic), while in New York City on the other hand, the mouse moves your character horizontally and vertically and you use the Spacebar to move forward. The switch in controls, while somewhat understandable since you are flying in 3D space when out of the hive, always took a little getting used to.

While flying outside of the hive, you use your left mouse button to extract/pollinate and shoot pollen from your gun while Tab activates your Bee Vision and (F) turns on your Bee Reflexes (both actions you will have to perform quite a few times and they always felt out of place for my fingers).

If you are in the hive and have to balance something on a car while driving (like in the delivery mini-game), you can't really use the mouse at all. Instead, you use the arrows to manage your direction and you have to use the number pad's (4) and (6) keys. Again, this was another control change since I am used to having my right hand on my mouse.

I have mixed feelings about recommending this game. While there isn't anything exceptionally bad about it, there is nothing that really makes it stand out. The mini-games are a mix of fun and humdrum (personally, I found the racing game to be passable, while the mechanic was fun, twitched-based action), and most of the other gameplay gets pretty repetitive.

-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

Minimum System Requirements:

Windows XP or Vista, Pentium 4 1.66 GHz or Athlon XP 1600 + MHz or higher processor, 512 MB RAM, 3 GB Hard Disk Space, 64MB DirectX 9.0c compatible 3D hardware accelerator card

Test System:

Alienware Aurora m9700 Laptop, Windows XP Professional, AMD Turion 64 Mobile 2.41 GHz, 2 GB Ram, Duel NVIDIA GeForce Go 7900 GS 256MB Video Cards, DirectX 9.0c

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