Tuesday, November 27, 2007


I’m a fan of Jerry Seinfeld and I plan on seeing “Bee Movie.” So, being a gamer, it’s only natural that I had an interest in Activision’s appropriately titled Bee Movie Game.

First and foremost, it needs to be pointed out that Seinfeld was secured to provide the audio for the game’s main character, Barry B. Benson. This is the same character the comedian voices in the movie. Without him on board, gamers would have been left asking (as part of a bad Seinfeld impersonation), “a ‘Bee Movie’ game without Jerry, what’s the deal with that?”

The game follows a pretty simple storyline. Barry spends the early part of his existence going through the repetitive activities of life in New Hive City. After going through the monotonous daily grind, he decides to check out life on the other side, New York City. Being that I haven’t seen the movie yet, I can’t tell you how closely the events follow the film. But, based on some in-game interviews of Barry done by a bee reporter, it seems like the game may focus on post-movie life for our buzzing hero.

The gameplay is not complex and it’s pretty easy to get right in and play. While in the hive, Barry has the option of walking, flying or driving. It’s pretty easy to maneuver in each mode and switching between them is also a painless task. Triple-B wanders around the bee city completing various tasks and jobs, collecting honeycombs and interacting with other bees. He can access several areas including his house, the Honex company, an arcade where you can unlock and play in-game video games, a car dealership, etc. Barry will even have the opportunity to purchase his own beehicle, I mean, vehicle.

After he makes his way into the Big Apple, Barry has to defend himself against humans, other insects and various elements of nature. He will also have to perform tasks such as removing pollen from healthy plants and injecting it into flowers that aren’t doing so well. This requires the use of the pollinator and is a pretty easy task. The pollinator will also be used to battle other insects that present a threat to Barry. My personal favorites when in NYC is when you are required to buzz in the face of humans will the sole purpose of agitating them and trying to get them to swat at you. I was also impressed by the Bee Reflex option which, in theory, allows you to move so quickly it appears that time has slowed down. This function lets you dodge rain drops (who knew they could be so deadly?), obstacles and strikes from humans.

Obviously there are more features in the game (a clothing store, street races, photos and wax statues to view in a museum), but the guts revolve around Barry completing tasks in New Hive City and doing the same, while also trying to stay alive, in New York City.

Bee Movie Game is a cute title that has some very enjoyable moments, but it never offers anything exceptional. Of course, it probably offers plenty when it comes to satisfying the younger gamers. So, for adults interested in playing this, do so as a rental. But, if you have little ones, the cartoon nature and non-stop movement of Bee Movie Game should make it worth a purchase.

GAMEPLAY: The game is smooth, although you will encounter an occasional frame-rate issue (but it really doesn’t detract from the game). Controls are easy to use, which is a good thing for the younger crowd. This isn’t the most challenging title you’ll play, but it does offer a relaxing alternative to the high-intensity games (shooters, sports games) that saturate the market. Plus, kids should love it.

GRAPHICS: New Hive City is cartoonish compared to many of the ultra-realistic graphics we see in many of the new games, but it probably wouldn’t be authentic if it wasn’t. It has the look of the movie and, to be fair, that’s what people getting this game will want. Who buys Bee Movie Game and expects to see real bees flying around?

SOUND: Very well done. The soundtrack fits the game and the inclusion of Seinfeld’s voice is huge.

EXTRAS: Races, minigames, and on-line leaderboards add a little to this title, but they won’t make it a “can’t take it out of my console” game.

GRADE: 72%

This game is rated "E" for Everyone (mild cartoon violence) and should be good for even the youngest gamers. I don't recall anything that would be objectionable, although I'm sure some may feel Barry B. Benson shooting other insects with his pollenator is too violent.

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