Sunny is working for a telemarketer company and starts to become stressed as she is working after hours. She falls into a bliss of random memories from her childhood. She adored wearing a yellow bee costume and at one point mentions Halloween didn’t feel any different because she always wore it. It seems targeted at one specific year because the memories are of each season. You do some walking with an endpoint, then finish off the season with a mini puzzle. The total time it will take you to complete it is just over an hour depending on your success with a few levels that are difficult to control. Where The Bees Make Honey is very much nearly a walking sim in my opinion. It’s all about going from point A to point B with almost nothing to do.
Here’s what I liked:
Casual— Sometimes after playing so many games that are difficult or take a lot of time, it’s a nice break to take a walk on the casual side. There’s a lot of variation in what you’re doing in each level. It’s almost like you’re playing a couple of different games in one. Though not specifically fun, at least it’s something different.
Achievements — If you love gaining achievements in as little time as possible, you’ll be delighted to know that that this is one of the easiest completions this year. After completing each section you will be awarded with one. The only downside is having to play twice, but because it’s such a short title, it isn’t that big of a deal. At least there wasn’t any that required you to do speed runs.
Here’s what I didn’t like:
Horrible Controls — From beginning to end, it’s almost a chore to navigate and move your character around the levels which are full of bad design. The levels I’m really not fond of are the one in which you control a rabbit and, in another, a truck. They are, simply put, terrible. It’s nice that there’s so much variety but they were the worst parts of the game. While you’re the rabbit, you’re trying to jump and platform your way around some cliffs but the execution is tedious. Controlling the truck, you’re tasked with collecting honeycombs that are in the air and you must use momentum to jump into them. It’s a bit of a mess. Besides those, the controls of Sunny, the little girl, can be a bit awkward as well. It all feels quite clumsy.
Poor Story— The saving grace could very well have been a deep, thought-provoking story with a message about growing up and wishing you were back in your younger days instead of slaving away at work. Sunny as an adult seems over-dramatic about the whole thing. Sure, she’s stressed, but that’s a normal part of life. She is so obsessed with her younger self (as well as the color yellow), that she keeps all of her memories in her desk. Pictures of a truck she used to have come off as tacky instead of a symbol of her youth. Also, depending on your ending choice, she throws a telephone out of a window after deciding to call it quits. I also don’t enjoy my job, however, I do make income from it and chose to apply to it. She keeps talking about her new future, which may be filling out a report to the police as to why she damaged company property. Hopefully, nobody got hit by the phone on the ground level.
Failed Potential— What seems to be the main premise is lost in the shadows of other random sections of gameplay. The puzzles where you must use the bumpers to turn the world around seem like you could have something to look forward to. In fact, it’s what I actually thought I would be doing the whole time and I was excited to do so. These sections are instead short and sprinkled in. Besides that, they’re actually poorly designed too. I think if there had been lots of them, each getting harder, then maybe this game really could have been something exceptionally entertaining. Instead, it’s a trash can full of crumpled-up ideas. There really are bits I enjoyed. Not many, but the music was pretty great in one scene and I enjoyed trying to avoid what appeared to be zombies on platforms. Yet again, just a short “idea” that never took off or went anywhere.
I would like to conclude this was all pretty much made by one person who had some help with writing and voice acting. If you think about that, then he actually did an extremely good job on his first title and I think we can look forward to him learning from his mistakes and having more time to develop better games. Where The Bees Make Honey just didn’t quite hit home. It tried too many different things and forgot about the core puzzle stages it should have instead put all focus into.
Score: No Appeal
Where the Bees Make Honey was published by Whitehorn Digital and developed by Wakefield Interactive on Xbox One. It was released on March 26, 2019, for $9.99. A copy was provided for review purposes.