Bee Movie Game

Review

posted 11/20/2007 by Cyril Lachel
other articles by Cyril Lachel
One Page Platforms: 360
Unfortunately the variety of missions isn't as diverse as you might want; it won't take long before you realize that the same game mechanics are used from level to level, only each one getting slightly more difficult. Thankfully these gameplay mechanics are (for the most part) fun to play. All of the basic gameplay goals are introduced fairly early in the game, so expect the first level or two to act a lot like a tutorial mission. From there you'll have all the information you need and will be off on a fairly interesting adventure that will take you from one part of New York City to another.

The first type of level you are introduced to is a flying level where you are stuck on a rail and doing your best to dodge all of the obstacles in your path. The trick to these levels is that you are racing through the city at breakneck speed and making sure not to smack right into a car, tree, human or anything else that gets in your way. To do this you have to follow the giant arrows on the screen, in a lot of ways these levels feel like a slightly more interactive version of the popular Laserdisc game, Dragon's Lair. Thankfully these levels are short, so you never come away feeling like you're just watching a movie and occasionally pushing a button or moving in a direction. In fact, I would argue that these levels are among the most exciting, if only because the game does an excellent job of conveying the speed and danger. While it's nothing more than an animated sequence, these on-rail areas are full of high energy and a lot of fun to play.

Another type of level has you flying around an enclosed world completely tasks and pollinating flowers. This is by far the most prolific type of game in the story mode, so expect to spend a lot of time getting up close and personal with the flowers. The good news is that as the story progresses you'll be asked to do more and more tasks, such as taking photographs, listening in to conversations and even breaking into a secure office building.

On top of the different tasks, sometimes these free-roaming areas have a few variations that completely change how you play them. For example, there are a few levels where you'll have to put up with the rain. Since you're a tiny little bee, getting hit with a raindrop can be hazardous to your health, so you'll need to hide from the rain (be it under cover, under somebody's umbrella, etc.) and then time your moves carefully. To make these missions easier you will be able to slow down time and get sucked into wind currents, both which allow you to easily avoid the dangerous water droplets.

In yet another type of game you will be forced to deal with humans who are looking to bat you away, smash you or destroy you in any way possible. When you are put up against a human you will go into a strange mini-game where you have to fly around the person's face and then avoid the attacks. Thankfully this is easier than it sounds, because the "safe" area is always within reach and the computer warns you that the human is going to attack long before they actually do. Occasionally this type of mission will be included in one of the other levels, not to mention that this human vs. bee mechanic is often the way you fight the game's bosses (including one played by none other than John Goodman).

Another mission you will run into from time to time is the one where you have to protect your hive from attacking insects. At this point the game suddenly turns from an adorable action game, to a pretty hardcore (but still cute) air combat game. While it's nowhere near as deep as Ace Combat 6, these Bee Movie Game levels do a good job of imitating your basic aerial dogfights (only with bees and other insects). Like other air combat games, you can lock on to your enemies and attack, all while avoiding enemy fire by somersaulting and performing all kinds of air-borne acrobatics.

While the levels themselves aren't very long, you may want to go back and play through them after you've beaten the game, if only so that you can collect all of the different items, pollinate all of the flowers and get all of the achievements. If the game was nothing but these story driven levels then you would be looking at a three or four hour experience, but with the addition of the hive and the mini-games the title clocks in at about twice that. Chances are most gamers probably won't want to go back through the levels multiple times (especially if they have already collected all of the achievement points), but young kids may like the experience enough to go back for more.
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