Anyone too far over the age of 10 probably won't get much out of Bee Movie Game, but the younger children in your household just may delight in its sweet flavor. The gameplay isn't complicated. In fact, it's usually downright simple. However, the various missions and minigames offer plenty of different things to do, while the cheerful presentation and humor go a long way toward making every minute spent with the game enjoyable.
In this sandbox-style game, players take control of a honeybee named Barry B. Benson--voiced by Jerry Seinfeld--and interact with the people and places of New Hive City while completing missions based on scenes from the movie. In the city, you can take various jobs, goof around with stand-alone arcade games, and collect new outfits and cars to doll Barry up in. Outside the city, you'll embark on missions that involve pollinating flowers, navigating torrential rain showers, terrorizing humans, and trading stinger fire in airborne battles with enemy wasps.
Bee Movie Game recaps the movie while also letting players explore the locations and jobs contained in New Hive City.
Of course, honeybees don't like to walk around. They like to fly! That's the key difference between the Bee Movie Game and other movie-inspired video games. The 21 different missions that take place outside the hive are set in large 3D environments that you fly around in. In some of them, you fly around freely and use Barry's pollen gun to shoot at wasps and to transfer pollen from healthy flowers to those in need of rejuvenation. A Matrix-style bullet time effect lets you slow the action down in order to line up precise shots. It also comes in handy when rain is falling, allowing you to see and dodge individual raindrops. In other missions, Barry follows his flight path automatically, but you have to quickly press the indicated directions and buttons when the prompts appear in order to help him avoid hazards along the way. These interactive Dragon's Lair-style missions depict thrilling flights through traffic-heavy New Hive streets and battles against deranged humans armed with such deadly implements as rolled-up newspapers and shoes.
The missions have to be played in order, at least at first, but you can partake of everything else at your leisure. And there's quite a bit of everything else to waste time with inside the hive. You can drive cars around and take jobs that involve racing, delivering food, or shuttling other bees to various destinations. Driving recklessly in the Crazy Taxi-inspired taxi driver game is a riot. Other job sites around the hive let you participate in minigames that involve fixing cars, collecting honey, pouring honey, and packaging honey. When you're not killing time working, you can visit the arcade and play six simple Bee Movie-inspired games that are eerily reminiscent of classics like Space Invaders, Frogger, and Galaga. In all, there are more than two dozen activities to try, and they all offer multiple challenge levels.
Basically, Bee Movie Game is an age-appropriate take on the Grand Theft Auto formula. Instead of the mean streets of Vice City, players freely wander a colorful replica of New Hive City. You can explore the hive, talk to people, and take jobs at your leisure. In turn, those jobs give you money that you can use to buy clothes for Barry to wear, cars to fill his garage with, and arcade games to play. When you feel like tackling a mission, all you need to do is visit Barry's house to move the story along.
Though clearing the skies of wasps and watching Barry dodge cars is exciting, the missions do start to feel repetitive after a while. They're not terribly challenging, either, since the only major penalty for running out of health or pressing the wrong button during an automatic flight sequence is that you'll have to do a tiny portion of the mission over again. Inside the hive, the jobs and minigames are kind of simplistic. The crane-based honey-gathering game merely entails moving the directional stick to steer the crane and pressing a button to grab the honey capsules. When you're driving a car, the controls let you steer, accelerate, and reverse. The racing challenges add power-ups, such as bee missiles and honey puddles, to the mix. Unfortunately, the CPU opponents are easy to overtake and don't use items very well. On the whole, the game is definitely geared toward younger players who likely won't spend much time with any one single task, and who probably won't mind that the tasks are simple and only occasionally challenging.
Story missions involve aerial combat against wasps and interactive scenes where you press buttons to avoid hazards.