On the occasion of the release of the eponymous film on the screens, Vicarious Vision offers DS owners the opportunity to embody a bee that is more adventurous than industrious, whose certain penchant for freedom, typically American, will lead her to bring to light the most terrible of secrets. The lack of ambition of this title, on the other hand, is not one: quickly thought out, quickly developed, quickly put on the shelves, Bee Movie The Game has enough to spin the drone.
Barry B. Benson is a young bee, freshly graduated, but who refuses to spend the rest of her life working at Honex, the honey factory. Barry will escape this unique prospect of the future by joining the squadron of the Apollons of Pollen, which will allow him to realize his dream: to discover the outside world. The Apollos of Pollen are overtrained bees who, armed with their pollinator, have the mission of flying to the flowery parks of Manhattan to harvest the precious substance. But in order to prove himself capable of facing the dangers of the outside world, Barry will first have to practice in three areas: speed, endurance and strength. The speed of course represents Barry’s speed in flight. Stamina affects how high he can rise in the air, but also his health points. As for strength, it represents his ability to lift objects. Barry can increase these three characteristics with specialized trainers, but at the cost of a certain number of pollen balls, the current currency in bees.
Each of these workouts takes the form of a sketchy mini-game that uses the stylus. Touching bouncing colored balls, replaying predetermined shapes that appear on the screen, sliding a ball from goal to goal while avoiding obstacles… Nothing very exciting, and what’s more, it has little to do with the game himself. You will unfortunately find this same type of mini-games without interest later during the clashes against the boss. Apart from these training trials, there is not much to do in the hive where Barry begins his adventure. There are quite a few locals to talk to, who may occasionally entrust him with a mission or two; or a few cars to smash to collect some pollen. But nothing substantial. As soon as he feels ready, Barry can join the Apollon du Pollen take-off platform to make his first excursion outside the hive.
Each of these rather long levels takes the form of a micro-universe to explore freely: the park, the grocery store, the honey factory… Barry meets a whole bunch of insectoid characters there (cockroach, ladybird, butterfly …) who for the most part have missions to entrust to him. Some are secondary missions, others allow the scenario to progress. In the event that Barry’s abilities are insufficient for a given mission, he has the possibility of returning to the hive to train: he does not lose the benefit of the missions already accomplished, and that is a good thing. Said missions consist mostly of bringing back objects, completing courses in limited time, or even saving characters from certain death. To do this, Barry has a range of movements, available only when he is moving in the air: he can pick up speed and rise (to avoid obstacles or traps), rush into objects or enemies (to knock them out), or even carry objects or characters. All without the stylus since it is only used in mini-games.
The representation chosen by the developers is a 3D with an aerial view coupled with a slight perspective. It generally fulfills its role well, despite the difficulty we have in identifying certain passages in the levels full of blind spots such as the grocery store or the honey factory. The 3D engine is decent, but the models are minimalistic and the color scheme just too dull for a game aimed at a young gamer audience. In addition, if the pixelation is not too pronounced, it is still difficult to identify certain objects on the ground when Barry is in the air. The soundscape is quite unremarkable despite the catchy musical themes. This lack of visual and sound richness would be less embarrassing if it weren’t also accompanied by a lack of content. Barry’s adventure is not uninteresting, but the gameplay is rather boring and repetitive, and the whole thing lacks dynamism. We regret in particular that the most striking scenes of the film (the tennis match, the journey through town in the rain) were not the subject of a game phase and are only mentioned during the intermediate scenes. In the ray of regrets, once the characteristics of Barry mounted to their maximum and the missions completed, not the least small multiplayer mode to put in their mouths! We can therefore fear a legitimate lack of interest in this title, even among the youngest players.
The 3D engine ensures the union minimum: the modeling of the characters is more than average, and the graphics are dull and stripped.
The grip is immediate and we feel a certain pleasure to fly Barry through the levels, even if it is sometimes difficult to identify the passages that he can borrow.
No multiplayer mode supports the limited content of this title with a more than average lifespan: 5 or 6 hours are enough to see the end of it.
The musical themes are catchy, but the sound effects are conspicuous by their absence: what about the buzzing of the bees in the hive or the noise of the machines in the honey factory?
We can not say that it flies very high (ha ha). But this story of a bee, which refuses its Stakhanovite condition and wants to free its people from the yoke of humans, manages to make us laugh. Which is not that bad.
Few film adaptations have succeeded on the DS game. Bee Movie The Game is no exception to the rule: a title lacking in ambition, with the formatted flavor of an industrial honeypot, it will struggle to seduce even the youngest.
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