One of the weirdest things that I have played on my Xbox console, Where the Bees make Honey is a game that tries to tell a story about childhood memories with whimsical gameplay elements borrowed from many different genres. Developer Brian Wilson and publisher Wakefield Interactive are surely making a jump into the deep with this kind of experience on consoles, and I want to really encourage other developers for doing the same thing. While this won’t be a big seller on the Xbox store I’m still sure that quite a few gamers will enjoy playing these kind of games. Whenever a game manages to make me really feel something, I consider it a rare accomplishment! So I hope that many LifeisXbox readers will read my review and decide to take the risk to buy it, regardlessly that it might not be something for them.
- Strange: Regularly I was looking at the screen wondering what the hell was happening, in no means is this meant negative because I loved the mysterious and weird things that were going on. Transforming into a rabbit, seeing abstract images and level transformations and so on. It hardly makes sense in your head but after some time everything comes together and you see the red wire that connects it all.
- Cute visuals: The dreamy visuals change frequently from a first person to incredibly detailed colorful small worlds in a third person view (puzzle levels) or to real life cutscenes. The puzzle parts really stand out here, with a similar style that The Gardens Between used. The only exception is the car level, but I explain that later on.
- Voice acting: I tried looking up the name (will edit later when I found it) but the story is told by a fantastic voice actress that perfectly knows when to place enough emotion to make it even more exciting or heartbreaking. A fine example is the rabbit level, searching for your girl (or baby rabbit) is a really memorable part of the game for many reasons, one of them the voice acting.
- Narrative: Thinking back to your childhood as an adult is something we all do, it defines us and set the foundations of what kind of person you are. This game uses that nostalgic feeling to bring the player in some typical child moments when you still had enough imagination to escape the real world. This is shown exceptionally well in the game with Sunny, the playable character at her workplace. I think everyone, at some point, will feel tired or bored with a “forced” daily work task. Enough is enough and that exact moment when Sunny seems to break is what Where the Bees make Honey is about, the narrative is perfectly crafted and sucked me right in. Making me even question my own life and work situation, so for that accomplishment, the developer deserves nothing but praise.
- Controls: Controls aren’t optimized for a console so it takes some time before you get used to controlling Sunny, the speed of walking around in
firstperson is really high so luckily you are alone at work or else you might expect a boss visit because coworkers thought you were drunk. Bumping against every office and object… some of the gameplay segments, for example, the rabbit or car use a clumsy way of moving around. I have to be honest and wonder if this was done on purpose… as a child things aren’t easy either so it is perfectly possible that the developer wanted to break the control habit. I do have to say that I didn’t really mind it so nothing game breaking or frustrating, except that thing from nightmares… the car level. (but again, more on that later)
- Car level: There is one particular level in Where the Bees make Honey that was really frustrating and simply not fun to play. You take control of a car and have to drive “somewhere” The first issue, it was hard to see where you had to go. Second issue: I constantly crashed my car because of the bad physics and awkward controls. This is a rather short game and unfortunately, this level was a big part of the overall experience. A final issue was that the visuals took a weird turn here, maybe I’m missing a reason but it looked unfinished and was plagued by some big visual pop up.
- Short: It is like they say the elephant in the room, any game shorter than a few hours is a shame and Where the Bees make Honey only took me around 40 minutes. You (luckily) have a pretty good reason to replay the game again but there is no going around the fact that this is a very short experience. I wanted to play more, especially more of those original and fun to play perspective puzzles.
- No subtitles?! Something that really bothered me was that there isn’t an option to show subtitles. I don’t need translation subtitles but just what the voice actors are saying… really hoping that this is something they can patch in because you don’t always, for multiple reasons understand what someone said.
★ Score: 73%
I will be the first to admit that Where the Bees Make Honey isn’t something that will be enjoyed by everyone and despite being short and having some shortcomings I had a really good time with it. More importantly, it made me feel something real. Something that rarely happens with a videogame.
Developer: Wakefield Interactive Publisher: Whitethorn Digital
Played on: Xbox One X Also available on:
Time to beat: Story: around an hour | All endings: shorter than two hours
Achievement difficulty for 1000 Gamerscore: Very easy, you will get the 1000 Gamerscore by finishing the game twice and select the two different endings.
Perfect for: Gamers that want something new, abstract art lovers, those who want to play as a rabbit.
Xbox Game Store link: Click here