You might have noticed that this review looks slightly different to others on VideoGamer.com. That's because we look at games clearly designed for younger gamers in a slightly different way to how we look at the latest FPS, sports game or 100-hour RPG. We'll endeavour to tell you just what you need to know in a clear and concise way so you'll be confident it's the right purchase for whatever your situation.
What is it?
Bee Movie Game of course takes you into the world of Dreamworks' CGI film, Bee Movie, and in doing so it juggles plentiful game styles. From free roaming car diving to pollen collecting mini-games, it has plenty on offer, though most of your time is spent exploring a 3D world, on foot, or using the power of your bee's wings.
With so many game parodies and styles on offer, there are numerous controls and gameplay styles to grasp, but almost all are realised in a way that makes them instinctive and uncomplicated. The camera that captures the action occasionally makes things a little fiddly, and on very rare occasions things are slightly challenging. On the whole though, Bee Movie Game treads a fine line between frustrating difficulty and patronising simplicity, and as a result is perfectly pitched at the young audience it has been made for.
There's a reassuring U rating on the cover thanks to the BBFC, who also handle all film certification. Bee Movie Game certainly deserves that rating. It never nears anything scary, and as violent as it get is when you have to fire pollen at dragonflies with a mysterious predisposition towards suffering from hay fever. Far from being disturbing or encouraging disruptive behaviour, the game is quaint, cute and gentle, and rather picturesque.
The text is never overwhelming or demanding, and none of the adult orientated jokes that will drift over your child's head hide anything that would be difficult or embarrassing to explain to a youngster if they did press the issue.
While the visuals are not especially amazing in terms of technical prowess, they go someway beyond being merely competent, and as the game develops there really are some very attractive moments. Combined with the charming musical score and quick wit, the total package is brilliant to absorb.
Most impressive is that the humour, character and style of the film have made the translation to the game, and at times it is genuinely hilarious, cleverly parodying gaming stereotypes and clichés from Dreamworks and Pixar movies. The script is surprisingly well written, and some truly brilliant QTE sections really do give a feel for being in a scene from the recent movie.
Much of the movie's Hollywood voice cast returns for the video game, including Jerry Seinfeld as Barry Bee. Sadly it appears as though Vanessa, voiced by Renee Zellweger in the movie, is voiced by a sound-alike in the game.
Anything for adults?
The aforementioned script and humour definitely have the substance to slap a smile across adult faces, but the gameplay might eventually lack the intricacy and depth to keep them hooked as it is sometimes slightly repetitive. Still, as a piece of carefree escapism there's definitely something there for the older fan of kids' CGI movies.
Quite surprisingly, Bee Movie Game really is quite good. Compared to so many cinematic tie-ins, it is well considered, has occasional moments of originality, and definitely seems to avoid relying on its license to make up for bad design. Out of all the Pixar and Dreamworks games, it is absolutely among one of the best, and would make for a brilliant Christmas present if you're looking to satisfy the kids over the festive season.