Warning: Exposure to high levels of pollen is hazardous to your health.
The DS version of Bee Movie Game is a completely different game from the console version. Rather than spanning events from the entire movie, the handheld game focuses on Barry’s early training career.
At the start of the game, Barry must attend training school. However, players will quickly find out that before anybody will let Barry progress, he must pay them in pollen, which can be collected throughout the game’s environments. This intro serves as an example for the rest of the game: it’s essentially an endless fetch quest.
Barry begins in New Hive City. He will soon join the squadron and fly to the much larger New York City, but first he must prove himself through basic training with the Pollen Jocks before he can explore the world. Even before he is even allowed to complete the training, he must collect pollen as payment. Barry’s training involves completing several touch-based mini-games, nearly the only touch component of the title. These touch games involve tapping or dragging objects as quickly as possible, but none ever provide any actual challenge. They are intended to prepare players for boss battles, which include similar gameplay. In the rest of the game, the touch screen is useless, even for menus, and the game reverts to standard D-pad control.
Once in New York City, Barry must avoid all sorts of obstacles like dogs and sprinklers. Barry can turn off sprinklers to progress, but players must watch the meter or the giant sprinkler in the sky will begin raining water everywhere. At this point, Barry must fly under a covering and wait for the storm to subside. Talk about slowing the pace of an already slow game.
Hopefully, more work will be done on this title because the game’s camera seems designed to give people motion sickness. Every time a direction is pressed, the camera jerks off-center and then drifts back. Diagonal control does not work well, making the awful camera effect even more noticeable since players must walk along straight paths.
The nearly top-down view also kills the immersion present in the console version of the game. The DS version does not make you feel like you’re living the life of a bee from the first-person sense, though I suppose it does nail the endless pollen collection that real worker bees must endure.
Bee Movie Game fails to use any of the fun concepts of the console version and instead heads off in its own unfortunate direction. Though development isn’t complete, the version I played was a mess that should probably be avoided, much like a bee sting.