It's the game that'll have you screaming "Serenity Now!!!"
In Bee Movie Game for Wii, the main story mode is told in an interview where a Connie Chung-esque journalist (cleverly named Jeannette Chung) questions the main character (voiced by Jerry Seinfeld) about his fantastic adventure. Each level is a flashback in Barry the Bee's tale. So, in keeping with this precedent set by the game, and because it would otherwise be a monotonous pro/con listing of yet another mediocre licensed game for the Wii, I'm going to do this review in a Q & A format. If this is too confusing for you, please click over to page two of the review, where I spell out the score for you in traditional game review-speak. Now then, on with the ludicrous process of interviewing myself and pretending that Connie Chung is doing it.
Connie Chung: Michael, thanks for taking the time to do this interview. I know you're a very busy, very important person.
Michael Flynn: Please. It's the least I could do. If I could have done less, BELIEVE me...
CC: I'm pretty sure you just insulted me. Anyway, you were charged by your NWR superiors with reviewing the Wii game based on the newly-released Bee Movie, correct?
CC: Lovely, give me the setup.
MF: You play as Barry B. Benson, Seinfeld's main character from the animated movie currently cleaning up at the box office. The plot involves Barry's venture into the outside world, where he makes friends and enemies of various humans while investigating their propensity for "stealing" honey from bees. All the while you still live in a hive, where you can run around doing various menial jobs, collecting bee money, and accidentally bumping into things.
CC: Sounds intriguing. Should I buy this game?
MF: Hell no.
CC: Oh. Why not?
MF: Hopefully, you have some self-respect, Connie, so let's start with that. You're a grown woman. The idea of you sitting around waggling the Wii Remote and playing a game clearly intended for children is laughable. And also sad.
CC: Fair enough. But I liked Chibi Robo on the GameCube. Isn't this kind of similar, another game where you're a small creature making things right in a human's world?
MF: Stop the comparisons right there, Chung. Bee Movie couldn't hold Chibi Robo's jock. For starters, just getting around the game world in Bee Movie is a laborious exercise in frustration and sadness. As you make your way through the adventure, you are basically guided and forced into a series of boring mini-games and levels involving the collection of honey, the pollination of flowers, the dog fighting of wasps, and the annoyance of the human species. Flight controls are touchy yet still imprecise. There's no option for inverting the Y-axis, so if you've ever played any other flying game with that setup, you're doomed. Or rather, you would be doomed if there was any level of difficulty to Bee Movie. Which there is not. Some of the levels are almost fun. Mostly you spend your time fighting the game to do the thing you're supposed to be doing, which wasn't that fun a thing to begin with.
CC: Sounds like you're not that big a fan of the gameplay. What about the graphics?
MF: Once upon a time, Connie Chung, you were considered moderately attractive. That time has passed. It's the same with this game; had it come out five years ago we could maybe call it colorful and full of cute details. In today's world, it falls somewhere on the spectrum of graphical greatness between bland and mildly repulsive. It is in 480p and widescreen, which is nice. But, thankfully, we've finally reached a point where pretty much all Wii games do that, so... not good enough.
CC: Ouch. Does the audio fare any better?
MF: I'm happy to say that it does. The music is generally great, fully orchestrated in some spots and always heightening the immersion of that particular moment. The voiceover work by everybody is also well done, especially Seinfeld. The material isn't always great, but he delivers punch lines with the exact same inflection as he did on his sitcom, so you sometimes find yourself laughing out of habit if nothing else. He's a funny guy.
CC: He sure is. I spent a weekend in the Cayman Islands with Jerry in 1992, it was--
MF: Please stop talking.
CC: I'll just say he's a very affectionate--
MF: Please stop.
CC: Anyway, is there a multiplayer component to Bee Movie Game?
MF: Let me guess-- when he's not crushing lives on his daytime talk show, you and husband Maury Povich like to get out the bean bag chairs and do a little gaming?
CC: The couple that plays together stays together, Michael.
MF: Not the couple that plays Bee Movie together, Connie. There are some hastily thrown together mini-games that don't do anything particularly well, be it a shooting gallery or racing. The couple that plays Bee Movie together gets frustrated, angry, and disappointed. They take it out on each other. She starts acting distant and going out with her friends more. Pretty soon, the relationship is over.
CC: So there's not much added value in the multiplayer. Is the story mode a lengthy quest at least?
MF: If you do everything in it, it could take you upwards of eight-to-ten hours to complete.
MF: Yeah, I know. I haven't even talked about how buggy the game is, or how there are levels missing that exist in other versions of the game, or the repetitive sounds Barry makes when taking damage...
CC: Well it sounds like you're not too pleased with Bee Movie Game. Is there any scenario in which you would recommend someone purchase it?
MF: Hmm. If you need to distract a rich kid for thirty seconds while you rummage through his backpack for money. If you're a nurse caring for an incontinent who is captivated by the color yellow. Maybe if you're stalking somebody on the development team. In those instances, perhaps a rental is justified. Otherwise, steer clear.
CC: There you have it, folks. Michael, again, thanks for taking the time to talk about Bee Movie Game. Your luminous insights are both educational and thrilling. And I hope you don't mind me also adding that you are an extraordinarily handsome man. You know, I have a place in the Cayman Islands--
MF: Please stop talking.