• Mike

No Honey Here: Where The Bees Make Honey Review (Xbox One)

SPICY ALERT: Read at own risk!

I just don't respect my own time, and sometimes we all make bad choices.

Some people say that the modern person does not understand modern art. Most modern art pieces exist to make a statement of some kind, not through the piece itself, but through the two sentence essay posted next to it in the gallery. Now, imagine for an instant, that a pretentious photography student decided one day to make a game -- well, you don't have to because Where The Bees Make Honey is the gaming equivalent of modern art. It is said to tell the tale of childhood through the eyes of an adult. Its visuals may be wonderfully crafted (at times), but the content is about as deep as a dried up puddle on a hot Texas summer day.

Ladies and gentlemen, I have played this game from start to finish, and I STILL don't know where the bees make honey, or if there ever was any.

Story (...I think)

The game starts you off as a young woman working in her parents' call center. She is the last person at work, staying late for unknown reasons. As she wanders the halls of the office, she starts to reminicse about her childhood, and her memories are colored by the imaginary adventures she had back then. As you play, the game the character narrates her feelings as the events unfold. However, the story is lost and so disjointed that everything quickly becomes meaningless. One moment you're playing as a realistic woman, the next you're a cartoon-looking child, and then you're a mother bunny looking for a child bunny...

And don't even ask about the RC truck part.

Perhaps it all comes together to create a grand narrative I didn't perceive, and all the photos of the developer cutting between scenes does nothing to help tie the game together. In the end, the game's story achieves the same effect as it does for all modern art pieces: a meaningless fluff piece that accomplishes nothing and brings you no closer to understanding the work in front of you.

Gameplay, or One Idea Too Many

This game suffers from a strange problem. At first you play as an adult woman in first person, and you start to think that this will be some sort of walking simulator with the smallest amount of interaction. Before the idea settles with you, you are playing a third-person side-scrolling game, playing as a cartoon child in an explorer's costume.

After that it turns into a puzzle game where you rotate the world around you to collect honey combs, then you're a bunny rabbit running through a field, then you're driving an RC truck! There are way too many game modes, and the game tries to shove them all into one product under the guise of childlike wonder. The only sections of this game that actually felt like a game was the puzzle sections, and those were also the only sections where the controls felt good. Most of the time they were all just so stiff and cumbersome to work with (here's looking at you, bunny rabbit).

If the game was mostly the puzzle sections with the story sprinkled on top, it would have been on the right track. I think, in the end, the developer had no faith in what he was making and started to throw things at it, seeing what could stick. If anything, the most functional element involved in this game is his marketing.

Graphics, or a Disjointedly Beautiful Mess

This is an interesting thing to talk about, since I come from a game development background. There is absolutely no artistic cohesion from start to finish. Different sections of the game look like they belong in different games. Take the start of the game for example: the entire office scene looks like it was constructed with common Unreal Engine assets, with no discernible style, and this is followed up with some highly stylized sections of platforming using a cartoon-like avatar. To be positive, his camera shots and angles are amazing. When it comes to cinematography, the game can be outstanding. There are plenty of sections where he uses edited photos, giving it that art collage vibe. Sometimes that's cool, especially in his overall presentation.

But games are meant to be played; they are an interactive media where the player romps around in a virtual world, completing tasks or trudging through a quest. After a while, the art slide show loses its flair and just becomes annoying. The developer clearly has talent in the visual medium, no denying that. However, this project simply lacked focus and definitely needed a nay-sayer to chime in once in a while to help him keep his mind on whatever vision he had. As of now everything is too artistically disconnected to work, but there IS talent here.

Conclusion (...no)

Overall, this was clearly someone's first attempt at a video game. But, to say anything, this dude stuck to it and released it into the world. The man knows how to sell himself, and despite having a 5/10 on Steam and me never wanting to touch this frustrating pretentious program ever again, it's nice to see that this man is working on another piece for the world to enjoy. He clearly found his niche in the muddy waters of the gaming scene, and I wish him the best.

But I'm still deleting this thing from my Xbox post-haste.

Choose your fate and buy it on Xbox One for $9.99 (or get it on sale, like we did). Or don't.

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