The iPhone has seen some really fantastic games in 2012, including many that are inspirational and always fun to play. Bee Leader certainly is no different. You assume the role of a bee looking to collect nectar from nearby flowers, then you deposit this into your hive and gather as much honey as possible before sunset.
Players of all ages will be able to enjoy this puzzling animated adventure. The app brings together beautiful graphics, great tunes, and an all-around exciting user experience. Let’s find out more after the break.
The Startup Menus
The menu is designed like a carousel where you can navigate between panels left and right. From the main view, there is a short tutorial on the game if you pan right. As you keep scrolling, you’ll find the different levels you can use from the start.
Each area including the desert, countryside, city heights and island time all have varying degrees of difficulty. You are limited on how much honey must be gathered before the sun goes down or it’s game over. But just starting on the first level is enough to pick up the controls very quickly.
If you need to change the game control settings, just pan over to the left two screens from the main view. You can setup the controls as either joystick, touch or tilt. Also, you can disable or enable connection to Game Center.
Basic Game Mechanics
You start out playing as a lone bee from a small hive. After choosing any of the levels, the game will load you into your hive area. Tap and hold somewhere on the screen and your bee avatar will fly in that direction, accelerating with distance.
You appear just as the sun is rising and must begin to collect nectar found floating in the air. Once you have enough, fly back to the hive and deposit this — over time, you’ll build up honey. Your goal is to gather enough before the sun goes down to complete your level difficulty.
Sometimes, you’ll notice little baby bees hanging around these white orbs of nectar. Bump into them and they’ll join your team, helping to increase the amount of nectar gathered. This strategy helps out when you move into the higher difficulty levels.
One other important piece is the looming danger of threats in the world. Spiders, roosters, thunder clouds and large birds are all examples of predators you’ll run into. These foes will drain your nectar, so do your best to avoid running into them.
I have to mention right away how fun this game feels. It has no major storyline or plot to follow, so replay value is excellent. You can kill a quick 15 minutes in the waiting room many times over with Bee Leader. And it feels like something you learn to play better with time.
The colorful animations are also very attractive. Loading screens, menu items, and all the vector background pieces are a huge factor in the game’s sense of style. The hills are all rounded edges with brilliant gradients lighting the sky. It’s truly a digital masterpiece for your iPhone!
The Many Lively Worlds
When I first launched the game I wasn’t expecting so many choices in worlds to play with. Four doesn’t seem like a lot of choices, but considering this is just an iPhone game, it’s plenty.
There are so many internal objects to make the levels feel like a cartoon mimic of the real world. Aside from hurtful enemies, you also have neutral objects such as windmills, barrels and construction girders. The backgrounds also match up with similar landscapes and they look beautiful on a Retina display.
It would be cool to see even more levels released if the game will be getting updates. This is the type of game where you could even monetize in-app purchases through exotic levels. Flightless, the studio developers, have done an excellent job on their past games, so I would expect the same quality here.
Some Messy Controls
I will admit, when I first started playing, the controls were very difficult to work with. It took a couple tries going through the levels to actually understand what the goal was. I think the intro FAQ did explain things pretty well, but it was strange playing it for the first time.
I would only suggest to the developers adding some type of introductory tutorial level. Then users could go through a mini-world and understand the purpose of gathering the nectar then bringing it back. Also, it would be a chance to nail down your skill at the controls.
By default, the game is setup with touch-based maneuvering where you tap on the screen and your bee follows the line. But when you are closer on the ground, your bee moves much slower than way up in the air. And this situation gets even more frustrating when attempting the tilt-based controls — for me, anyways.
Other than this small complaint, I can’t say much else is wrong with the app. Bee Leader does have some really cool features and the graphics are simply outstanding. These controls do not make the game unplayable, but rather you’ll need to spend some extra time getting accustomed to the differences.
If you are considering downloading Bee Leader, I would definitely recommend it. The game isn’t very expensive and does offer a unique experience on your phone. The controls may be confusing at first, but within even an hour of playing you can master them. Overall, it’s a really fun game which offers a fun dynamic without the steep learning curve.