By Quentin H. / March 25th, 2019
Where the Bees Make Honey, a Microsoft ID@Xbox title that was also funded through Kickstarter, is a game that defies what you’d normally expect. Instead of saving the universe as Master Chief or killing off the Templars as the latest Assassin incarnation, you play as a girl named Sunny who finds herself reliving her childhood memories as she comes to terms with the dull and dreadful office job that she now has as an adult.
As the story of Where the Bees Make Honey (solo developed by Brian Wilson and expertly narrated by co-writer Alexandra Duparc) unfolds, I found myself not only transported into a much more ‘sunny’ (pun intended) world of yesteryear with dream-like graphics, I found myself enchanted with the simple puzzles that served to flow well into the story being told across the four different seasons. One of the most interesting parts of all that is that each memory plays differently: one moment I’m controlling an RC vehicle as I pilot it across the house and out onto the lawn, and the next I’m a rabbit hopping around and doing some light platforming. The only real consistency, in fact, is that every so often the game switches back to child-Sunny, who is dressed in her bee costume, as she has to collect pieces of a honeycomb while rotating the world around her (literally) in a puzzle.
My only real issue with Where the Bees Make Honey, to be honest, is there were some control problems during different memories. At the beginning of the game, when I’m controlling adult-Sunny, I found the first-person point-of-view controls were too sensitive and I kept skipping over the items I was supposed to click upon. Also, the rabbit was nigh-unplayable for me. I spoke with the solo developer, Brian Wilson, who assured me that those issues would be fixed in a patch after the game launches On March 26, 2019.
Setting aside those issues, the number one thing that Where the Bees Make Honey did for me, in the midst of tens of thousands of people flooding the Moscone Convention Center in downtown San Francisco, was make me forget about everyone else being there. What was supposed to be only a fifteen-minute demo (the full game was on display at the Indie MEGABOOTH at GDC) turned into a forty-minute play session as I found myself absolutely hooked on Sunny, Ms. Duparc’s narration, and Mr. Wilson’s game mechanics.
Where the Bees Make Honey is simply a delight to play, and one that -if I didn’t check my watch on accident- is a game that I would have tried to play through to the end in one sitting without meaning to do so. This is a video game that takes a serious risk in trying to appeal to people’s childhoods and their most innate memories in order to tell its story…and it works.
I cannot wait for Where the Bees Make Honey tomorrow to come out so I can play it in its entirety.
Are you planning on picking up Where the Bees Make Honey when it releases tomorrow? What season are you the most excited to experience?
Let us know in the comments below!
brian wilsonGDCGDC 2019ID@ID@XboxPlayStation 4Where the bees make honeyWhitethorn DigitalXbox One