Bee Leader iPad Review
Birds may dominate mobile gaming (most notably the angry ones), but bees have managed to buzz their way to the App Store in great numbers. Igloo Games kicked things off with the delightful Dizzy Bee in 2008, and since that time, we've seen quite a few titles starring those honey-making insects, including Chillingo's Beeing. Now there's Bee Leader from Flightless Limited, a challenging, fun and readily-accessible title that ranks right up there with the best iPhone and iPad have to offer.
The premise, like so many iOS games, is simple to digest. As a cute little bee, you must explore four unique environments collecting nectar and turning it into honey before the sun sets. This involves gathering the stuff from flowers and dandelion seed heads suspended in mid-air. At the same time, you'll want to collect tiny bee buddies that help produce more nectar, which you'll then bring to the hive; once the sun goes down, the bee automatically goes there, and your score gets tallied.
Of course, achieving the title of honey-making master won't be easy, no thanks to the myriad of enemies populating each level. Head to the desert, and you'll contend with rattlesnakes and buzzards. Visit the tropical island environment, and beware of sharks and active volcanoes. Those are but a sampling of hazards that'll make bee life difficult, and you should also keep an eye out for spiders, toxic liquid and thunder clouds. None of these things kill the bee(s), necessarily, but they will sap away precious nectar, thus impacting your overall performance.
On the plus side, you'll never wrestle with the controls. The developers did a marvelous job creating three unique control methods, such as touch anywhere, a virtual joystick and multiple variations of tilting (looking down at the iOS device, holding it up), which features a slight learning curve you'll move past in no time.
What's more, the simplistic 2D visuals give Bee Leader its own unique style. Each world features distinct scenery, from the condos and cranes in the big city to the country's rolling plains. Then, the designers list recent accomplishments using noninvasive text, displaying nectar gained/lost and your current "sucking streak", among other useful bits of info; upon exiting the game, you can view all your stats, like total distance traveled, flowers visited and bee buddies collected.
All told, Bee Leader is quite a welcome surprise, a somewhat relaxing, stylish and fun video game that hopefully offers a small glimpse of bigger things to come, AKA a slew of downloadable levels that further expand this smartly-designed concept. On that note, we hope this "honey" moon phase never ends.
What's Hot: Multiple control types, four distinct environments, addictive honey-making play, detailed stat tracking, retina display support, remote control via Bluetooth, Game Center leaderboards and achievements.
What's Not: Some pesky enemies seem impossible to avoid, needs more levels.