We're hearing more and more about how bees need to have their declining numbers bolstered, but here's one bumbler that deserves to be smashed.
Jetbee - Ready, Set … GO! is a vertical bee-racing game that takes a lot of inspiration from the Mario Kart series, but without small things like balance, fairness, and the ability to see where the heck you're going.
Jetbee stars Bimmy, a pudgy little bee with an adorable face. Bimmy's grandfather dreams about his grandson becoming a racer, and Bimmy is happy to oblige.
Using a jetpack for propulsion, you have to compete in several cups against other stern-looking bees. When the starting gun goes off, all the racers fly upwards through courses littered with enemies, traps, and even lights that blink out occasionally.
Not everything in Jetbee exists to hinder your progress, however. Each level has flowers scattered here and there, and picking up those flowers is vital to your success. Some instantly refill the jetpack's fuel. Some extend the jetpack's fuel bar. Others increase your overall speed, or give you a turbo boost.
You can also pick up stars that grant a random power-up. You might become invincible with the help of a beehive, or find a few webs to throw on competing racers. You might even find a spider to drop on your rivals' heads, which is simultaneously horrible and awesome.
Dirty, cheating bugs
Jetbee's basic concept is solid. There's nothing wrong with the idea of a vertically-scrolling Mario Kart-style racing game that lets you throw spiders at your enemies. The problem is, Jetbee is poorly put-together.
The controls are decent, and you're offered a multitude of options if the default settings don't suit you. But the game's graphics are large and scroll quickly, making it very difficult to tell what kind of hazards are coming at you.
Worse, the myriad course hazards don't have an impact on anyone except Bimmy. Your opponents can fly through barriers and propellers, and the hostile insect life on each course doesn't trouble them.
Opponents can also utilise power-ups, so expect to be bodychecked into oblivion at least once when one of the darlings picks up an invincibility-granting beehive.
Bimmy appears to be the only bee restricted by his jetpack, too. If you don't pick up a steady supply of replenishing flowers, or if you don't land to rest when you hit empty, Bimmy explodes.
Oh, and guess which game runs on a life system that forces you to wait for refills unless you want to cough up a lot of in-game dosh for an instant recharge? This one.
It's sad to have to dump on Jetbee. It's fuelled by a simple but intriguing concept and illustrated with some of the cutest graphics to hit an iOS game in recent memory.
Unfortunately, there's nothing cute about the string of vile words that will pour from your mouth when you attempt to get ahead in this unpleasant, sticky game.