Developer: StingLab Limited
Price: $0.99 Download on the App Store
Whether it’s birds or bees, launching stuff from catapults is plain fun and with Stingy Bees for iPhone a new sort of catapult challenge arises. Stingy Bees is a physics-based puzzle with the specific goal of hitting individual targets and freeing captive bee friends.
The bee-eating plants, resembling Venus flytraps and known appropriately as Beeaters, are the target and if you hit one, you free another bee to use as ammunition. Hit all the plants to complete a level, but if you miss, you’ll have to start over (unless you’ve got a bee surplus). Along with completing each level, collecting pollen along the way helps free up future levels where new designs and challenges await.
Stingy Bees is a fun concept in terms of design. There’s an arcade element mixed with a bit of logic and each level is designed differently to keep the challenge fresh. At times it can be frustrating because Stingy Bees requires more precision than just general mass destruction, but fortunately there’s a built-in trajectory guide that takes some of the guesswork out of aiming. Every level is both colorful and unique and new bees with special abilities are introduced periodically to shake things up.
Though the concept itself is pretty good, the execution in Stingy Bees actually does sting a bit. In the beginning there’s a pretty steep learning curve in terms of control. There are two different methods of controlling the bee launch — both of which have their pros and cons — and it might have been preferable to have a better developed single control method than having two semi-acceptable options. Whether you choose the release-to-launch or tap-to-launch control method, the controls themselves are a bit sensitive making it necessary to develop a knack for it by simply plodding along in slight frustration — especially if you elect to skip the beginning tutorial.
Sensitive controls aside, there are many unique elements to the overall and individual level design of Stingy Bees. Implementing physics into the game makes way for the use of the surrounding landscape and requires a bit of thought beyond a simple launch and destroy objective. The challenge ante is upped again by the fact that many levels leave no room for misses so success is imperative to continuation. Visually, Stingy Bees is pleasant and offers not just different levels, but different worlds as well.
Stingy Bees has more positives than negatives and with time, starts to give off a slightly addictive appeal. Overall, it’s a solid, well-rounded mobile game with a tactile premise and a theme that simply works. To try it before you buy, download the free version of Stingy Bees, but keep in mind the paid version offers quite a bit of added levels — plenty, in fact, to give value and justify the purchase.