NooBees is a great little game that’s riddled with bugs (and not the good kind)

Another business simulation game has come to Facebook with the pint-sized title of NooBees. A cute and cartoonish game centered around creating a thriving bee colony, it comes with many of the staples of the genre. But with each standard, it tries to introduce something newer and more interesting. Nevertheless, this new application is not without its growing pains. Much of the game is riddled with bugs of every shape and size.

With its loosely presented premise, players are charged with trying to discover why bees (called “NooBees”) of the Queen’s colony are vanishing. That said, the story is quickly swept aside after the initial tutorial sequence, leaving players to create their own primary objective. Since NooBees is a business sim, that means building up a successful virtual space complete with workers, income, and the expectant decorative element.

Since users are dealing with bees, they are granted a pair of workers – with more earned automatically as they level up – that will harvest nectar from player-planted flowers. From here they ferry the nectar to placed factories that then convert it into spendable coins. For this process, players must manage both the health of the flowers and the bees themselves. For the former, flowers will wilt over time and must be watered in order to become functional again. As for the bees, they will work for a period of time until they become exhausted. When this occurs, they must be fed, with the quality (and cost) of the food increasing the amount of time they can work for.

As money is earned, new decorations can be bought to stylize a space’s aesthetic. Expectantly, the d├ęcor unlocks as one levels up with the more fanciful stuff at higher levels (including the commonly used “Asian theme”). Moreover, since players are dealing with bees, it’s all typically king-sized renditions of everyday items such as a lit match stick or a cup of ramen noodles. Interesting though it may sound, it is all a bit static and flat, with little animated beyond the NooBees themselves.

NooBees

Where NooBees begins to stand out a bit is when players level up and unlock new features. These include a boutique, a lab, and a nursery. The first is the most simplistic (but still a nice touch) and consists of buying outfits and costumes for one’s army of workers. The latter two, however, are far more interesting and play greatly into the social aspect of the game.

Between these two features, users can actually genetically engineer new flowers and grow them by consuming two pre-existing ones. Not only do these flowers offer new aesthetics, but each one appears to have different levels of quality such as how long until they require watering or (presumably) how much nectar can be harvested from them. What’s more interesting, though, is that these can be traded amongst friends as well. Also on the social front is the standard visitation of friends, but it is here where some of the major bugs begin to reveal themselves.

NooBees

As a perk, players can visit the spaces of other random users playing NooBees. Here’s the funny part though: Upon visiting a “neighbor,” players earn 500 coins as a daily bonus. However, this can currently be done for all new players someone visits, allowing new users to earn thousands of coins in only a minute or two. Likely this isn’t something that was intended. In addition to this, NooBees loads appallingly slow with the first initialization taking a few minutes. There are also several minor bugs too such as having to click multiple times to water a flower, decoration placement not saving after the editing mode is exited, and weird syncing issues where bees will dart around the screen at sonic speeds.

All the problems are a shame, too, as NooBees really does have a bit of promise. The business simulation aspect of it is a bit trite, but the ability to splice new plants and trade them is a fantastic social mechanic that is not too commonly used. Sadly, the game’s visual, while cute, lac excitement, and the technical issues just can’t be looked past. Nevertheless, that latter will almost certainly be remedied in the coming future. Until then though, NooBees will have to sit tight with a lower rating for the time being.