Bees – they’re really not as organized as you might think. While we can surely classify bees as one of the most hardworking insect species, they still have their own problems when it comes to making their hives as efficient as possible – at least in Beebo Deluxe, where ordinary worker bees are reliant on the services of a "Beeficiency Expert" for hire as he organizes each hive for maximum honey-producing profit.
In this game, you take the name of Mr. Beebo, the best Beeficiency Expert the world has ever known. You are hired by a businessman (or businessbee) named Buzzleworth to manage his entire network of rich honey combs, mainly because of your great reputation of getting the job done perfectly and always on time. And since even the dictionary backs up this claim, your services don’t come cheap either.
The objective of the game’s 64 levels is fairly simple: You just have to fill up the honey meters by matching 3 or more same-colored honey drops by placing them adjacent to each other on free honeycombs. Each level interface is divided into 2 parts – the top comb and the bottom comb. Worker bees will be continuously filling up the top comb with honey drops, and your role is to take three of those honey drops to the bottom comb and make same-color matches to win. There is actually no time limit, but when the top comb fills up, this will trigger the time interface to appear and count down until you manage to pick up some of those honey drops.
Basically, you just want to finish each level before having your timer run out. But if you’re aiming for hardcore gaming status, you can also unlock a bonus stage by collecting all six gems within the six levels of each location. You can collect gems by clearing all the colored honey combs in each level. To do this, you have to pop honey drops of the same color as the honey comb, and as an end result, the cleared cells will wax over and cannot be used until you use a power-up to clear them back to being empty.
The "waxing" effect opens up a pretty challenging feature to the game since it will become really easy to fill up the bottom comb with unnecessary honey drops once you have most of your combs wax over. Once your bottom comb is filled up, you have no where to put those honey drops from the upper comb unless you throw them in the blue funnel. But eventually, throwing away honey drops will lower down your honey meter too, and there will be no way out a level unless by letting time run out and start over the same stage.
There are six regular stages for each location as well as an additional mini-game and an unlockable bonus stage, thus bringing up a total of eight stages if you’re good enough a player. Mini-games are presented as a fourth stage for each location and serve as a nice little break from all the frantic honey-dropping gameplay. Mini-games are either a pairing game or a "pipe" game where you have to connect two barrels with pipes in order to build a non-interrupted way for honey to flow between them. It’s really nice to have these mini-games added to the whole Beebo Deluxe experience, but most of them are just too short-lived, very easy to play, and giving the impression of being too lax in comparison to the actual puzzle match-three game.
The game features some nifty power-ups too that are triggered by matching specific objects in groups of three. Examples include the "music box" that slows down the movement of collector bees, the "pink donut" that brings up a "wild card" honey drop capable of matching with any honey color, and my personal favorite – "froggy", the voracious frog power-up that can eat up a whole row of cells.
Aside from power-ups, Beebo’s insect friends can also come help you out after summoning them by matching jelly donuts. Each insect friend is specific on a certain location and has their own special power very useful for that particular set of stages. For example, Dotty the Ladybug in the Wild Wild West location can change random honey drop colors to red. This is very useful since most of the colored cells in this location are colored red too, definitely helping you out if you’re on a quest to unlock the coveted bonus stage.
After all the work done, Beebo spends time furnishing his own bee hive too. In the "BeeBuy" interface, you get to spend all of your hard-earned money in buying Beebo some appliances, furniture and decorations to prop up his empty crib. Finishing each location also awards you with furniture, and it’s up to you whether you sell the awarded items or keep them as another one of Beebo’s home decor before you move on to the next destination of your journey.
All in all, Beebo Deluxe is really one straightforward game, and although the presentation is nice, the actual gameplay experience can get pretty tiring as it can start to seem like you’re playing through the same interface over and over again. This doesn’t mean that the game lacks challenge though, because in my opinion, challenge is actually Beebo Deluxe’s main feature. Honestly, I just found it too hard to both fill the honey meter and wax over the colored combs all at the same time in each level. And the game can get pretty frustrating too since it’s hard to rebound once you’ve made mistakes in the honey drop placements.
On the positive side, you can always take a break from the story mode anytime and just enjoy Beebo Deluxe‘s "Endless Play" feature. Also, the purchase of the game goes towards helping the Pollinator Partnership charity in the research of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), a misunderstood phenomenon where bee colonies throughout the world are disappearing.
So, if you’re concerned about the environment or just plain like bees, this game is definitely worth a try because there’s really no other game more "bee" related than what Beebo Deluxe has to offer environmentalists and casual gamers alike.