APICO – What’s the Buzz on this Easy Going Beekeeping Simulator?

Apico - Key Art

“Where there are bees there are flowers, and wherever there are flowers there is new life and hope.” – Christy Lefteri

Overview

APICO is a relaxing beekeeping simulator about breeding, collecting and conserving bees. The game mixes crafting, resource management and building as players explore a range of lush environments and care for their buzzy little friends.

Developer: TNgineers
Released: 20th May 2022
Price: £14.99 – £15.99

Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux
Available on: Steam, Epic, Humble, itch.io
Engine: GameMaker Studio 2

This game is being reviewed as part of the Indie Game Collective (IGC) showcase.

APICO Screenshot - Nana Beelia

Gameplay

Upon arriving in APICO players are greeted by a host of NPCs, Nana Beelia provides Grandpa’s Guide which serves as an extended tutorial to help players get started on their beekeeping journey! The guide features a series of quests or tasks with explanations to teach players most of the game mechanics. Starting with building a house and crafting tools and advancing to bee collecting and breeding, harvesting materials and selling items. Completing quests will provide a reward in the form of items, often relevant to the job done.

There are plenty of items to craft in the game, ranging from simple wooden tools to advanced apiaries and sawmills. However, some items can only be bought with the local currency, Rubees, which means that having things to sell is essential. Honey, bee pollen and other items harvested from bees are usually saleable.

There is an extensive map with multiple biomes to explore, though getting off the first island will mean buying a boat! There are also over 30 different species of bee to discover, either by finding them or crossbreeding different bees. Once discovered they can be bred further, farmed, or if the player has enough, they can be released into he wild to repopulate lost species.

Grandpa’s Guide will take a number of hours to complete but once the quests dry up APICO is a perfect sandbox experience with more bees to find, farms to expand, a vast world to explore and NPCs to chat and barter with. The game is incredibly relaxing and while players can see time passing in the game, it has no survival aspects or punishment for idling.

APICO Screenshot - Grandpa's Guide

Narrative and Stying

APICO sees the protagonist leave their office job in the big city to pick up where their grandfather left off and start keeping bees again! They move to a peaceful town and soon meet a bunch of jolly residents, all with wonderful bee puns for names such as Barnabee, Beenjamin and Beetrix! This, along with the brief backstories of the NPCs and the interactions the player has with them make up the bulk of the narrative elements in the game.

The 2D, top-down, pixel graphics use a range of slightly muted colours to iterate the charming world of APICO in a slightly retro way. The overall visual style is reminiscent of old Pokémons games or Stardew valley whilst painting its own unique feel through its use of colour and the environments themselves.

The soundtrack plays sporadically and features a mix of tracks that range from relaxing, to upbeat to emotive. The music blends and fades into the gameplay making room for the ambient sound effects such as the gentle tides and birds chirping. The audio is a highlight of the game and the overall effect is calming and immersive.

APICO Screenshot - Setting up Home

Summary

APICO is a very easy going game that will provide players with a lot of stress-free, bee-based fun! It features an extensive tutorial, relaxing and varied sandbox gameplay, a cute retro aesthetic and delightful sound design. This game has enough going on to keep seasoned fans of the genre entertained but is also low pressure and welcoming to newcomers. Overall, APICO was an absolute joy to play and it’s all about bees so of course I highly recommend it!

If you’d like more bee based gaming, take a look at the following reviews:
Keeping Busy with Bee SimulatorBee Gaming for Free with BirdGutHive Time Review – Buzzy Management!

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