Developer: Two Lof Bees
Released: December 2019
Price: Pay what you want
Platforms: Windows, Linux, Mac
Available on: itch
Hive Time is a bee management and base building simulator by Two Lof Bees members Josh “Cheeseness” Bush and Miriam “Mimness” Roser, with music composed by Peter Silk. Based on positive reception from an informal game jam in May of 2019, the developers have continued work on the game until its full completion in December of that year. The developers took inspiration from popular simulation games such as SimCity.
The game lets you manage a beehive’s activity, from pollen gathering to wax and honey production to defending it from wasp attacks, all in a busy yet fun (and unrealistic) way. While you must summon a new bee queen before your current one dies, the game has no definitive goals, allowing you to focus on building the best hive that you can. While Hive Time has a tutorial that explains the mechanics of the game, you will find out that managing your hive in its early stages is a hectic affair, and you’ll have to be a busy bee to maintain a productive and efficient hive.
After building new empty cells for your hive, you will need to build nurseries to maintain your population and raise bees of different roles, especially beesitters. In order to produce resources such as honey, wax or jelly, you will need worker or forager bees and exit cells to obtain the nectar and pollen necessary for production. Jelly production, which is necessary for spawning a new queen, requires a builder cell to research jelly refineries, which when built will consume all your pollen. On top of all that, you need to build barracks cells to defend your hive from outsider attacks.
In the later stages of the game, upgrades to your existing cells will make managing your hive a lot easier and laid back, on top of reaching a decent population of bees with a sustainable role distribution. If there’s one thing I could fault the game for, it’s that the user interface is a little cumbersome, and important screens such as population role distribution aren’t easily accessible from your HUD, but you have to scroll all the way to a nursery, click it, and view it – not good for multitasking bees. In addition, the game will perform well on your computer in its early stages, but a busy hive can be demanding.
Art and Music
Hive Time’s art style is vibrant and colorful even when it’s all black and yellow. The game also has events which are depicted with cute drawings of the hive’s denizens and their day-to-day life, from the jokes they tell, to the friends they meet. That said, the art style and its charm is severely affected by setting the graphics to lower quality, especially with the loss of shadows.
The music is another strong suit of the game, with tracks for regular ambience and others for special events, all of which are memorable and fit the mood.
For the recommended price of $10 (or whatever you want to pay, including free), Hive Time is a great laid-back management game with a lot of buzz. I vouch for it if you’re looking for a new simulator fix, and I would especially love to see it come to mobile.