There is something so delightfully goofy and left-field about the premise of B3 Game Expo for Bees that it's difficult not to be utterly charmed by it. A bee security guard protecting bee gaming companies in a "convention hive" from a firsties-obsessed robotic bear? That's the type of organized randomness that can make for something memorable - as long as there's enough substance to generate buzz.
One of the first things many will notice about B3 is how much its interface is inspired by the Metroid Prime series. Navigation is through a first-person perspective, complete with a visor-like HUD that allows scanning of objects via the B button (if you expect the majority of interactions to be made with any other button, you haven't paid attention to what this game is about). The GamePad operates as a hub to access a handful of useful apps, including your standard map and the chat of the livestream where bees at home are watching events unfold. It's a fun and slick-looking use of the GamePad, all said.
Your security bee can fly about (ZL button) and quickly gets a basic weapon to blast at enemies (ZR button). Flying is breezy, with fluid movement and looking around, and feels like second nature when you're surrounded by bees. It's easy to access and interact with anything you need.
The shooting mechanics are also a snap to take hold of, and are as simple "point and shoot" as you can get. There are only about six or so total fights among two different types of enemy, though, and none of these encounters are particularly challenging. Still, even though he's not difficult, the sheer size of Robobear (yes, Robobear) makes him a bit of a treat to battle. For anyone expecting plenty of Metroid-style action to match the atmosphere, however, there just isn't much to be found. Most of the game acts as more of an adventure, locating the right places and using the right gear to reach objectives.
During the journey through B3 there will be a few cute characters to talk to, as well as some nods to gaming and some pokes at the gaming industry itself. Nothing feels mean-spirited, though. There is some amusing writing to be found, although an unfortunate number of typos jar its reading at times. The game has an overall look that isn't high-end, but is a colourful mix of cuteness and tech that lends itself well to the slightly futuristic yet laid-back atmosphere.
The biggest setback to B3, however, is that it just doesn't feel like there's enough activity zipping around in its hive. The overall world contains only about a dozen small rooms, two of which are essentially mirrors of each other in appearance and goals - for humorous effect. There are a couple of fun gadgets to use in addition to the one weapon, but their functions are very one-note and become pretty obvious. Even with a small period of getting stuck, B3 took us just under 2 hours to complete. This did not include finding every scannable object, however.
The concept of B3: Game Expo for Bees is imaginative, but it leaves a sting of disappointment. What's there can be amusing while it lasts, but the sum total doesn't really feel like a full game. Developer Famous Gamous definitely shows a healthy spark of creativity and potential, but there's a want for more rooms, more items, more puzzles, and more varied goals and challenges. Still, it's better to want more than less, and it might be worth it to pick this title up sometime on a sale or whim.