CyberHive is a weird game to try and review.
It’s a game that comes from Blazing Planet Studios, published by Samustai LTD, and pretty much does exactly as it says on the tin – you take control of a spaceship that acts as a hive for a bunch of bees. In this intergalactic beehive, you have to travel across the galaxy and follow the narrative to its close. Does it come with a sting in the tail, or is it all as sweet as honey?
In CyberHive we take command of the Melistar, a spaceship that is home to a bunch of bees, and which appears to be on a bit of a Star Trek mission – to boldly go where no bee has gone before. We find an artefact while exploring, left to try and work out not only where it came from, but what it is and how to unlock it. To this end, you can interact with a number of other races, from Beetles to Mites and Mosquitoes, and the way that you deal with these other species will have consequences further down the line. Can you unlock the artefact and secure the treasure that it conceals? Will you fall by the wayside? Will anyone ever care?
The presentation is about as odd as the game as a whole. CyberHive’s protagonists are described as “anthropomorphised” and being in an anime style, but what the game gets right is that all the bees who are anything on the ship are female; the same as in nature. Now, at risk of being accused of being woke, I have to take issue with the art direction of the bees – why are they all scantily dressed, and extremely buxom? Take the soldier class for instance. They are using that well known military uniform of a very short halter top and mini skirt that we see fighting units adopting all over the world. As for the medical bee, I can almost hear Kenneth Williams spinning in his grave.
The bees themselves notwithstanding, the rest of the game is presented in a fairly simple style. The Melistar is shown from a top-down view, with a cutaway style showing you all the different rooms that you have access to. The sound is a little minimal to be honest, not even a buzz to be heard, and while the music is okay, the soundscape is a little barren.
What about the actual gameplay? Well, what we have here is a basic resource management game. We have to make sure that there is enough Energy Gel at all times, or the game will end if we run out. That seems to be the only way that you can fail – no Gel, no life. Luckily, in the ship there is a section that can make the Gel, and as long as you keep it stocked with workers and raw materials, the ship should be able to keep going. Where do these workers and materials come from you ask? Well, let me explain.
The ship is divided into sections. There is a lab, where you can research things to make your ship more efficient; there is a control room, where the personnel are tasked with finding places to explore; there is a barracks and a power room and so on. The more bees you put into a room, the more efficient it is – more bees in the lab will make research tasks end more quickly, for instance, while more bees in the control room will discover more destinations.
It is these destinations that the majority of your raw materials will come from. Sending a team of bees to explore will allow them to gather any resources that are kicking around. You can specify what you want them to pick up as a priority, and depending on which materials the lab needs to research things. Of course, if you find an asteroid that has Energy Gel to be gathered, please make sure you grab that first.
Once all the bees are gainfully employed, you have to advance time to the next day to get things moving. CyberHive will warn you if any bee is left idle, so don’t worry about neglecting one of them. Every few days (or fewer, if you upgrade the hatchery) a new bee will be spawned, and so the crew is always expanding. This does raise an issue, however, as the amount of Gel required to keep the ship going goes up depending on how many bees there are in the ship. More bees equates to the need for more Gel, so making sure your production is up to snuff is vital.
And that is pretty much the whole of the game, apart from the occasional battle that you have to take part in. These fights are thankfully rare, but are not a welcome diversion. Basically, as rockets streak towards our ship, we have to shoot them down by moving the cursor onto the incoming projectiles and hitting X. This wouldn’t be so bad if the cursor didn’t feel like it was moving in slow motion, and the sluggish response sees a lot more missiles hitting than seems fair.
There is also a survival mode to try out, once you’ve beaten the story, and in all, this is a chilled experience. CyberHive is pretty calming on the whole, and following the narrative or keeping your crew lean, mean and hungry is fairly interesting. CyberHive will be able to deliver much more fun than you may expect.
CyberHive is on the Xbox Store
- Decent management sim
- Story is interesting
- Survival mode is tricky
- Battlers feel like they were tacked on
- Why are the bees so abundantly female?
- Massive thanks for the free copy of the game go to - Samustai
- Formats - Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PS4, PS5
- Version reviewed - Xbox One on Xbox Series X
- Release date - 17 June 2022
- Launch price from - £6.99