Beekeeper Review: Citizens of Earth’s Beekeeper

“She is part-support and part-offense, able to fit into most party combinations. With her bee companions, she is able to inflict status ailments as well as buff her allies!”

Citizens of Earth is a computer game in which the player is the Vice President of the World and all the NPCs are potential members of the VP’s team. Naturally, one of those potential teammates is a Beekeeper.

By the end of the game the Beekeeper has potentially travelled inside the Internet, ridden Ogopogo, fought monsters inside dreams, and defeated alien warlords in combat. That’d be an impressive resume for any adventurer and would stand out against most other Beekeepers I’ve reviewed, but here, in this game, all of that stuff is also true of every other character. In this game, that’s just the baseline amount of cool that any character can have. Is there anything to justify this Beekeeper highly apart from that stuff?

I’m not going to try and build suspense for this review. The answer is yes. Yes, this is a damned high-ranking Beekeeper. First of all, most Beekeepers in videogames are what I call Apiarists in Distress. Usually the Beekeepers are in trouble and they wait for the game’s protagonist to come get them out of it. And sure, this game’s Beekeeper does give the player a quest, but it isn’t because she’s in danger or needs his help. She’s just unwilling to leave her work early to help the VP unless he pitches in on keeping bees, which makes sense to me.

And, of course, the fighting prowess and supernatural powers that I look for are not lacking in the slightest. She can beat up a lot of monsters, with her bees stinging single enemies or groups of enemies and has a powerful thermal attack. But don’t think she just puts her bees at risk while she stays out of the action: she also has a very powerful attack called Final Sting that does a lot of damage to the target, but also reduces her hit points completely, in true bee style. Another videogame Beekeeper who spent a lot of time fighting was the one from Fist Puncher. She was a badass fighter and everything, but that was it. Her anger let her peak at badass. The Beekeeper in Citizens of Earth has other skills. She can have her bees defend her party, and she can heal her teammates, and she is able to offer a “Bee’s Eye View” to get a better look at the world around them. The fact that she has learned to use her bees and her knowledge for things other than just doing harm proves that she doesn’t let Beekeeper Rage rule over her. In fact, she’s downright happy most of the time.

What else? She wears a suit with bee colours. She speaks in incessant bee and honey puns. She’s written at least one book (“Lord of the Bees”). She lobbies for bee rights. Some of her bees can even speak. And it’s worth noting that when she joined the party, she was already a level 14, a starting point that only a couple other characters match and very few exceed. That means within the world she’s cool and tough even before she joins the VP’s adventure. She’s got it all.

Five Honeycombs out of Five! She’s a keeper.

Beekeeper Review: Barry

We haven’t, to date, had the best of luck with Beekeepers who live in fantasy videogame realms. It’s a shame, because some of our highest-ranking Beekeepers come from fantasy novels. But in games, the Beekeepers are always there to just beg for the help of the players. Apiarists in Distress, as I have said before. So I didn’t expect much of Barry, a Beekeeper found in the world of World of Warcraft. But there are always surprises in reviewing Fictional Beekeeper.

To be sure, Barry is another NPC who will set the player off on quests and stuff, but it isn’t because he needs help. All indications are that Barry’s own beekeeping operations are doing just fine without any help from the player. Instead, Barry gets the player to help out with another colony of bees altogether. It turns out that there’s a new hive in the valley, giant bees have arrived from places unknown, and Barry tells the player about it. When the player finds the hive and the bees are ready to defend themselves, Barry steps in and brokers peace between the player and the bees of the Honeyback Hive. You see, Barry can speak the language of the bees fluently and he’s not about to let the new bees (or the player) waste their lives in combat. After that he seems to operate as a freelance translator between the bees and the players, in spite of the fact that the Honeyback Hive isn’t even his own hive. He’s doing extra beekeeping on the side of his own.

Barry seems like a nice guy. Very genial and none of the telltale signs of Beekeeper Rage. His bees are extremely large, if not the size of the newcomers. And he loves his bees and they love him back/ And he loves the Honeyback bees as well, enjoying petting their fuzzy thoraxes. As for supernatural or combat prowess, Barry seems about standard for a denizen of Azeroth, a place where magic and combat are ubiquitous. It’s a world where a Beekeeper needs to be extra careful because you never know when a honey-crazed mauler is going to turn up. We can only infer that if Barry is successful in this world, he’s got the skill to back it up.

4 Honeycombs out of Five. He’s standout in videogame NPC Beekeepers.

Beekeeper Review: Beezwax

We’ve seen Beekeepers who use vehicles for their beekeeping before (Doc Beebles’s truck comes to mind.) But today’s Beekeeper is a character from the game series Vigilante 8, so he spends most of his time fighting in his truck. He is called Beezwax and he’s definitely given into his Beekeeper Rage.

He had been a farmer until his farm was polluted with radioactive waste from a nearby government testing facility. After that, “Beezwax packed up and hit the road in a rage of madness” and sought revenge on those who had wronged him. As is so typical when a Beekeeper goes bad, the justification is sound, but the response is too much and they go evil. In his mentally unstable state, Beezwax encounters the leader of Vigilante 8’s villains, a man called Sid Burn, and starts thinking he is a prophet. Beezwax sides with Burn and his villainous team and we lose another Beekeeper to the bad side.

It seems like Beezwax’s quest for revenge becomes a little unfocused when he joins the villains. He continues finding things that piss him off, such as when he sees ski resorts taking over his hometown, but I doubt Syd Burn is as concerned with nuclear waste dumping as Beezwax ought to be. Perhaps it is the justice of the bees then that, in one of the endings in which Beezwax wins the game, his acquisition of some nuclear warheads goes awry when one of his bees sets off the bomb, presumably killing Beezwax.

Beezwax has a pretty sweet thing going here. Just having a mobile apiary is impressive, but this truck is equipped with all manner of other gadgetry that can help in a fight. Guns and rocket launchers, for example. It’s considered one of the game’s more heavily armoured, but slower vehicles. A tank, I believe is the term for this sort of setup. But it isn’t just the truck! The bees themselves have been mutated into a “Gamma Swarm” by the radiation. They seem larger than average and can be sent out of attack Beeswax’s enemies.

If only it had all been in the hands of a more well-adjusted Beekeeper. If someone had the same origin, the same setup, the same powers, but hadn’t given into a destructive spiral of anger, that would have been one awesome Beekeeper.

3 Honeycombs out of Five.

More Superman Video Game Ideas

I have had Thoughts on the making of a Superman video game before, but that hasn’t stopped me from having more. In most of the games these days, you don’t get to start at your full power level. It allows for a feeling of progress as you get more powerful as you go. That’d work for a Jimmy Olsen game too (which, as I have said, would be the best game for the franchise to have right now), but I don’t feel like it’d be the best way to go with a game starring Superman.

I think it’d be important to make a person playing Superman feel powerful right from the start. I’d want players to be able to sit down and immediately start flying around Metropolis, I’d want them to be able to do so without having to play an hour to get from jumping to flight. But does that mean the game would lack a sense of progress? Well, I don’t think it has to. What if, instead of upgrading Superman, the player upgrades Metropolis?

The work you put into superheroing actually has a positive effect on the world around you? That sounds like an ideal for the genre to me. I’m thinking that, as you get your experience points or whatever you want to call them, you get to spend them on various causes and groups and such. I can already picture an interface for this being represented by charts and graphs on a Daily Planet website or something.

It could have multiple effects in the game. Maybe at the start there’s a lot of randomly generated street crime, but as you put your Experience Points into the various neighbourhoods of Metropolis, there’s less of that. Upgrade it further and there’s none. Instead of getting additional powers that help you go through areas by beating up the enemies quicker, you can just remove the annoyances altogether. And it would have to have a visual effect too. Empty lots and terrible slums would be replaced by youth centres and affordable quality housing. Litter and hateful graffiti would be replaced with nice plants and beautiful murals. Here’s a flaw to this part of the plan: You’d essentially have to have (at least) two versions of the city. One for the bad neighbourhood version and one for the good neighbourhood version. And you’d have to make the good version more appealing. It wouldn’t be easy, but it could be done.

But I also mentioned upgrading groups in the city, or at least upgrading your standing with those groups. This is harder to spitball, given that I don’t know the story of this hypothetical game, but let’s pretend we’re playing as a Superman who is still relatively new to Metropolis. Maybe early on in the game, while you’re fighting crime, the police still don’t trust you and will attempt to interfere or arrest you. That’d be annoying, right? Well, when you move up in the world you could throw some experience points at the Police and they’ll start trusting you and not interfering. Upgrade it further and maybe you could even issue orders to Police NPCs so they’ll help take out non-supervillain thugs and save innocent people while you’re fighting the bigger threats. Then there’s scientists. Metropolis seems to have a huge community of scientists. If you put points into upping your standing with the general public, maybe they’ll be more likely to help you with information during journalistic-based missions. Maybe if you put some effort into impressing the academic community they can help you by making gizmos or scanning or something. There’s plenty of options here and each type could also open up new side missions to keep things fresh.

But one option I’d want to include is putting points into gaining the favour of Lex Luthor. Doing so would actually open up new powers, with Lex agreeing to make you stronger if you work alongside him. But the catch is, spoilers for a game that will never exist: If you fully go down the Luthor upgrade branch, you get a bad ending where Luthor betrays you, kills you, and uses what he’s learned to steal your powers.

Anyway, I still think the Jimmy game is the best option given today’s technology, but this was fun to think about nonetheless.

Beekeeper Review: The Dwarves of Honeystoker

The story of Honeystoker appears in a series of Youtube videos by a person named Kruggsmash who makes narrative fiction by playing a game called Dwarf Fortress, to which he adds drawings to the videos that makes the Dwarf Fortress graphics tolerable. Say what you will about the Youtube algorithm, it was absolutely correct when it suggested this to me.

Honeystoker (or Stetargusgash in the native tongue) is a Dwarven stronghold with an important detail: the dwarves living therein are beekeepers! Now, I am reluctant to give away most of the story details for this one. The thing just ended a week or so ago after all. But I will focus just on their beekeeping and see how they rate at the job.

Honeystoker’s dwarves were not that type of apiarists who come from some long lineage of apiarists who have been refining their skill for generations. No, at the founding of this fortress they were complete rookies. They only became beekeepers because the rich patron paying for them told them to (and he had ulterior motives we need not get into here). And admittedly, it looked bad when it took two years for them to make their first jug of honey, but they got better in time and embraced beekeeping with gusto.

They did all the standard things a colony of beekeepers might do, such as making honey, mead, and wax crafts (the latter of which they encrusted with gems to increase their value), and they had cool stone hives shaped like dwarf heads, which is pretty great. But they would also go beyond the standard beekeeping stuff in other ways, such as when they decorated their walls with honeycomb designs and bee statues, as well as one particularly awesome bit of beekeeper-inspired bit of architecture: the hallway pictured above, which is full of stinging spike traps to foil invaders. Definitely the kind of trap a badass beekeeper unit would design.

It has to be admitted that as the fortress grew, they diversified into other industries, so not all the dwarves living in Honeystoker are active beekeepers. But some are. Most notably Zutthan Avuzelis. Zutthan was the dwarf who first discovered the wild bees that began the fortress’s colonies and remained on the job much longer than her companions. She was described as meek and compassionate, but quick to anger, which sounds like a classic case of Beekeeper Rage to me. Zutthan would eventually go on to join the military of Honeystoker and, while not being the kind of unstoppable fighting machine I like to see in a beekeeper, she served well until being wounded, after which she returned to easier tasks, presumably including beekeeping. If everyone in the fortress had given up on beekeeping, they would rate much lower, but Zutthan was true to the job which counts for a lot.

Everything I have described so far could work even for a normal beekeeper, but these dwarves live in a fantasy world, so surely they must have some supernatural talents, right? Certainly! Even before they became successful beekeepers one of them managed to calmly carry 18411 bees by hand, which is mighty impressive. The dwarves also seemed to quickly grow accustomed to being stung by bees, possibly even becoming immune to the venom. On an occasion when a flood filled the part of the fortress with the hives, the bees seem to be barely affected. All of these are minor but important examples of possible supernatural beekeeping. But there’s a catch: the dwarves of Honeystoker absolutely check the box for supernatural for another reason. But, beyond making them better fighters, that reason is not related to their beekeeping, so I won’t discuss it here. Just rest assured, they fit the bill.

Ultimately the story of Honeystoker is one of dwarves trying to survive in a world that was dangerous. In the process they became pretty good beekeepers and fought to carve a place for their kind in that dangerous world. What more could beekeepers do?

4 Honeycombs out of Five.