Stardew Valley, but with more bees. That feels like an apt way of describing Apico, now available on PlayStation.
Well, sort of, anyway. Falling just short of full farming sim status, Apico throws you into a pixelated open world, introducing you to its features one by one. There are the usual suspects here: chopping down trees, crafting useful pieces of equipment, collecting items from the environment. But there’s one key feature that sets it apart: beekeeping.
Look around Apico‘s simple but packed world and you’ll see dozens upon dozens of bee hives dotted in just about every direction. Busy, buzzy bees, pollinating flowers and living their best bee lives. Leave them as they are if you want, but that’s not the purpose of Apico. Those bees are yours to look after, to breed, and to profit from.
There are three different types of bees when you start playing Apico: common bees, forest bees, and bees that live near shallow water. Each bee has its own traits, and by building the correct piece of equipment, you can cross breed species to create something new. Build an Ultimate Bee colony with only the best qualities, if you want.
But this isn’t a dry sort of game that forces you to do everything in a certain way. You can take everything Apico throws at you in your own time and, as is always the best way, you’ll learn the ropes by doing. You’re given a guidebook when you start playing and, page by page, you’ll work through a to-do list of tutorials, introducing you to the basics only when you need to know. It’s worth doing, as every completed page nets you a useful reward.
You don’t have to do that, of course. Completely go out by yourself and explore the land around you, cut down every tree in sight, or build a big house. Anything goes, and you won’t be punished or penalised for doing anything wrong.
Slightly more analytical that the likes of Stardew Valley thanks to its focus on menus, there’s a lot to like here. We can see Apico appealing to a large range of players: those who enjoy shaping a world around them, those who thrive when meeting goals, and those who simply want to go with the flow. And, of course, those who love bees. It’s cute, it’s surprisingly easy to get to grips with, and it’s educational in that it teaches the importance of bees. What’s not to love?
Apico is available now on PlayStation, Switch and PC.