It’s not often I’m at a complete loss for words. Even when I’m writing about something I don’t know or – shock horror – care about, I can usually string a few rambling paragraphs together. A bit like this paragraph right here.
But when it comes to Jetbee – Ready, set… GO ! (to use its full title)…
Something about the notion of racing in five different cups – alongside the bright colours and power-ups – led me to believe Jetbee might be some sort of smartphone Mario Kart. How wrong I was.
You control Bimmy, a bee who’s adopted a jetpack since he’s otherwise incapable of flight. There’s some bizarre back-story about living with your grandpa and entering races to earn money. Or something.
In any case, it’s all just an excuse for smartphone-based vertical racing.
There are three different control systems in Jetbee. By default, the arcade stick tasks you with constantly pushing up while sliding your finger left and right. It’s hilariously bad.
More effective, for my money, you can set Jetbee to fly automatically, and only tap the screen when you want to slow down. Meanwhile, you can tilt to move left and right.
The third option is touch (to fly) and tilt, but since you generally want to go balls out, the second option makes most sense.
Anyway, you control Bimmy on his vertical ascent, and the aim is basically to avoid hazards and beat the other seven bees to the finish line. Which is easier said than done.
See, it’s nigh on impossible to see what’s coming ahead, and resultantly you’ll often find yourself bashing into obstacles and what not. Worse still, you can frequently expect to fall off the bottom of the screen without realising what the hell’s going on. Probably an enemy power-up. Probably.
Making things even more difficult, it’s necessary to continually collect flowers in order to keep Bimmy’s jetpack fuelled. Fail to do so and you’ll find yourself falling behind and possibly losing a life.
Speaking of lives, you have five, and Jetbee rations them at undisclosed intervals. Sigh.
Sounds a bit rubbish, right? Right. Bizarrely, there’s also a whole other section to the game where you maintain and decorate a home. WHAT?
On the whole, Jetbee is just a strange, strange game. It almost seems like it’s aimed at youngsters, but with the multitude of confounding options on the screen at any one time (it’s like a bad acid trip), and the general difficulty, it’s nigh on impossible to recommend.
Summary: Jetbee is an insanely bright and ultimately bizarre racing game that also invites you to build a home. Words fail me.
Price: free @ App Store
Compatibility: Requires iOS 4.3 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.