The idea of leaving everything behind for a life completely opposite of the one you’re living is an appealing prospect. So much so that many life sims offer that kind of fantasy life. Apico is one such game, involving a rural life beekeeping on an island. However, as it turns out, beekeeping means not only raising and breeding bees and gathering their honey, but keeping an eye on flowers and so many open windows.
As with many games of this kind, things begin with an individual abandoning an urban lifestyle. They grew up in Port Apico, and decided to return to keep bees. Which means starting from scratch. You bring nothing back to the island. Fortunately, getting started is as easy as collecting an axe from some quests, chopping down a small part of the forest, crafting items to build a home and workshop, and getting some wild bees and hives.
From there, Apico grows and goes about as you’d expect. A player needs to create homes for bees. This can be done by appropriating existing hives and building their own proper homes, Apiary Frames, and Extractors to make production easier. You’ll also need to gather flowers to plant near your bees, as a source of food and to begin crossbreeding kinds of flowers. Not to mention crossbreeding bees themselves to get new kinds of bees. As you become more successful, you can visit new areas or start making more profitable products like Apicola.
What this also means is many windows. Queens have limited lifespans. This means a need to keep breeding and searching for new bees, so you can continue your operations. Once you’ve optimized an area as your “base,” you may have the windows for each Apiary open to track their progress. If you’re currently crafting, you’ll have a Sawbench open to create planks for your next project. It is easy to run out of room while exploring, meaning needing to set down storage crates to hold items while you’re deciding what to do next. You’ll also spend a lot of time investigating your bees as you get into breeding to ensure you get certain results and populations. But, while queens do have a limited lifespan, nothing ever feels rushed. There’s so much you can do as you get started without money that it is truly a relaxed experience. You can take your time and really learn about both the bees you’re collecting and the process of caring for them.
My biggest issue with Apico, however, is that everything is so small. I was playing on a MacBook Air with 2560×1600 resolution, and I found it difficult to see items, navigate storage, and read text. Given that managing your bees, checking their natures to breed them, handling your items, and taking care of output is, well, the whole game, being able to properly read and see everything would be beneficial to a player. There is a lot of critical information you need to see at all times, and an option to be able to zoom in would really help. There are times it can be hard to determine what you’re crafting or doing.
Apico is just a soothing sort of game to play. There’s a comfort that comes from finding a lot of bees, setting them up in the places you prepared around one of your hubs, and watching as they create honey that you can then turn into other things. It also gets quite satisfying as you breed new bees and learn more about this little world. Especially since there’s no need to rush and I didn’t feel a constant need to earn. It was more about experimenting and enjoying what I would see in the moment.
Apico is available for PCs.