Jetbee is a free-to-play racing action game for iPhone and iPad (iPad version reviewed here). Play as Bimmy the Bee, who uses a jetpack instead of wings to fly to the goal. As you fly higher and higher, use power-ups to gain an advantage and use your earnings to decorate your beehive house.
The screen scrolls vertically as you fly, but you must watch out for your jetpack fuel. If it runs out, you’ll slow down and eventually fall. You can refill it by landing and resting for a second, but a better way is to pick up flowers that automatically fill your jetpack as you fly. Other colored flowers help you go faster, and you can also pick up random power-ups that you can activate by tapping on the icon on the bottom left of the screen. These power-ups can give you a boost or slow down other competitors, similar to how pickups in Mario Kart style racing games work.
There are three types of control schemes for your bee. You can steer it left and right with a virtual joystick you move with your thumb, or you can tilt left and right on the whole iPad to move your bee. You can also choose to hold down on the touch screen to make your bee fly, or only hold it down when you want to stop. All controls work well, although I prefer tilting the iPad to steer.
There are several cups of varying difficulty, with many tracks for each cup. The higher you place, the more points you get, and if you get the most points at the end of a group of races, you win! Collect diamonds on the track and when you win to level up, which unlocks new game modes. Gather coins on the races and when you win that you can use to buy furniture which you can use to decorate your beehive house. Collect lots of coins and you can even buy new bees, power-ups, upgrades, and more! There are multiplayer modes, too.
Unfortunately, Jetbee has quite a few problems that keep it from being fun. Sometimes the screen gets choppy and can mess you up. Also, all the annoyances of free-to-play games are here in full force. Normally I don’t mind ads in games, but they seem more bombarding and intrusive here than normal. Also, you use up hearts as you play, and if you fall off the screen, you must use a heart to continue, too. On the harder tracks that have more obstacles you can crash into, you can run out of hearts really fast and must wait more than half a day for them to refill again. It’s a shame, too, because I really like the cute graphics and playful nature of this game.
Violence is only cartoony and minimal. Bimmy the bee can crash into things but that’s pretty much it. The old bee who teaches you how to play says ‘hell’ one time, which surprised me, but it’s a blink and you’ll miss it kind of thing. Reading skill is helpful for the text, and younger players may get frustrated at the difficulty. Parental supervision is recommended due to all the ads and in-game purchases.