Now to the bread and butter of FOTB; the crazy, preposterous, and ultimately hilarious narrative.‚  Wallace and Gromit has always been as much a story oriented franchise as aesthetically unique and pleasing.‚  ‚ With the hilarity of the evil penguin came the deep back-story integrated into the experience, FOTB creates the same feeling for gamers as well with an immersive storytelling experienced buffed by a dynamic set of personable, relatable, and outgoing characters.

As is customary in the Wallace and Gromit franchise, money is tight for the odd couple and only a absurd and ultimately ill-fated idea fueled by one of Wallace’s contraptions can rush in and save the day.‚  In FOTB that idea is not only acted upon, it is magnified and exacerbated.

Wallace’s latest money-making scheme is “From Bee To You” a business centered around an automated honey making machine in which flowers are deposited and fed to bees in one end, with generous, overflowing quantities of the sweet syrup flowing out the other.‚  But as we know, nothing is that simple, especially when you’re a British clay-mation figure.

Paneer, a shop-keeper in town storms into the story by yelling at Wallace for his uncontrollable “Sniffer 3000” contraption that destroyed his shop one afternoon.‚  Wallace explains that the Sniffer 3000 was built to seek out cheese where ever it may be and the devastation of Paneer’s shop was an unfortunate mishap.

Clearly not very keen to the idea, Paneer demands 50 gallons of honey for the annual Crumpet festival the following night, and Wallace has no choice but to gulp and accept the offer.

Wallace soon learns flowers take more than 24 hours to develop and decides to sprinkle them with a “rapid muscle growing” formula oblivious to the soon to be devastating side effects. ‚ ‚ Cue the classic Gromit shrugs shoulders and rolls eyes emotion which he is so famous for.

As it turns out, the formula was not only transferred to the flowers, but also to the bees, who have now taken over West Wallaby Street and the town!‚  It is now up to Wallace and Gromit, but really only Gromit, to rescue the town, its people, and his clumsy companion by vanquishing the hive of supermassive bees that have set up shop in the Harry Potter-esque neighborhood.

Of the many puzzles FOTB contains, most interesting and amusing for me was the “create-an-insult” conundrum that tests your ability to effectively hurt the feelings of a cute little shop keepers husband, by completing a sort of mad-lib exercise with common shop words.‚  Very fun and as an American gamer playing a British studio’s work, I quickly learned that my American insults are not at all equivalent across the pond.

Technical issues in Fright of the Bumblebees are minimal, and often add to the hilarity of the on-screen entertainment.‚  In my non-final review build of the title a certain character Mr. Gabberly’s eyes can be seen floating in space not attached to a face or body or anything, but I laughed and didn’t think any less of the creative integrity of the game.‚  In addition some graphical issues regarding flickering of overlapping textures existed but again, Telltale Games has promised to fix these two, extremely minimal issues in the final build.

Fright of the Bumblebees clocked in at about three hours of game-play with every cutscene watched and every environment explored fully, so the game is by no means lengthy.‚  Similarly, the replayabilty is extremely low as the full world can be explored and experienced in the time you could watch a Lord of the Rings flick.‚  That said, FOTB is a short, sweet like honey title that captures the successes of the franchise and effectively and appropriately takes on another wild story that captures your attention and keeps you engaged to the culmination.

Fright of the Bumblebees is merely the first installment of a four part series that now has my attention for the next four months!

Stay tuned for The Last Resort in May, Muzzled in June, and the stunning conclusion The Bogey Man in July.

Fright of the Bumblebees was reviewed on PC in its entirety and is available today at the reduced price point of $29.95 for the entire four part collection this launch week only.

The system requirements for this game are as follows:

* ‚  Operating system: Windows XP / Vista
* ‚  Processor: 2.0 GHz or better (3 GHz Pentium 4 or equivalent recommended)
* ‚  Memory: 512MB (1GB recommended)
* ‚  Hard disk space: 310MB
* ‚  Video: 64MB DirectX 8.1-compliant video card (128MB recommended)
* ‚  Sound: DirectX 8.1 sound device
* ‚  DirectX‚®: Version 9.0c or better

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About The Author

Eddie Makuch is a Blast staff writer. Reach him at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuch.

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