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APICO Review

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Fast Facts


Developer: TNgineers
Publisher: Whitethorn Digital
Genre(s): Simulation
Platform: Nintendo Switch (Also available on PlayStation and PC)
Age Rating: PEGI 3
Release Date: 08/07/2022
Price: £14.99

A code was provided for review purposes

Don’t Worry, Bee Happy

As the days grow darker and the nights grow colder, a relaxing game on the Switch is just the thing you need to cuddle up with on the sofa. APICO is a title which certainly ticks that box; leaving city life behind, you move to Port APICO to carry on your family’s beekeeping legacy. With a cutesy pixel art style too, is this a bee-autiful indie to chill with, or does it really sting? Find out in this Rapid Review!

A postcard with a yellow bee stamp on it
A new bee-ginning

A New-Bee

Though the concept sounds pretty simple, there’s actually a lot to learn when it comes to beekeeping in APICO. You’re armed with an information book to guide you on your way; though there isn’t a linear story so to speak, the book gives you tasks to progress your beekeeping empire. Starting with learning how to craft and build a little home for yourself, it’s time to start searching for your buzzing buddies.

Bees are found in hives scattered across the land, and this is where you can breed your bees. Placing two in the left hand slot will create a queen, who produces not only honeycomb but also offspring at the end of her lifespan. Honeycomb is a material in crafting recipes, however upgrading from a hive to an apiary opens up for even more produce. In apiaries, the bees can fill frames, which then have to be uncapped with a machine, then extracted using an extractor for honey and other produce you can sell. A fermenter can then combine honey and water to create Apicola.

  • The inside of an apiary where frames fill with honey
  • A Fermenter machine where water and honey goes in, and orange Apicola comes out

But it doesn’t stop there…the resin concoction from the fermenter then has to be put into a bottler to create a cold glass of Apicola ready to sell. It sounds like a lot, and it is; I will admit I was extremely overwhelmed at first. I kept forgetting what items went in which machine, and what order to use the machines in. I had to keep referring to the book, and though you had to complete tasks to unlock the next sections, there was a lot of information and tasks to look through. This made me find APICO hard to get into at first.

The Bee’s Knees

However, once I found a rhythm, the game had me hooked. Building a routine, gathering frames from the apiaries before completing the sequence of machines to create my money making produce, made APICO rather addictive. There was another mountain to cross before finding that rhythm though, which was crossbreeding the bees and finding new breeds. Some could be found naturally in hives, and others had to be crossbred.

Speaking to Beenjamin, the professor with a BhD of course, he will hint at how to get certain types of bees. This could involve breeding at certain times of day, weather conditions, location and more. I thought this was really creative and added more challenge, particularly as you weren’t always guaranteed to get the bee you wanted first time. There was a certain chance you would get a new breed, which you could check in a Predictor machine. This does add longevity to the game, instead of rushing to collect all the bees.

My character on a swampy island, with glowing lily pads in the water.
Exploring the swamps at night!

As mentioned previously though, it was a slight hindrance. I needed to have discovered seven bees to be able to buy a boat and explore new biomes, with subsequently new bees. I had to get one more, but I could not for the life of me get that extra one. Eventually I realised I could get a Rocky bee by crafting a stone pickaxe and breaking a large rock (typically I then managed to breed the bee I’d been trying to!). Unlocking the boat then opened up so much more opportunity to find more bees and materials.


Once I was armed with my boat, I was able to explore the entire map in all its glory. APICO has a gorgeous, colourful pixel art design, and there is plenty of detail despite everything being so small, like the various machines. I loved the tiny bees floating around the flowers, and the short, cute designs of the characters. It was charming that their names were related to bees as well! A great, inclusive addition was the use of pronoun tags next to each character’s name too.

  • My characters stands on a frosty island with snow covered trees.
  • My character stands in wooden ruins, surrounded by orange trees and grass.

The different biomes brought new colour schemes and environmental designs, with new flowers, bees and trees. Though colourful, it was easy on the eye, perfect for evenings curled up on the Nintendo Switch. I loved the day-night cycle, with lanterns and bees glowing in the dark, and how the screen grows duller in the rain. It felt more immersive and added life to the world.

The sound effects are fantastic too; from the sound of bugs chirping at night, birds tweeting in the day, the pitter patter of rain and even your footsteps crunching on the ground, you feel surrounded by nature. Every now and then instrumental tracks will play, with piano and synth-like sounds putting your mind at ease.

As Sweet as Honey

APICO ran smoothly on the Switch, the only performance issue I had being the game lagging a little every time it auto saved. The controls were easy to pick up, and could always be referred back to in the information book. A cool feature was when using the machines you’d use the right joystick, moving it back and forth to saw for example. It seems like a small addition, but it was something different to do that I hadn’t seen before.

My character sleeps on a bench outside my home.
Just a quick snooze waiting for the bees to wake up.

Since there are over 30 bees to collect, machines to build, your own home to expand, and islands to explore, there’s plenty of game time. You can also release bees into the wild to help their conservation status! There’s also been a butterfly update on Steam, so it would be good to see what updates can be added down the line. Despite my struggles to get into APICO at the start, feeling quite overwhelmed, once I had my rhythm it was a game I didn’t want to put down. The theme of beekeeping is unique, some of it based on real apiculture with fantasy elements too, and it looks adorable too. Making a buzz in the indie scene, APICO could just be your next cozy game to play.

Rapid Reviews Rating

3.5 out of 5


You can purchase Apico on the Nintendo Switch here.

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