released on Dec 10, 2014

Beeswing is a game set in a small village in rural Scotland, the village I grew up in. Visit the places and people who shaped a life and discover their stories. Represented in hand painted, water colour graphics with a unique, acoustic soundtrack.

Released on


More Info on IGDB

Reviews View More

This review contains spoilers

Beeswing is a beautifully and at times uncomfortably personal experience. Jack King Spooner takes you through a visit back to his hometown, visiting his old friends and family. The game is spent walking around and talking to people. And then, when you feel that you're ready, you take a bus out of town, ending the game.
The game follows a few interwoven thematic threads closely, and after finishing it I realized it was a tightly written and intentional narrative than I had thought in the moment. With the frequent references to the elderly and dementia, and to the negative effects of television and the internet on our mental health, Jack is clearly concerned about how our spirits will fare in this new world where thoughts and identities are being presented in entirely new ways. I remember from a video walking through a previous game of his that he said he wanted to talk to us, the player, and let us know that there was a person on the other end.
I was completely captivated by the experience of talking to all of the people in town. Some of them will tell you stupid drivel or funny quips, some will give kind words, some of them will be scared and confused, some mournful of a life of regret, and a few will tell you moving stories of a human life in all of it's pain and beauty. Beeswing is the experience of finally taking the time to have tea and talk with an elderly neighbor who's more interesting than you ever would have imagined, and leaving with the impression that there's more to people than you'd thought before.
Now, if you haven't played the game, please do before reading this. It's free on and only a couple hours. It's worth your time. I have to talk about one scene specifically, as it has stuck with me by far the most and I think about it often. You visit a friend whose mother had died from dementia. You were close, and you remember being there for her decline. How she started to communicate only by written notes, and one day, the note she wrote was just nonsense. It's been a long time, but your friend is still devastated. You offer some trite advice and he's brushes you off. After talking about it with him for a while, you come to the slow, crushing realization that there's absolutely nothing you can do for him. Nothing you could say to him would really help. It was then that I decided to walk to the bus stop and leave town.
Although a bit rough in its presentation and interaction, Beeswing shines with humanity and makes me very excited to play more of Jack's games.

I've been wanting to write a review for this game ever since I finished it a few days ago. Actually, I've been thinking about what I wanted to say, how I wanted to say it.
I could never really come up with the right words, if I'm being honest. Even know, I hold so much love for this game, I can't even express it.
It's a buggy mess. Getting from one place to another can be frustrating. Things are easy to miss, sometimes confusing. But I utterly, horribly adore Beeswing. It made me feel as if I was talking to an old friend, only that I had never met this friend before.
I remember playing it in one sitting, only stopping at some point because I realised I was crying a bit. Not because something particularly sad happened (although there's some heart-breaking stuff in there) but because the story I was experiencing suddenly made me feel very raw and vulnerable.
I've grown up in a town like Beeswing and I only faintly remember all the people I've met there, even though they used to mean the world to me. I wonder where they're now and I kinda wonder what I could ever say to them to make up for all the time I haven't been thinking about them. So many lives that I didn't get to share with them.
I think I'm gonna hug my friends a bit more tightly next time I see them.

Beeswing's immediate surface-level appeal is an artstyle that, more often than not, is not just analogue but handcrafted: pencil sketches, watercolors, cutouts, messy clay figures, along with acoustic guitar and toy piano, bring a heartfelt rendering of a childhood village to life in a way that is immediately, intimately familiar, and yet in the realm of video games, strange and bold. Yet there's a darker text to this game that aborts the risk of it being twee: sweet memories are complicated not just by the slightly bitter perspective of adulthood, but by the reality of social isolation, increasingly a fact of rural and metropolitan life. Wandering the town of Beeswing and the nearby city, interacting its inhabitants, we are constantly reminded of this fact, through conversations and vingettes (some of which are gated by somewhat obscure requirements) that range from the silly to the deeply sad.
That said, there's an unfortunate contrast between Beeswing's visual style, which speaks to the hand of a master (I've played some of King-Spooner's earlier games and they all look like apprentice work compared to this) and its writing. The game leans heavily on the latter (and the contrast between the two) to deliver its themes, but it's sort of a weak link. It's not so much that it's heavy-handed but that it often delivers mishmash of ideas, some less developed than others. The running theme of isolation gives way to hoary anxieties around morality, or characters get on the writer's own soapbox, like when a rant about the fallacy of the death of the author is placed in the mouth of a character who has no real business delivering it. It's not that these ideas couldn't possibly cohere, but that the game does little to illuminate their connectedness, or perhaps relies too heavily on mere juxtaposition.
Perhaps, given the cutout and collage-like nature of Beeswing's construction, it's appropriate that juxtaposition is its primary method elsewhere. Yet there's an anxiety I have about this game and others like it: often, when I encounter works in this space that name symptoms but not the disease, I'm tempted to go on a Situationist warpath and denounce them left and right. I kind of doubt that would be fruitful (and in any case I'm the kind of guy who's going to insist you'll learn the most about these things by reading directly about them than by consuming better art or art criticism, which is not, of course, to say the latter are useless or irrelevant), but the point is that there are real connections between the things Beeswing leaves hanging somewhat too far apart, and that there are risks involved in leaving them implicit. Showing is not ipso facto more elegant than telling; it can even be a bit clumsy, as I think is the case here. Moreover, one can paradoxically be comforted, rather than challenged, in the presence of a work of art that seemingly "gets it," and the risk is all the greater the more sensually beautiful the work. Then again, so profound is the antimony at the heart of the relationship between art and life in our divided society that I could make an equal and opposite case that "ugly," "radical" art too often merely flatters the sensibilities of its audience—but I'd best leave that for a review of Cruelty Squad and, for now, stop here.
As a P.S. to this admittedly perhaps slightly too cynical review (it really is a beautiful game with a big heart in the right place), I'll say that while it is true that my own preference leans heavily towards games that show by allowing the player to do, Beeswing (being rather text-heavy) is definitely not that sort of game, and my comments are the result of considering it on its own terms.

I've never played a game quite like this, something so heartfelt and wholeheartedly philosophical. This make me feel things that no other game ever has. The musings are thoughtful but not pretentious, the pitfall I find many 'deep' games fall into. I felt as though I was reading someones diary, someone who had poured their heart and soul into it after keeping these thoughts and feelings bottled up for years.The visuals and music are prominently handmade in a way that adds to this feeling. This title changed my entire perception on what can make something a masterpiece.

Eu amo a filosofia de design de jogo museu que J-King Spooner traz nos seus jogos.
Dessa vez, diferente de Dujanah, tive uma sensação de estar num museu pessoal e íntimo.
Como se navegássemos por memórias, medos e pensamentos de uma pessoa/ personagem.
Claro, por se tratar de uma obra bem autoral, imagino que parte desses pensamentos podem refletir no autor... ou talvez não, nunca vamos saber.
A questão é que a escrita desse jogo é tão íntima que funciona perfeitamente com a proposta e estética do jogo.
É incrível como em cada personagem que aparece, você pode esperar algo completamente novo.
Monólogos que constroem momentos de estranheza, reflexão, medo ou até graça. Sempre construindo personagens passageiros que vão te trazer essa mensagem e pronto, serviram seu propósito e possivelmente não vão voltar.
É incrível como ainda assim, esses personagens são incríveis, curiosos e tão diferentes que parecem ser lembranças, sabe? Como se fossem retratos de personagens que falam sozinhos, mas possuem um carisma nessa introspecção, como se fossem conversas que já tivemos, mas não lembramos exatamente. Como se reconstruíssemos essas pessoas em um sonho, o que faz todo sentido nesse jogo, já que nos sonhos sempre conversamos com nós mesmos.
Enfim, incrível como monólogos criam expressões tão interessantes, ainda de forma autoral e pessoal e como esse jogo te deixa livre para explorar esse museu de uma pessoa só.
Muito interessante!

Really pretty game! It's full of very personal experiences that I can't really relate to, but I appreciate regardless. NPCs spouting long winded philosophical discussions tired me out after a while, and the conclusion of the "get help for" quests was kind of disappointing even if I was already expecting you wouldn't really be able to do that in a meaningful way since it's a grounded setting. I really liked the TV and Beatrice events, and the museum in the city had a nice vibe. Only got softlocked in one place.