TwinBee (JP) is a cartoon-themed vertical-scrolling shoot 'em up game developed by Konami. It was originally released as an arcade game in 1985 in Japan. Along with Sega's Fantasy Zone, released a year later, TwinBee is credited as an early archetype of the "cute 'em up" type in its genre. TwinBee was ported to the Famicom in 1986 and the Famicom Disk System in 1988, with other ports and appearances in compilations following soon after.
The original game was released outside Japan for the first time in the Nintendo DS compilation Konami Classics Series: Arcade Hits. This is one example of the staggering number of ports the game has subsequently been released on over the next decades, including Famicom Mini and 3D Classics throwbacks for the Game Boy Advance console and eShop online service on the 3DS, respectively. On top of those, the Famicom and MSX versions of the game have been re-released via the Virtual Console service on the Wii U, and the arcade version is available on the Switch as part of Hamster's Arcade Archives series.
Whilst most versions of the game are exclusive in Japan, the aforementioned 3DS and Switch versions are available across all regions.
TwinBee can be played by up to 2-players simultaneously. The player takes control of a cartoon-like anthropomorphic spacecraft, with Player 1 taking control of TwinBee, the titular ship, while Player 2 controls WinBee. The game control consists of an eight-way joystick and two buttons: one for shooting enemies in the air and the other for dropping bombs to ground enemies (similarly to Xevious).
The player's primary power-ups are bells that can be uncovered by shooting at the floating clouds where they're hidden. If the player continues shooting the bell after it appears, it will change into one of four other colors: the regular yellow bells only grant bonus points, the white bell will upgrade the player's gun into a twin cannon, the blue bell increases the player's speed (for up to five speed levels), the green bell will allow the player to create image copies of its ship for additional firepower, and the red bell will provide the player's ship a barrier that allows it to sustain more damage. The green and red bells cannot be combined together. Other power-ups can also be retrieved from ground enemies such as an alternate bell that gives the player's ship a three-way gun, a star which eliminates all on-screen enemies.
As with other games of the same genre, getting shot by a single enemy bullet will cause the player to lose a life. However, if the bullet only strikes either side of the ship instead, the player's ship will only lose one of its arms. If the player's ship loses both arms, it will lose the ability to throw bombs and the player must wait for an ambulance to arrive. The player must navigate their ship to the ambulance to repair their arms. However, if the player's ship loses both arms for the second time, no ambulance will arrive.
If two players are playing at the same time, they can align their ships vertically or horizontally together to perform more powerful attacks.