Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Fruit Ninja (Android)

Rating: 4 out of 5
Pros: Polished gameplay with achievements and unlockables
Cons: There's really not much to this simple game

Fruit Ninja is a simple little game from Halfbrick Studios for Android 2.1+ and iOS devices. Actually, simple is probably an understatement; the entire core of the gameplay consists of swiping your finger across the screen to chop fruit in half. However, for the $1.22 price tag ($0.99 for iOS) it offers some moderately fun casual gameplay that you can get through in short periods of time while you're out and about away from your primary gaming systems.
Basically fruit flies up from the bottom of the screen, does a little arc and then falls back off. You are tasked with slicing it out of the air before it falls again. There are three gameplay modes: Classic, Arcade and Zen. Classic mode is usually the longest lasting, as you can continue playing indefinitely as long as you have lives remaining (unless you slice a bomb, then it's game over). You start out with three lives, and you lose one each time a piece of fruit falls off the bottom of the screen. You can obtain an extra life for ever 100 points though, so missing a piece of fruit here or there isn't usually a deal breaker.
Arcade mode lets you play for exactly one minute, and the goal is to slice as much fruit as possible while avoiding bombs again. In Arcade mode you have some bonus banana fruit that appear to help you occasionally by either slowing down time, making a fruit frenzy (lots of fruit on the screen for easy points) or doubling your points for a while. Zen mode is similar to Arcade, except that you are given a minute and a half but there are no bananas or bombs to deal with. This makes it exceptionally easy to swipe your finger back and forth rapidly near the bottom of the screen and not miss any fruit -- though you do get a few less points this way because it's harder to get combos (multiple fruit in one swipe). If you let a pile of fruit get on the screen at once and then swipe it, the combos will net you a lot more points overall.
Other than that there isn't much to the game. There are a few unlockables like different colored blades for swiping with and different background images, as well as achievements and worldwide leaderboards. Some of the unlockables are easy, like slicing 250 watermelons in classic mode or getting a combo with a strawberry 40 times. Others are a little tougher, like getting a combo in Zen mode after the timer stops or cutting 125 fruit without missing in classic mode.
The graphics are rather simple, but they are shiny and sleek. There really isn't much in the way of animation aside from the spinning pieces of fruit, but some of the effects like the swipe and the splatter when you slice fruit are rather nice. The game has a polished look to it, and that's especially important when you're dealing with simple games. The sound effects are about what you would expect from swipes and splatters, and the music is surprisingly decent even though it does get repetitive.
The controls for the game are the same as for the menus; just swipe the fruit icons. It's pretty responsive on my Motorola DROID 4 and I haven't noticed any stuttering or slow down. A pretty decent game overall, I'm giving Fruit Ninja four stars and recommending it to anyone who likes casual puzzle-type games that are a little more involved and faster paced. If you're not sure, grab the add-supported Fruit Ninja Free; it's the same exact game with all the levels and unlockables intact. It just displays advertisements after each game, which is not obtrusive at all to the gameplay.

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