|Developer: Halfbrick Studios|
|Price: $0.99 USD|
|Version reviewed: 1.3 (iOS 4.0 tested)|
– “I’m slicing fruit with my fingers!”
– “This game is so addicting, I just can’t stop playing!”
Those are two quotes that I’ve heard from people who have sampled the app on my iPhone. Without a doubt, this is one of my favorite games to play on the iPhone.
You play as a fruit crazed ninja (I prefer to think of myself as a vegan monkey ninja) who is tasked with slicing fruit as it is thrown in the air. You must hone your skills so that you can accurately chop each fruit as you see it. Think quickly enough, and you can get combos of multiple fruits, doubling the amount scored. But beware, the master samurai will sometimes throw you bombs, often with fruit mixed in, along with a rare fruit worth 50 points! Fulfill the quests he gives you and unlock new blades and new backgrounds. Slice quickly enough, and you might find yourself the new master samurai. Failure to strike quickly and accurately will yield you a week of scrubbing fruit goop off the walls and floors.
There are two game modes: Classic and Zen Mode.
In Classic, you have an unlimited amount of time to slice and dice, but drop any more than three fruits and you lose! It also gets tricky when you hear a fuse burning and a bomb is thrown in the air. While the fuse runs forever, if you accidentally hit it you lose! This is easy at first when there is only a bomb in the air, but it gets tougher when two, three, or four bombs are thrown up with a fruit or two in between. You’ll have to use precise surgical cuts to get that fruit without knicking the bombs.
In Zen mode, you’re given 90 seconds to chop as much fruit as possible. You can drop as many as you like, and best of all, there’s none of those pesky bombs! Think of it more as target practice, a chance to practice timing your cuts to get the most fruit in a single slice.
Just so you don’t waste your time chopping fruit and getting bored, the game also includes several unlockable items found in the Sensei’s dojo. These don’t do anything to upgrade your sword chopping prowess, they’re merely for aesthetic appeal. Currently, these are just different sword effects and backgrounds. Still, by setting a goal, it keeps you coming back for more. Any action you do in either classic or Zen mode counts toward achieving these items, with the exception of the “I Heart Sensei” background which must be unlocked in classic mode. Critical hits seem to be random, but I think there’s some secret to it. I tend to get them often during the first six fruits in classic mode. There’s also a rare fruit, which is of course, rare. It’s a spiky pineapple looking thing that travels across the screen, from right to left (at least it did the one time I got it). Slice it, and you’ll be rewarded with 50 points. For a touch of humor, the Sensei tells you your best combo in Zen mode and gives it a description, i.e. tasty, fruit basket, or Banana Cake.
Timing is the key to a high score! The fruits launch at different speeds and fall at different speeds, so the goal is to wait until as many as possible are in a line and slice. This can be in any direction – up, down, diagonally, left, right, arc, whatever you want so long as it’s a single swipe. Playing with the sound on is a good way to be aware of when the bombs are coming up. You’ll hear a gear ticking noise right before the bomb is tossed up. Keep an eye on the bottom of the screen too. Sometimes there’ll be a fruit hidden in a combo that you miss. A couple of extra frantic swipes never hurts.
iPhone 4 Compatibility
The game runs perfectly, although the graphics don’t yet take advantage of the new Retina display. There’s no multi-tasking support either, but the game does save itself if the app is terminated.
Fruit Ninja is a very entertaining game that is fun for anyone. At $0.99, it’s a steal. You’ll get endless hours of fun out of it and you’ll have your friends begging you to let them play it. It would be nice if they implemented sword/character upgrades, i.e. increased chances for critical hits and additional lives. While the graphics already look great, Retina-enabled graphics would be stunning. Overall, a resounding two thumbs up!
UPDATE: Halfbrick just released a minor upgrade, v 1.3.1. Two new blades have been added, Old Glory and Butterfly. Some bug fixes were also applied. Retina display support is said to be coming very soon along with an unveiling of “Mystery Mode”. An iPad version is also in the works.