Ever since playing and discovering Jetpack Joyride I have decided that Halfbrick Studios are synonymous with fun and quality – two key things I look for in mobile gaming. I’ll play my console games for the rich, absorbing experiences at home and tend to save the arcade style games for my iPhone travelling to work or whenever I have a spare 10 minutes waiting for something or someone. Halfbrick however have created such an addictive and absorbing game with Fruit Ninja that this line I used to have is becoming increasingly blurred.
As all great games tend to be, (Sonic the Hedgehog, Mario Bros.) Fruit Ninja is incredibly easy to pick up and play by almost any age group. The crux of the game is to slice fruit as it appears on the screen aiming for the highest score possible. That’s basically it. With a sweep of the finger you can slice and dice mango’s, peaches, limes, bananas and all sorts of fruit that gets thrown your way. Slicing through each of the fruits is very satisfying as both the sounds and the way the fruits split are realistic enough to give you a mini reward with each carefully executed slash – Coconuts have that splitting sound you would expect whilst oranges are a little more ‘squishy’.
Where is the challenge you may say? Firstly, in the main mode ‘Classic’ you are only allowed to miss three fruit with your sword and then it’s game over, so you have to have a keen eye. As time passes more and more fruit appear on the screen to slice requiring your eyes to track all the fruit quicker and quicker. The other main obstacle are the bombs. These will appear along with the fruits but you can’t hit them and must avoid slashing them – if you do it’s an instant ‘Game Over’. Avoiding the bombs while slicing the fruit can be very tricky indeed so luckily there are some power ups which can help you in your fruit slicing mission.
- Bomb Deflects allows you to deflect a bomb with one of your slashes allowing you to essentially avoid that immediate ‘Game Over’. These are available in batches of 3 from ‘Gutsu’s Cart’ which is essentially the Fruit Ninja store where you can spend in-game earned star fruit you’ve collected by playing.
- Berry Blasts are strawberries that appear at random and explode when you slash them damaging nearby fruits or bombs and are very helpful when you are feeling a little overwhelmed! They are also worth 5 points and appear throughout each separate game (depending how many you’ve bought) so are good for racking up the points.
- Peaches can be bought to increase your time in either Arcade mode or Zen mode allowing you to slice for longer and build up a higher score. For every one you slice you’ll earn another two seconds to your countdown timer. I’ll be explaining these other modes shortly.
Zen mode is a separate mode in which you have a timer of 1.30 seconds to slice as many fruit as you can. It’s more relaxing as there are no bombs to contend with and the fruit comes much faster at the beginning. I view this mode as a training mode of sorts to practice combos (i.e. slicing more than two fruits in a row with one slash) and they even have bird chirping to make it more relaxing. There are also no penalties for missing fruits.
The other main mode is Arcade mode with bombs but no missed fruit penalties. You only have 60 seconds to slice as much fruit as you can but whereas in Classic mode hitting a bomb would end the game, here it reduces time off the clock. This mode is probably the most fun as there are unique power ups that appear as you are slicing which can slow down time, double your score or cause a lot of fruit to appear at once – it’s a feast for the eyes at times. It’s worth noting that the power ups you buy from the store apply in all the modes.
A a reward for being the best ninja slicer in the dojo you get access to multiple swords which are aesthetic changes only but liven up your slicer. Some turn your weapon into a dragon whilst other give you an ice cool blade. You also unlock different backgrounds as well as in game achievements and trophies.