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Can I Get a Smoothie? Fruit Ninja [Review]

FruitNinja000Seriously, after playing this game for the last hour or so, I am dying to get my hands on a smoothie. Mango, pears, strawberries, pineapple, apples, oranges… damn! And Jamba Juice doesn’t open for another couple hours either. I’m living in my own personal hell right now, brought on by the craving inducing, lip smacking Fruit Ninja, by Halfbick.

Fruit Ninja, which was released earlier this week, is a new iPhone/iPod Touch game where your entire goal is to slice and dice various fruits as they get thrown up onto your screen. There’s really not much more too it beyond that. However, I will say that what is there, is both incredibly satisfying and addictive. Given the right amount of media exposure I could see this game becoming the next “big thing” on the App Store.

Gameplay

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As I mentioned above there’s really only one thing you do in Fruit Ninja, and that’s slice up fruit as they pop up over the games bottom portion. From there it’s a very simple swish with your finger — which was implemented really well, might I add — and the fruit goes “splish!” and falls in two pieces back from whence it came. This is incredibly satisfying to do. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it therapeutic, but coming home from a stressful day, popping open Fruit Ninja, and taking a swipe at various fruits really eases the tension y’know?

Of course it’s not really as simple as that. As much as I’d have liked a mode where I just got to slice fruit all day long, Halfbrick did build in some challenges (and rightfully so!). Every once in a while — sometimes more often than not — a bomb will be thrown up in the mix with all the fruit. Slice this and your done. Game over. It’s time to start over.

Additionally, if more than 3 fruit don’t get sliced then you are also finished. This makes it challenging enough so you can’t just completely ignore the game, but, at the same time, it’s not so challenging that you’ll be starting over every 30 seconds, one can easily last a few minutes each game.

That said, however, it’s not a total loss if you get two strikes. Unlike with many other games at that point you aren’t simply waiting for the inevitable. Given a little luck, you can get a “critical strike” which will give you 10 points and one of your strikes back. My only problem with this aspect is that it’s completely random. I’d have much rather seen it implemented where if you slice four fruits at once it would trigger the critical, or something like that. With it the way it is now, I’m basically left praying at the two strikes mark.

Style

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.I wasn’t joking above when I said I want a smoothie. I really, really want one now. That’s because the way the fruit splatters just looks so damn tempting. I mean, you slice the fruit in half, and you actually get to see the fruit juice splatter all over the wall behind it. Mmmmm… delicious. If that’s not a testament to the game’s graphics then I don’t know what is.

As for the audio, the menu music is kind of forgettable, but the “splish” sounds from slicing up the fruit is really good. While I’ve never actually taken a katana and physically sliced up fruit in this manner with it, I’d have to say, I’m pretty sure that’s what it would sound like.

Story

Ninjas hate fruit.

Everything Else

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Fruit Ninja uses Open Feint, which, for those who haven’t used it before, is a pretty amazing “game enhancer”. Think Xbox Live but for the iPhone. So with Open Feint, Fruit Ninja comes with achievements, leader boards, and all those other niceties we’ve come to expect out of our video games over the last couple years.

For $0.99 there’s so much your getting here with Fruit Ninja. While the basis for the game might seem really simplistic — and it really, kind of, is — the amount f addictiveness that’s contained within is easily enough to keep you coming back for a long time.

Everybody has that one iPhone game that just keeps them coming back. For a long time, for me, that game was Canabalt. Now, however, I’m pretty sure I’m moving on to fruitier pastures.

[buy from Apple's App Store]

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