WP7 – Fruit Ninja Review
Who would have thought slicing different kinds of fruit could be so addictive? Not I that’s for sure. However, there’s a reason why Half Brick’s Fruit Ninja is available on iOS and Android devices and that’s because it’s just a whole lot of fun in short gaming bursts. Now that it has been released for Windows Phone 7 is it just as good? To make a long story short, of course it is but don’t expect anything different if you already have it for other platforms.
As mentioned, the goal in Fruit Ninja is deceptively simple. Various types of fruit will be tossed onto the screen by some unseen robotic throwing machine (okay, I’m just guessing here) and it is up to the player to swipe them with their finger to cut them in half causing some seriously satisfying splatter to paint the background. Obviously, skewering fruit is only going to hold a player’s interest for so long and luckily the game introduces bombs which occasionally are thrown into the mix. Slicing a bomb blows it up and immediately ends the game so the goal is basically to keep slicing fruit while avoiding setting bombs off. This is much easier in theory since the game has a tendency to throw bombs directly in the path of the fruit making it challenging to hit the right target.
Adding to the difficulty is the fact that the game only allows you to let three fruits drop off the bottom of the screen before it is game over. While three lives sounds like a lot there is going to be a period of frustration especially when the game begins to get tougher as tons of fruit is thrown onto the screen along with a few bombs. It is very much conceivable to be mowing everything down and for one big slip up to end the game in a heartbeat. Still, this is part of the game’s charm especially once players get into the rhythm as there’s something just innately satisfying in using one’s finger to slice open five or six fruit at once.
Slicing fruit one at a time is not only laborious but will quickly lead to game over especially as multiple fruits fly across the screen. Therefore, players will realize that in order to succeed that they need to hit as many fruit as possible with each swipe. Not only does this clear the screen faster but it also increases combos and scores which in turn unlock achievements.
The game ships with three separate modes:
Classic: Continuously slice fruit with a three missed fruit limit. Hit a bomb and its game over.
Zen: Slice fruit with a 90 second time limit, no lives and no bombs.
Arcade: Slice fruit for 60 seconds to build a high score. Bombs lower score. At the end of the game special bonus points are awarded for attaining certain goals.
The game also ships with a dojo option containing sensei’s swag that are a bunch of rewards that the player earns naturally throughout the game. Some of these rewards change the original wood background to a ying and yang symbol or change the colour of the swiping blade effect. As a whole these don’t have any effect on gameplay but give the player extra bonuses to obtain.
While I can’t say that Fruit Ninja is taxing the graphic capabilities of any Windows Phone 7 device they are incredibly fluid and well animated even when things become hectic. Sound effects are similarly decent with appropriate squishing sounds whenever fruit is split in two. However, the same issues that plague other WP7 games is here as well and that revolves around making sure your finger doesn’t stray onto any of the Windows capacitive buttons which immediately boots you back to the tile screen. Gamers with an LG Optimus 7 won’t have this issue with the physical buttons but I admit that sometimes when I get too involved in a game that I tend to go a bit crazy with the finger swipes! Another issue I encountered is just personal taste as I have a shikomi screen guard ontop of my Samsung Focus whose textured gluey feel seemed to wreak havoc on my constant finger swipes as a few of them were not picked up leading to game over situations. This is the same problem I encountered playing games like Habor Master which makes me wish I had installed a glossy screen guard instead.
Once again, since this is an Xbox Live enabled product the fact that achievements are built into the game adds significant replayability although some of them are real time sinks such as slicing 10000 total fruit or some that rely on a bit more luck than I would like such as performing six critical slices in one round in classic mode. Options are pretty much standard for any WP7 mobile game with the ability to turn audio on or off or the choice of five different languages (English, French, Italian, German, Spanish).
Once a player is hooked with Fruit Ninja’s gameplay it is a very hard title to put down as it has managed to illicit a feeling in gamers to keep pushing forth with one more game to beat his/her high score. That said, it is too bad that the game isn’t updated with a few more bonus options such as backgrounds or different types of fruit but I suppose that is best left for the inevitable sequel or the Kinect version. Till then, keep those katanas sharp since, as the game keeps reminding the player, “all ninjas hate fruit!”
Final Score: ***
Reviewed On: Samsung Focus
Date: May 12, 2011
Reviewed Version: 1.1
Size: 10 MB
Developer: Inhouse/Half Brick