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Quick Look: Fruit Ninja for iPhone

Rating 4.00 out of 5
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Can someone explain to me why a game about ninja slicing fruit is so addictive?  No seriously, anyone?  When I first read about Fruit Ninja I was skeptical, and I didn’t really even want to review it.  I finally caved under the pressure, though, as it seemed like a lot of people were enjoying it immensely.  Well, there’s that and the fact that the promo video with grown men dressed in rejected Fruit Of The Loom costumes was amusing.  Anyway, I have to say that I am now officially a fruit hating ninja, and I love it!  I do hope they expand some on the game play in the near future (which I have rumors is going to happen), but for now it’s just fine the way it is.

Apparently ninja hate fruit, or so Halfbrick Games would have you believe.  And not just certain ninjas, mind you.  All ninjas hate fruit.  As such, you’ve taken it upon yourself as a ninja to slash as many fruit as you can.  The trick is that you can only slash them while they’re in your little window of visibility, so you need to make sure you get them before they fall back off the screen.  You start with three “lives”, and each time an uncut fruit falls out of site you lose a life.  At 100 points you get a life back, but I haven’t made it to 200 yet to see if this additional life comes at every 100 points or not.  I hope so, because if I ever make it to 200 I’m sure I’ll need the extra life.  Note that you can’t have any more than 3 lives at a time.

Stunning Splatter

Stunning Splatter

To slash a fruit you just drag your finger over it in – you guessed it – a slashing motion.  If you can slash multiple fruit at once that’s great, because it clears them out more quickly.  Unfortunately you don’t get any extra points for that.  In addition to the fruit there are bombs.  Bombs are bad.  If you accidentally slice a bomb your game is over, no matter how many lives you have left.  I suggest you stay away from them.  The game is OpenFeint enabled, and there are currently 16 achievements you can earn.  There’s also a global leader board, which right now I’m not even close to being at the top of.  Give me time, though, and I might make my way half way up the ladder or so.

Now do you see why I don’t understand the addiction?  It’s not that what’s there isn’t fun, it’s just that there’s not a whole lot there.  Here are a couple of suggestions to bolster game play.  First off, we need some power ups and some more bad things.  Diversity is your friend.  Second, an “extreme points” mode where you can get more points for multiple fruit slashed at once would be great.  Of course, this would require a separate leader board, because you don’t want to mix the two types of scores.  Finally, a mode where you can throw some fruit up and slash it to make “art” that you could save and email to friends would be pointless but nifty.

Visually, this is a game that Gallagher would approve of.  The background is a nicely detailed wooden wall, and as you slice the well rendered 3D fruit they splash against said wall.  Sadly the stains fade away – it would be nice if there were an option to not have the game clean up after itself.  Still, for the moments the splatters are there it looks really cool.  The only thing missing is a mode where you tap the fruit and a mallet comes out to hit them.  Anyway, I also like the effect when you accidentally slice a bomb, though I really hope I don’t see that very often.

Beautiful Fruit

Beautiful Fruit

The sound effects are good, but I do wish the different fruit sounded a bit different when being sliced.  The only one that seems vary greatly is the banana, which doesn’t make much noise at all.  The background is actually the best part of the audio, with chirping birds and a light rainfall.  If it weren’t for the fact that I can see the iPod I might think I was outdoors!  The only thing missing is some cool oriental music playing in the background.  It could be soft, naturally, so that it doesn’t overpower the rain, but it should be there.

Well, there you have it.  The short and sordid story of deadly assassins and their disdain for nature’s snack foods.  If you’ve been hesitant like I was to try this game, don’t hesitate any longer.  It’s already a blast, and if the developers add to it I’m sure it will only get better.  It’s time you showed us what your ninja fruit slicing skills were made of.

Final Verdict: Recommended
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