Halfbrick’s Fruit Ninja is one of those games that transcends market boundaries. Eminently casual in design by somehow retaining that one-more-go high score challenge appeal that sees the 8-bit era classics remain so appealing. Sitting alongside the likes of Angry Birds and Doodle Jump, Fruit Ninja could be considered a hero of the smartphone gaming revolution.
However, that was then, and here on Windows Phone 7 things could be considerably different. A gaming format aimed first at those already involved with gaming via the Xbox LIVE service and secondly at a more casual audience, you could easily be forgiven for thinking Fruit Ninja may not sit too well with the likes of The Harvest and Crackdown 2: Project Sunburst. But in reality, such games designed for the core market are becoming increasingly a minority product on Windows Phone 7, with the likes of Parachute Panic HD and Bejeweled Live proving popular once again.
Given that level of success for Fruit Ninja’s peers, it’s surely unsurprisingly to learn that Halfbrick have been just as successful with the conversion to Windows Phone 7 as they were on iOS devices. Fruit Ninja is worryingly addictive and an easy recommendation for near-anyone with the compatible handset, especially given its pocket money price.
The basic gameplay sees players attempt to slice fruit as it is launched from the bottom of the screen into the player area, and before it falls back out of play. Swiping with your finger, hitting three-or-more pieces of fruit in one stroke will award you a combo score on top of the point for each, but touching bombs at any point will significantly hinder your progress. The basic gameplay mode tasks you with achieving as high a score as possible while hitting less than three bombs (bones lives are awarded for passing benchmark scores).
Fruit Ninja mixes things a up a bit further with the additional gameplay modes. Zen mode lacks any bombs but is held by a strict time limit, while the Arcade mode offers bonus bananas that seriously alter any strategy the player has developed in other gameplay modes. Of course, the Achievements and Gamerscore available for Xbox LIVE players is wisely spread across all three modes, with some difficult yet reasonable tasks for completion, potentially extending the game’s lifespan by a significant degree.
Not exactly poor in its design, Fruit Ninja feature plenty of character. It simply doesn’t present any more than is required. An action-stained back wall and some splatters of juice from the polygon-based fruit are nice touches to a game that never really asks to be anything more, and doesn’t ever really need to be.
As with many titles on Windows Phone 7, you can come at Fruit Ninja from two different angles. Players can set their own targets, taking on Fruit Ninja as if it was a battle against themselves: a modern Tetris on a modern format. Xbox LIVE gamers will instead opt for the preset challenges of the Achievements, and Fruit Ninja is sure to keep them enticed until all 200 Gamerscore has been earned.