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Review: Fruit Ninja for iPhone, a perfect blend of violence and vitamins

The only things that ninjas hate more than pirates are fruits, and Fruit Ninja is all about letting you in on their hatred. I think the simple slicing and dicing mechanics are the perfect blend of violence and vitamins, but don’t tell the ninjas that: they’d be so pissed if they realized I was playing this on an Apple device.

There’s Juice Everywhere!
The game itself is quite simple: fruits are tossed onto the screen and you swipe your finger across them to slice the bastards in half. Watermelons and other juicy fruits positively explode with juice (except for bananas — stupid bananas), and the game even takes the angle of your slice into account, so you’ll see fruits fall apart in the appropriate way. You can actually “slash” with most any kind of gesture, but short, quick slashes are the most fun by far. In a rather cute extension of that concept, even the main menu options are activated with slicing gestures (although the sound and music toggles are still just buttons).

The game awards you one point per fruit slain, although sometimes you’ll gain 10 from random critical hits (resulting in extra juice spilled on the wall). High scores are determined by lucky critical hits, as well as how long you survive. One out of your three lives is deducted every time you let a fruit fall from the screen in one piece, but you can also lose them all at once by accidentally slicing a bomb open. That’s right: in addition to all of the fruit flying around on-screen, the game will throw an increasing numbers of bombs, forcing you to cleave ever more carefully as your score climbs higher.  Kudos points go out to developer Halfbrick Studios for establishing an interesting, but fair mechanic — and for hiring a juggler willing to throw fruits and explosives for the entertainment of others.

As great as the game is now, I do look forward to the time when the game allows you to rack points up a little faster. Executing an amazing horizontal slash that cleaves four watermelons in half will still net you only four points — an unfitting reward for an amazing display of ninja skill. A standard combo or multiplier points system would probably work wonders, although the developers might something even more clever in mind in a future update (which has been promised).

Scores
The game concludes every match with a tally of your score, as well as a random fruit fact from your Sensei. Scores can be broadcast over Facebook or Twitter, and Fruit Ninja uses OpenFeint for its global scoreboards.

Conclusion
I’ve had a few days to play with a preview copy, and, overall, I’ve found my sessions of Fruit Ninja to be both satisfying and refreshing. Fruit Ninja is also the only game that comes to mind when it comes to such incredibly visceral, yet non-violent action (it’s the veggie burger of the gaming world). The game itself costs less than a bundle of (stupid, juiceless) bananas at just $0.99, and it’s well worth the price if you’re looking for another quick game to kill time (and fruit) with.

Fruit Ninja is available for $0.99 on the App store.
The game was provided by Halfbrick Studios for review on Just Another iPhone Blog. For further information regarding our site’s review policies, please see the “About” page.

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