Spoiler alert! When it comes to dumb games, they don’t get much dumber than Fruit Ninja. We’re talking so dumb and pointless you won’t be able to imagine playing again, even when you’re on a roll. And then you’ll spot that icon and picture all that flying, spraying fruit and you’ll launch the app in spite of your reservations. And play far longer than you planned.
Crap. I have to stop writing this and play again. I can’t help myself.
Okay, I’m back. I still didn’t beat my best score; haven’t managed to do it in the last dozen tries.
For the longest time I stared at Fruit Ninja in all those “best of” games lists and asked myself, what do people see in this? Chopping up fruit with swords? How can a game get more stupid?
I told myself this was a game only teenage boys could love.
Still, I’m a reviewer, and I felt I owed it to readers to let them know if the game deserved its popularity, and I’m a big enough man to admit it does. There’s a teenage boy in me still waiting to play.
That being said, it’s still dumb. Fruit Ninja is without a doubt one of the biggest time wasters on the planet. Big league big time waster. In fact if I were to have to counsel students as to which is probably the bigger waste of time, pot or Fruit Ninja, I would have to say Fruit Ninja. But I’ve always been sympathetic to NORML.
In fact, I’m with Bill Maher. It needs to be legal, and if the Democrats would embrace pot the way Republicans embrace abortion, pot would be legal and society would be a lot better off.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think smoking pot is a healthy activity and I haven’t smoked pot (except in my second best dreams) in almost forty years. I love pot movies, but it’s ironic love. Pot smokers, even in movies, know they’re celebrating the joys of massive stupidity but they don’t seem to get the point: They’re just being stupid.
I once told a student if he ever saw a forty-year-old pothead he would know why I don’t smoke pot myself. He told me, “My dad’s a forty year old pothead. And I can find him at home every afternoon with pizza and pot. He gives me a hit and we both watch Scooby Do and Gilligan DVDs for hours.”
This was part of a conversation on why he might be failing my class and all of his others too (by the way).
That being said, Fruit Ninja is dumber. But it’s cheaper than pot and much harder to walk away from.
The premise is simple. You collect your sword from the dojo and slash fruit in half while it flies through the air. The more fruit you slice, the more points you score and the bigger the splatter on the wall.
The game is played in three modes. In Zen mode you have a minute to slice all the flying fruit you can. The more fruit you slice with a single chop, the more the points you earn, especially when you bag them in combination.
Arcade mode is tougher. You have only sixty seconds, and you have to avoid bombs, which deduct from your score (if you get them all, however, it erases most of the points you lost). Bananas unleash special play modes. You can freeze fruit to slow down play, enter frenzy mode where the amount of fruit multiplies, and also enter combination mode where the scores increase. At the end of each arcade round, you also earn points for additional accomplishments.
In arcade mode you have to dodge bombs and activate special combat modes by slicing through different bananas. In freeze mode, for instance, every thing slows down making the targets easier to hit.
The toughest mode (and the one with the highest scoring potential) is classic mode. Classic rounds aren’t timed. The fruit never stops coming. Unless, however, you miss three pieces of fruit or hit a bomb. After that it’s game over. Complicating matters is the fact that the bombs fly in the same paths as fruit and some fruit looks exactly the same when you’ve sliced it as when you didn’t.
You also win swag from the dojo as your skills improve. You can change the background, and add to your arsenal of swords. You can earn fire swords, ice swords, disco swords, piano swords, butterfly swords and an old glory sword that flashes the stars and stripes. None of the swords is any better at slicing fruit than another, but they’re sure pretty.
The dojo allows you to cash in your skills points for new blades and backgrounds. You can slash with everything from piano keys to the American flag.
You can also play against opponents, either head-to-head in split screen view, or online against a game center opponent. The more victories online, the better your ranking.
The game doesn’t stall or crash, the sounds are delightful, and the game design gorgeous. Nothing can top the visceral thrill of seeing fruit juice splash against the dojo wall, and hearing the fruit split apart and the pulp splatter.
Nothing can top the visceral thrill of seeing fruit juice splatter against the wall, except when you slice through four or five fruit with a single stroke.
But let’s be honest. This is one of those liberal games to help quell our distaste for virtual bloodletting. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize the fruit juice is a psychological substitute for blood, and that Fruit Ninja allows us to slice away without the guilt of realizing we are releasing violent urges we’ve been sublimating all day. You can’t kill fruit, after all.
But any liberal who knows their liberal biology also knows that fruit may be dead when we toss it, but it isn’t when we pluck it from the vine. And vegans and vegetarians must one day acknowledge that plants are as sentient as animals, just in different ways. Plants share a collective consciousness, their roots are their nervous systems. Kill a plant and you still kill, even if the chlorophyll-letting is virtual.
Trust me, though. When the fruit’s flying and the sword’s slashing, you won’t care. There will be nothing but you and the joy of the blade.
Jenny Manytoes rates Fruit Ninja
Jenny Manytoes would make biscuits all over Fruit Ninja. It’s a best buy. No contest.
That doesn’t make it any less dumb.