Viveport Review: Fruit Ninja VR
The fruit-slicing, bomb-avoiding mobile smash hit is back and more immersive than ever.
By Bill Loguidice, Greenlit Content
When it was first released back in 2010, Fruit Ninja took the mobile gaming world by storm. From there, it received ports to various other platforms, including Microsoft's Xbox 360 console with Kinect, and even the arcade.
In most versions of the game, players use a touchscreen to slice and splatter fruit, all while avoiding bombs, which are explosive when touched. In the Xbox 360 version, Fruit Ninja Kinect, the Kinect’s cameras make your arms the blades. While all of these previous Fruit Ninja experiences were an undeniable blast to play, there was always a certain sense of immersion lacking. Fortunately, Fruit Ninja VR takes the lessons learned from these past versions of the game and uses the unparalleled immersive possibilities of virtual reality to create the ultimate Fruit Ninja experience.
Each Vive controller represents a katana (sword) whose blade you use to slice, juggle, and skewer various types of fruit, including watermelons, pineapples, and oranges. The more fruit you can hit at once, the better your combo bonus. Naturally, you also need to deflect or avoid any bombs.
There are four different modes to choose from: Arcade, Classic, Zen, and Survival. In Arcade Mode, you have to slice as many fruit as you can in 60 seconds, using combos and special bananas to rack up huge scores. In Classic Mode, it's the original Fruit Ninja experience with simple fruit-slicing and bomb-avoiding fun. In Zen Mode, which doubles as a practice mode, you have 90 seconds to slice as many fruit as you want with no need to worry about bombs. In Survival Mode, the difficulty is ramped up as you face off against flying cannons, and, just like in Classic mode, three strikes (misses) mean you're out.
As you would expect for this type of game, it's best played standing in a room-scale environment. You'll only need enough space to comfortably move your arms and controllers in a roughly 180-degree arc in front of you, but of course you'll also occasionally be raising your arms above you when the action gets heated, so for those with low ceilings, consider this your warning. Most modes also make great workouts.
Audio-visually, Fruit Ninja VR is on point. The same type of satisfying music and sound effects from the other versions of the game complement the bright, cel-shaded graphics. Every object, be it the flying fruit or the buildings in the environment, is well rendered and easy to identify.
If this were the first release of the game, Fruit Ninja VR would have likely caused the same type of sensation it did when it debuted on mobile devices all those years ago. As it is, some of Fruit Ninja's potential impact is a bit muted by the fact that we're already about a dozen platforms in.
Despite its familiarity, Fruit Ninja VR has proven to be a sublime virtual reality experience, creating the best and most immersive version of the game to date. With its proven, short-form gameplay paired with an excellent physics model, super responsive motion tracking, and polished audio-visuals, Fruit Ninja VR is the type of game that can please virtual reality enthusiasts of every stripe.
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