The instructions for the original Fruit Ninja can be summed up in four words: “Slice fruit, avoid bombs.” The game has become an App Store classic for a reason– it’s a finely tuned, uber-casual game that you can hand to just about anyone, and they’ll be playing it competently in no time. The new Puss in Boots edition of Fruit Ninja feels in every way like the natural evolution of the franchise, except that it has an unnecessary association with a cartoon character.
The game is composed of two parts, Desperado mode and Bandito mode. Desperado is the standard high-scoring Fruit Ninja game we all know and love, with one or two insignificant additions. Bandito is a new progression-based mode, where you work your way through a series of time-based challenges that creatively riff on the Fruit Ninja formula.
So in one challenge you might have to slice fruit and avoid bombs as the items slide down wooden chutes. In another, a line of fruit appears on the screen to guide your finger in a random squiggle as you slice through the tail end of it. These challenges are a lot of fun, and they feel different enough from the standard Fruit Ninja gameplay to keep things interesting for quite a while. They’ve included a large number of variations, and because they appear at random, no two play-throughs of Bandito mode will be exactly the same.
As you play and re-play the game, you’ll gain achievements that unlock new blades and backgrounds. These are just new skins that don’t affect the gameplay, but they do add some extra incentive to keep on playing. Unfortunately, the pickin’s are pretty slim. You can only unlock five blades (a guitar pick, a firework, etc.) and four backgrounds (brick, stucco, etc.). Anyone hoping for a mile-long list of achievements a la Jetpack Joyride will be disappointed.
Shouldn’t you start with nine lives?
And as for the Puss in Boots aspects of the game, they feel pretty tacked-on. The feline appears on the menu screens, and you hear an occasional line of dialog from Antonio Banderas, but the gameplay is all Fruit Ninja and no fencing cats. That’s not a bad thing, but it makes us wonder why they bothered teaming up with DreamWorks in the first place, besides the obvious money/publicity aspect… Okay, so we do know why they teamed up with DreamWorks.
Fruit Ninja: Puss in Boots is a fun evolution of the classic formula that anyone who enjoyed the original will certainly enjoy. We wish they would’ve included some more unlockable goodies, but besides that, there’s really not much to complain about. Pick this one up for a fun, casual, and occasionally explosive experience.