The iOS platform is no stranger to games in which you automatically move from left to right, and Fruit Roll is another entry in what has become one of the most popular genres on the App Store: the autorunner. It’d actually be more appropriate to call Fruit Roll an autoroller, as this game doesn’t have legs, literally or figuratively.
Fruit Roll doesn’t have many surprises, either. Its control scheme is pretty familiar: tap to jump. You can double jump, and you can also transform your fruit avatar to gain defenses against specific types of enemies that stand in your way. These are the few tools you’re given as you roll from left to right on various stages, collecting coins and fruits until you ultimately fall off of a cliff to another stage below. This is repeated endlessly until you collide with an enemy of the wrong color.
Especially in light of the recent success of Halfbrick’s Jetpack Joyride, another game of this type, it’s hard not to be disappointed by Fruit Roll. They have the same price tag of 99 cents, but there are huge gaps in quality between the two games. Jetpack Joyride has top-notch production value, and good reasons to return to the game again and again. Both of these qualities are missing from Fruit Roll.
The music in Fruit Roll sounds like it’s at a very low bitrate, which is all the more surprising when the game comes in well under the 20 MB over-the-air limit, but what’s more important is there’s little reason to return to the action. Jetpack Joyride has an upgrade shop and leveling system, as well as Game Center and OpenFeint support. Competing for a high score on Chillingo’s social network, Crystal, is the only reason to return to Fruit Roll.
Even if Crystal were more popular, Fruit Roll is not a game that tests your skills in the same way other auto-runners do. It’s pretty common for a run to end due to circumstances beyond your control. The situation we saw again and again was double jumping to get coins, only to land on an enemy that wasn’t on the screen until we’d exhausted any control we had over our avatar. As the levels aren’t hand-designed, it’s not as though we could learn from this mistake for our next run.
Fruit Roll may be okay for kids, but there’s no reason we can see to prefer it over Jetpack Joyride or any of the other, better games of this type on the App Store. Regardless of genre, there are a lot of free games out there of higher quality than this. Given that, there really isn’t enough in the Fruit Roll package to recommend a purchase.