I really wanted to love Fruit Blast.
If you’re not familiar with it, Fruit Blast is sort of a first-person shooter for your iPhone or iPod Touch. And it looks nice. The developers are Mark and Parker Lewis, a father and son team from California and avid BB gun enthusiasts, who wanted to create a non-violent shooting game based on ‘safe’ shooting targets. They brought their idea to Medl Mobile through their ‘App Incubator’ program, and developed it into the game that’s available today.
It’s a simple enough premise: a mischievous monkey is throwing fruit at you, and you use a blow-gun to shoot it down. The more fruit you shoot, the more points or ‘seeds’ you earn, which you can use to buy bigger and better weapons. If you miss, your screen becomes obscured with fruit pulp, although you have a limited-use squeegee with which to clear it away.
And to be perfectly honest, it’s a fun little game. While you’re playing it, you will almost certainly find yourself cheering yourself on when you make a tough shot, giggling at the destructive effects of the bigger weapons and swearing at the monkey when you miss. While you’re playing it, it’s a really, really fun game …
… with one exception: I absolutely hated the controls. The game uses your device’s accelerometer to control the crosshairs that determine where your shot goes, but –- at least for me –- I found that they were completely the opposite of what felt natural. Basically in order to move the crosshairs up, you tilt the top of the device towards yourself, to move it down, you tilt it away. Whenever I was playing it, it felt really, really counterintuitive, almost to the point of discomfort. I’m the first to admit this is a personal preference, and your mileage may, as always, vary — but in this case it was practically a dealbreaker.
The other downside was that it just wasn’t addictive. Two of my favourite iOS games in 2011 have been Jetpack Joyride and Temple Run and both kept my attention with a series of challenges that I just had to try and beat. Fruit Blast doesn’t have that, and that was a big strike against for me.
Fruit Blast is by no means perfect, but it’s not a terrible game either. There’s plenty of room to improve, but if you can look past its flaws there is fun to be had.
Wired: Lots of fun as a FPS for kids who are too young for the violent games, or if the violent stuff isn’t your cup of tea.
Tired: Infuriating controls and not what you’d call addictive.
Fruit Blast costs $1.99, and is available for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad (so long as you don’t mind running in the half-size window, or the slightly pixellated upscaled version) and, whereas it says it just needs iOS 4.0 and later, my poor old iPhone 3G running 4.2.1 couldn’t handle it at all.
Note: GeekDad received a review copy of the app.