Fruit Ninja, the popular franchise from Halfbrick Studios, has officially made its way into VR. Now available on Steam Early Access for HTC Vive, Fruit Ninja VR lets you slice and dice with the best of them using dual katana swords that are bound to have you playing the part of fruit assassin in your living room.
If you’ve played Fruit Ninja on mobile, you know the name of the game: cut down flying fruit, get combos, and avoid bombs. And while that’s great for killing time when you’re waiting at the dentist’s office, Fruit Ninja’s new VR edition demands something more. You need to stand up, act the part, and sweat for that high score—and it’s a hell of a fun workout.
Getting into the game, you’re given the choice of three familiar modes; Classic, Arcade and Zen. The game currently only offers a single location, a colorful cartoon mountain village with a pagoda featured front and center, but Halfbrick maintains that more will be available once the game leaves Early Access “until at least October 2016.”
My favorite mode was ‘classic’, where bombs start to mix in with your fruity targets. You’ll have to keep your ear out for the bombs’ hissing fuses—thanks to the game’s positional audio—and resist the urge to slice willy nilly into a dense cluster of pineapples and oranges. More than once I mistook a bomb for a plum or a kiwi, the two darker fruits closer to bomb-shape, and ending a perfectly good 9 fruit combo.
Fruit Ninja truly feels at home in virtual reality, and while none of the modes are new territory for the franchise themselves, playing them in VR adds the true physical element the popular mobile game has been missing. In fact, HTC Vive users have been wielding dual katanas and slicing fruit since April in the game ZenBlade (ex-Ninja Trainer), a game heavily inspired by Fruit Ninja. Just how the two will diverge will be something to watch for in the coming months.
In a perfect world, Fruit Ninja VR wouldn’t cost a cent, at least not in its current form. Like many single-player Vive games, it only offers a world leaderboard to drive competition, which I don’t come close to topping. While some studios charge for these sorts of simplistic experiences, you would hope that well-established studios would have more wherewithal to produce something a little more in-depth. That said, I bought Fruit Ninja VR and plan on keeping it to see how the updates will flush this out into a full game.
Fruit Ninja VR will be adding support for Oculus Rift, Google Daydream devices and PlayStation VR around Holiday 2016.
Halfbrick says the final game will contain the following features:
- Fun and challenging achievements.
- More locations to play in.
- A wide range of new weapons to use.
- New and unique gameplay experiences for VR.
- Playable characters from the Fruit Ninja universe and other franchises.
- PvP competitive multiplayer battles.
- Steam Workshop integration to support user-generated content.