Fruit Ninja (known as Fruit Ninja HD on the iPad and Fruit Ninja THD for Nvidia Tegra 2 based Android devices) is a video game developed by Halfbrick. It was released April 21, 2010 for iPod Touch and iPhone devices, July 12, 2010 for the iPad, September 17, 2010 for Android OS devices. It was released for Windows Phone 7 on December 22, 2010. Also, in March 2011, versions for Samsung's Bada and Nokia's Symbian began to be distributed on their respective official application channels. In the game the player must slice fruit that is thrown into the air by making swiping the device's touch screen with their finger. It features multiple gameplay modes, leaderboards and multiplayer.
The game was well received by critics and consumers alike; as of September 2010 sales have exceeded three million downloads, with the total reaching four million in December 2010. Total sales across all platforms totaled over 20 million in March 2011. Reviewers felt that the low cost of the game combined with addictive gameplay yielded an excellent value. They further lauded the support and updates provided by Halfbrick, who brought online multiplayer, achievements and leaderboards to the game. Some critics felt the game's difficulty curve was uneven.
In Fruit Ninja the player slices fruit with a blade controlled via a touch pad. As the fruit is thrown onto the screen, the player swipes their finger across the screen to create a slicing motion, attempting to slice the fruit in half. Extra points are awarded for slicing multiple fruits with one swipe, and players can use additional fingers to make multiple slices simultaneously. Players must slice all fruit; if three pieces of fruit are missed the game ends, but upon reaching scores that are multiples of one hundred (i.e. 100, 200, 300, etc), the player will gain an extra life (unless they have not missed a piece of fruit already). Bombs are occasionally thrown onto the screen, and will also end the game should the player slice them.
A mode known as Zen mode allows players to seek high scores without the hindrance of bombs appearing on the screen. Also available is an Arcade mode in which players have only sixty seconds to achieve a high score. Special bananas are added to the standard fruit which have unique bonuses such as doubling points scored for a limited time, increasing the amount of fruit on the screen, or slowing down the movement of all fruit for a short period of time.
Multiplayer gameplay is supported on iOS devices through Apple's Game Center application. It allows for competitive gameplay and features leaderboards and achievements. During multiplayer matches the player's blade and fruit are highlighted in blue, while the opponent's are highlighted in red. White outlined fruit are considered neutral and may be claimed by either player. White outlined fruit are worth three points. Players must sliced their own fruit while avoiding their opponent's fruit. The iPad version of the game features enhanced graphics and also supports local multiplayer, with the screen being divided in half and each player controlling half of the screen. Players can also share high scores via Open Feint, Twitter and Facebook.
Development and marketingEdit
In an interview with GameSpot, Phil Larsen, Marketing Director at Halfbrick discussed the development of Fruit Ninja. He stated, "we tried a lot of different channels [...] indie games, PSN, XBLA, [...] and we basically did a lot of research about what was happening on iPhone and made a game that worked out pretty well." He then spoke of the company's brainstorming process for new games and said "Fruit Ninja came as part of [that] process, but we identified it as something special [and] decided to fast-track it through." Luke Muscat, Lead Designer for Fruit Ninja stated that he felt the uniqueness of the touch screen platforms and the short development cycle further motivated the Halfbrick to develop the game.
The game was first released on April 21, 2010 for iPod Touch and iPhone devices. It was later released as Fruit Ninja HD on July 12, 2010 for the iPad. On September 17, 2010 Fruit Ninja was ported to Android OS devices. On November 2, 2010 an Arcade mode was announced for Fruit Ninja which adjusted gameplay dynamics. It was released two days later on November 4, 2010. In December 2010 Lite versions of Fruit Ninja and Fruit Ninja HD were released for iOS devices and serve as a demo versions of the game. The game was also released for Windows Phone 7 on December 22, 2010. Phil Larsen stated that due to the quick-release nature of iOS applications that a different marketing strategy is required. "You could have a game rise to the top and fall off in three days. You want to get it up there at the right time and have the right backup plan to sustain it with updates and further press" he said. On January 21, 2011 an update was released for the Android version of the game which added Arcade mode, leaderboards, and an ice blade to the game. In March 2011 Halfbrick announced a Facebook port of the game, entitled Fruit Ninja Frenzy. While no release date has been announced, Halfbrick has confirmed the game will be free to play. They described the Facebook port as "60 second gameplay with many powerups, unlockables and achievements".
Fruit Ninja was well received by critics and consumers. The iOS version sold over 200,000 copies in its first month. In its third month over one million units had been sold. It passed two million units sold in September 2010, with the total reaching four million in December 2010. By March 2011 total downloads across all platforms exceeded 20 million. The Windows Phone 7 version was the top application downloaded the week of December 28, 2010. It was also named one of Time magazine's 50 Best iPhone Apps of 2011.
Reviewers were mostly unified in the overall fun factor in the game. Levi Buchanan of IGN stated that the game was "fun, fun, fun" and "an instant pleasure". Slide to Play's Chris Reed agreed and felt that the game was perfect for when a consumer has short moments of boredom. He likened this to playing the game while waiting in line for something and stated "it'll slice the time in half." Jim Squires of GameZebo felt the gameplay was simple and addictive. Geoff Gibson of DIYGamer stated that he could see Fruit Ninja "becoming the next “big thing” on the App Store." Several reviewers praised price and Halfbrick's commitment to continual updates to the game. GameZone's James Pikover stated "perhaps the best part is that this game isn’t even complete." He then spoke of the future game modes to be made available and lauded the value-to-price ratio. App Spy's Andrew Nesvadba agreed that Halfbrick's commitment and updates were "nothing short of spectacular." He also praised the game's graphics and said they were "luscious". The reviewer from BuzzFocus praised the game's inexpensive price and said consumers "should really be downloading this app right now."
The game's scoring system and difficulty were received to mixed commentary. Chris Reed of Slide to Play felt that there should have been an option to increase the game's difficulty curve. Andrew Nesvadba of App Spy felt that since the bonus items were random the ability to beat a high score was made more difficult. DIYGamer's Geoff Gibson also shared this sentiment. James Pikover of GameZone, Geoff Gibson of DIYGamer and Levi Buchanan of IGN all praised the game's ability to boast scores to friends and family via Facebook and Twitter.
- Besides Game Center, the app also uses OpenFeint.
- Since the release of Fruit Ninja other developers have made clone versions of the app, including "Veggie Samurai" and "Fruit Slayer"