Fruit Ninja VR does exactly what it says on the tin. For anyone who has played the delightfully simple mobile game, Fruit Ninja VR takes that same concept, swapping a touchscreen for two motion controllers. Oh, and a virtual reality headset – you’ll definitely need one of those!
Even if you’ve no prior knowledge of what Fruit Ninja is, it’s one of those games that doesn’t need to explain itself. Boot up one of the four modes and you’ll find yourself standing in a colourful cartoon dojo. Looking down at one’s hands is pretty much the go-to reaction with any VR experience and here you’ll see a finely honed katana. Two, if you happen to have a controller in each hand.
It doesn’t roll off the tongue as nicely, but “Fruit Samurai” would have been a more appropriate name here. By sweeping your blades back and forth, you’ll effortlessly cleave through a supermarket’s worth of fruit.
On PlayStation VR – the game is also out for HTC Vive and Oculus Rift – the Move controller tracking was pretty much one-to-one with no delay whatsoever, and allowed for plenty of fine nuance to your control. Being able to use the flat side of the blades to juggle apples and pears before dicing them feels incredibly satisfying. With a timing and precision you can even skewer bits fruits, creating a kebab that’s perfect for point-scoring.
Each of the four modes imposes different rules on the player. Classic mode gives you three lives, deducting one for every missed fruit and ending the round if you cut into a bomb. Arcade mode offers the same set up though instead of lives, you’re given 60 seconds to bag as many points as possible. Special fruits can chopped up for temporary bonuses and extended playtime. Zen mode, as the name suggests, is a bit more chilled out. Here you have an allotted time, but bombs have been removed from the equation.
Finally, there’s the new mode, Survival. In truth, it isn’t much of a departure from the other three, but instead of fruit shooting up from the ground, a series of drones will fire fruit directly at you. It’s easily the toughest of the bunch and one that demands sharp reflexes in order to get a big score.
No matter which mode you enjoy the most, they’re all pretty fun. They offer very little in terms of depth, however. Once the novelty of score chasing and trophies has worn off, there’s little else to keep you playing. That said, Fruit Ninja VR – like the original smartphone game – is something you can dip in and out of easily. If you’re planning a heavy VR session, it makes for the perfect warm up game.
Feeling shallow isn’t the only drawback. When stepping into the dojo, it often felt as though the fruit was too close, forcing players to swing at objects they couldn’t necessarily see off-screen. Also, while the tracking is quick and clean, sometimes it felt as though my blade would drift slightly from where my hand was actually positioned.
In trying to make the swordplay feel authentic, Halfbrick has also made the game frustratingly hard in spots. If your katana is skewed at a slight angle, there’s a chance it will swat a piece of fruit instead of slicing it. When approaching your personal best in Arcade, there’s nothing worse than batting a juicy plum out of reach, just because your wrist was angled ever so slightly in the wrong direction.
Fruit Ninja VR is a hoot. It’s one of those games you can pick up and play with zero preamble, making it great for the odd few minutes of downtime or passing a headset around between people. It’s just a shame Halfbrick didn’t look to expand it further, with three of the four modes being transplanted from the original Fruit Ninja.
Version tested: PlayStation VR