There’s a sequel to Fruit Ninja now. Remember Fruit Ninja? It was 2010, you’d just got your first touchscreen phone, and you were desperate for anything to need it for. There, for just three little dollars, was this game about swish-swooshing about the shiny surface, chopping up fruit until fruit could be chopped no more. It proved so astoundingly popular that in just two years it had been downloaded 300 million times.
This piece originally ran on Kotaku Australia in November 2021. It has been updated and retimed as a weekend read.
Now, if you were paying attention, you’ll have noticed the strangest little detail above. No, not that enough copies were downloaded for every man, woman and child in North America to have one each — that it cost money. Remember that? No? Well let me remind you: in the Olden Days, games on your electronic telephone could be purchased for your homeland’s currency, after which you then owned the game in its entirety, and were never asked to pay for it again!
Now you’re back up off the floor, let me comfort you by reassuring that this decade-later sequel is the much more familiar price of “free, but.” Beyond that, at first glance it’s awfully familiar.
At second glance, you’ll notice the 350,000 different menus and sections and modes and challenges and powerups and meters and events and minigames and levels and, er, fruit facts. There’s still a Zen mode, there’s “Classic” mode for you Greek and Roman scholars (sub, please check), and of course there’s multiplayer, where you can find out which of your friends also downloaded Fruit Ninja 2, and then struggle to look at each other in the eye once looking at other people in the eye becomes a thing we get to do again.
There’s an “armory” where you can upgrade your bonus items, using — you guessed it — in-game currency. The game directs you down this path within the first 15 minutes of playing, like an eager puppy that just can’t wait to take you to the pile of shit it just laid. There are ninja skins to choose (buy), that change the look of the character you absolutely never see while actually playing the game. There are “quests” to complete that can involve upgrading such items (or indeed to “water 10 plants”…). You can upgrade the blade you don’t use to chop the fruit, because it’s your finger you use to chop the fruit. You cannot upgrade your finger. Aaaaaaaand there’s a “Season Pass,” because that’s a thing in games now, right, which lets you spend money for “Premium” or “Premium + 10 Levels,” without bothering you with pesky details about what those actually are.
Of course, pretty much all this is true of the “10th Anniversary Edition” evolved free-to-play form of the first Fruit Ninja, although that included such ugly horrors as “free” continues if you watch an ad. The sequel seems to have ditched that, at least in my short time spent with it, which I guess is good? Just two minutes spent with the original game this afternoon and I was getting ads when I changed menus, which really can go fuck itself into the sun.
The big change is the introduction of real-time multiplayer, and, um, I guess if you thought Fruit Ninja lacked for not swiping at fruit at the same time as a stranger, that’s all fixed now! Whomever I competed against won’t have believed his luck as I struggled to get my Pixel 3a XL to take screenshots as I was playing.
Beyond that, there’s very little immediately improved between the two versions. The fruit art (yes, I wrote “fruit art”) doesn’t seem any different to me, the sound effects seemingly the same ones. The backgrounds are more interesting in Fruit Ninja 2? There are some minigames, and, OK, there’s apparently the Fruitar Hero rhythm game mode, and kudos for that. However, I’ve not been able to find it yet, so screw ‘em.
That’s all your Fruit Ninja news. See you in ten years.
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