Price: $0.99 Download on the App Store
So you say you always wanted to star in a Ginsu Knife commercial? Or your dream job at Benihana's was short-circuited by your aversion to meat? Never fear! Now there's Fruit Ninja, your iPhone virtual fruit-slashing wonder app!
This silly but fun little game tosses fruit into the air for you to slice in half with the swipe of your finger. The higher you score, the more fruit is in the air at once. If you miss a piece, it's a strike against you; three strikes and you're out.
One more thing: there are bombs thrown in with the fruit. Slice one of them, and you're done.
I played FN until my score was in the 170s—no modest total, though certainly not expert standing. (I know this, because Fruit Ninja is Open Feint enabled so I checked out the scores of other players.) During my games, I encountered no bonuses of any kind. There are no new weapons to buy, no new abilities to unlock, just an unending cavalcade of fruit and bombs.
Some game apps display such a deft understanding of both gamer psychology and iPhone playability that you can only stand back and applaud. Some games make you lose sleep, as you see the weapons or characters troop across your closed eyelids, your pulse still racing, even after you have put down the iPhone. Fruit Ninja is not one of them.
It's cute and it's fun, but don't expect to be transfixed for endless hours at a time. To be absolutely fair, Fruit Ninja is simple to learn, more difficult to master, and mildly maddening when a bomb blasts you out of a zero-strike run. Fruit Ninja plays smoothly, and the sound effects and bamboo flute music are competent if not inspiring.
In fact, it's the easy-to-pick-up and easy-to-put-down quality that will likely be the reason I keep Fruit Ninja on my iPhone for the long haul. I know that I can pull it out, slice a few dozen fruit while I'm waiting for the coffee to brew and then tuck it away again—all without any danger of being late for work in order to play just one more game.
Not every game should be as addictive as Plants vs Zombies. (Or soon the entire AppCraver team would end up in app rehab!)
If you like your games simple, cute, and reasonably fun, Fruit Ninja is a sweet way to spend an afternoon.