This review is based on the PlayStation VR version of Fruit Ninja VR. It is also available for HTC Vive and Oculus Rift.
My virtual feet are covered in fruity wreckage, my real arms are tired, and my make-believe ninja persona has a growing ego. This is Fruit Ninja VR, the PlayStation VR version of the wildly popular mobile game that throws you and some large cutlery up against a seemingly never-ending supply of ripe produce.
The best way I can think of to describe this game to newcomers is that it's like a slot machine where you won't lose next month's rent. It involves colorful fruit, you can see your score accumulating at the top of a large pagoda in front of you, and the sounds are designed to let your brain know you're a good ninja when you do something right. The sum of these factors equals a simple yet addictive game that everyone who tries has fun at.
For example, I watched a near-80-year-old sit in a chair and swing away with the Move controllers while gleefully laughing. Personally, my gaming habits involve more mature content — shooters with lots of blood and guts, RPGs with adult storylines — but I nevertheless enjoyed Fruit Ninja VR and only stopped each session when it was time to towel off. You're going to get a workout swinging two swords whether you choose to sit or stand while you play.
To keep players interested, there is a global leaderboard with stiff competition, as well as a record of the highest score achieved on your PS4. It would be nice to see a party mode where you can set a leaderboard based on how many people are with you. Bite-sized gaming sessions and frantic action make for a fantastic group game.
Four ways to cut the fruit
As it stands now, there are four game modes to choose from; content would be a considered light if it wasn't for the $15 price tag. Your main objective is to rack up as many points possible by stringing together combos; timing is especially important in this game, as fruit is launched at different times but will usually line up at some point. Patience and precision are key in all game modes.
This game mode gives you 60 seconds to slice your way through as much fruit possible. You must avoid bombs lest you suffer a penalty, glowing peaches add time to your total, and special bananas grant slow motion, frenzies, or double points for a set amount of time. When you hit a Frenzy banana, two cannons on either side of you start launching copious amount of fruit in a line for you to hit with a combo.
You start out slow here — one fruit at a time is launched — but you soon start seeing bombs mixed in with the offering. Anytime you let a fruit hit the ground or you detonate a bomb, you will receive a strike. Three strikes and guess what? You're out. Large red Xs show up on the pagoda in front of you so you can keep track of where you are. This game mode is very challenging and will have you working up a sweat in no time.
If you want to sit back and enjoy slicing fruit without explosions or attacking robots, select Zen mode. It is almost the same as Arcade mode, except you start with 90 seconds and there are no bombs. There are also no fruit cannons to your left and right, so you can focus on chaining combos with what is right in front of you. This is a great option for practicing your skills and for anyone with limited space.
This is arguably the most difficult way to play Fruit Ninja VR. Automated, flying fruit launchers hover over the courtyard and shoot bundles of fruit at you from different directions. Like Classic mode, you have three strikes before you're out. Survival mode isn't bad at the beginning, but once you have fruit flying at you from all directions, you'll understand how much of a workout this game can be. This is the ultimate challenge for any true fruit ninjas out there.
Unlike some other sword-wielding games for VR, here you can use both edges of the blade to cut fruit and you can use the broad side of the blade to knocks bombs out of the way. The latter is quite difficult and will take some practice before you stop seeing explosion right in front of you.
You can also skewer fruit if you hit it just right with the point of your katana, which is a testament to how well the Move controllers work in this game. Slicing through fruit feels natural and it always slices right where you hit it. There's no jarring animation to remove you from the immersion, and you'll immediately notice how great it feels to simply cut open a watermelon or coconut.
Fruit Ninja VR is an addictive, simple game for all ages. You can sit back and relax, stand up and sweat, or play anywhere in between those two extremes. The combination of bright colors, rewarding sounds, and precise motion tracking with the Move controllers makes this game really hard to put down. With games lasting on average only a couple of minutes, you'll be saying "Just one more time" over and over as you climb your way to the top of the ninja leaderboard. At only about $15, we can't help but recommend Fruit Ninja VR.
- Move controllers translate exceptionally well to katanas
- Bright, colorful gameplay
- Physics on point
- Needs a few more game modes to round out content