Prepare to get blown up ... a lot. But that's OK, because Halfbrick has created one beautiful branded game in Fruit Ninja: Puss in Boots ($.99 iPhone; $1.99 iPad) for iOS devices. It's easy to consider this version a direct sequel to the original Fruit Ninja for how fresh it feels and the bevy of new concepts it brings to the table. And it's damn difficult--alright, Arcade Mode was getting a bit soft anyway.
Those looking for a challenge will feel right at home in Puss in Boots (PiB) in both of its gameplay modes: Desperado and Bandito. The former, unfortunately, isn't much more than your standard Classic Mode from the original. Fruit is flung, you're given just three hearts that disappear when you miss fruit and slicing a bomb means game over. However, there are these magic beans that are thrown from time to time and--if you have all three hearts--you'll score 25 points for chopping them, but they can also restore hearts when you're low.
Of course, there is a number of new backgrounds to unlock and fresh blades with amusing effects, like the Guitar Blade and Cat Claws Blade. PiB boasts both OpenFeint and Game Center support, so it's your choice which mobile social game network to hang out on. Regardless, both of which have achievements to collect, though the former seems to have plenty more than the latter. But enough with the boring stuff.
We've saved the best for last: Bandito. This gameplay mode alone is what will make this game feel as if it's a direct sequel to Fruit Ninja. Essentially, Bandito is a gauntlet of goofy yet hellish challenges that test your reflexes more than any Fruit Ninja game has thus far. (Well, maybe aside from Fruit Ninja Kinect.) And the parlor game feel this mode emanates fits perfectly with the Renaissance flair of Dreamworks's world.
There are four Acts to Bandito: San Ricardo, Cat Cantina, Sky Castle and the Finale. The locations merely change the backdrop, but each Act will provide you with four randomized challenges, one of which always more challenging than the rest. Oh, and you only have three hearts throughout the entire session. (No pressure, right?) The challenges range from slicing fruits that appear between various formations of bombs to slicing fruits that appear in windows surrounded by bombs and slicing all of the fruit bouncing around one giant bomb. So, yes, there are a lot of bombs.
You're scored after each challenge based on your accuracy, the amount of fruit you managed to slice and your reflexes. The latter we imagine measures the time between when a fruit appears and your slice, or the time between consecutive dices. Your days of pussyfooting (too easy) in Zen Mode are over. Sadly, this writer has yet to even see the Finale, so consider that a measure of the challenge that lies before you. But it's the variety in each time you play Bandito that will bring you back for more.
Halfbrick could have easily rereleased stock Fruit Ninja with some fancy new blades, Puss in Boots's voice and branding all over it in time for the movie that hits Oct. 28. But the developer took care not to diminish its prized franchise, which is nearly everywhere these days. For all intents and purposes, Puss in Boots is the spiritual successor to Fruit Ninja.
Click here to download Fruit Ninja: Puss in Boots on the App Store Now >
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