Earlier this month, we brought you a preview of Storm8 and TeamLava's newest iOS game Fruit Blast Mania. This latest installment in the overall "Mania" franchise sees you collapsing colorful blocks to free baby critters or earn enough juice to move on. Now that we've had a chance to go hands-on with this bright puzzle game, we've found that it lives up to its predecessors while also packing a new punch of its own.
Similar to TeamLava's Bubble Mania, Fruit Blast Mania is a level-based puzzle experience, with each level coming with three stars to earn by performing well. Levels take a single energy to play, with energy recharging over time, but if you perform well enough, you'll earn that spent energy back at the end of the stage. Levels come with varying, but similar goals, but some are legitimately challenging to complete.
Each level has the same basic gameplay, as players are asked to tap on two or more like-colored, touching symbols to destroy them. Gravity causes the blocks above to fall down, and removing whole columns causes the board to shift from left to right to fill in the gap. This is important to note, as blocks resting above wooden boxes or bricks (or otherwise immovable objects) will fall off of these pillars in these circumstances, which can sometimes mean the difference between failing a level because a baby critter was trapped on one such tower, or failure because the item didn't fall and the baby was trapped.
Some stages might ask you to rescue babies by dropping them to the bottom of the screen, while others might ask you to collect a certain amount of juice of a specific color. The larger groups of blocks you destroy at once, the more points (or juice) you'll collect, but while you can spend time eliminating small groups of one color to create larger groups of another, many levels' limited move counters stop this from being a possibility.
While on paper (or in text) it may seem like there are a lot of variables to keep track of in each level of Fruit Blast Mania, the game actually flows really well. It's totally possible to fail levels because of the random luck of block layouts, but power-ups will allow you to clear whole columns from the board at once, remove groups of a single color of blocks and so on. These can be purchased with in-game currency (and subsequently real-world money), but levels are never so difficult or time consuming as to require the purchase of real-money items.
Just like Bubble Mania before it, Fruit Blast Mania is a charming, beautiful, and extremely fun experience that packs enough challenge for those looking for it, but is also lenient enough to allow gamers to plow on through to the next stage even if they only earn one of each stage's three stars. Plus, the game is free to download and play, so we can't really ask for anything more.
Download Fruit Blast Mania on iOS >
What do you think of Fruit Blast Mania on iOS? Which "Mania" game is your favorite so far? Sound off in the comments!