Fruit Juice Tycoon 2 tries to be a match three puzzler, RPG, business simulation and time management in one package. This is certainly an ambitious undertaking, and at times there is no synergy between the parts. When the game works for me it is one of those games that keeps me coming back for more, and more and more.
FJT2 has several different gaming elements. The map view lets you control your generic hero by touching where you want him to go. An indicator shows the destination, and text is shown if you hit a point of interest. The map has a lot of different locations to interact with, and people to talk to. In a way it might be seen as a simplified RPG town. Instead of having to trek around a vast town you get to travel between different areas of a city such as the campus and commercial district. Using the map you solve tasks in a RPG fashion. Deliver this to get that, and so forth. This helps the game to keep a feel of constant progression.
The second part of the game is the business simulation where you have to evolve your simple stands into mobile vending units. Buying ingredients is the first thing you always have to do with your money. Early on I made the mistake of not buying fruit, and my customers got left thirsty and pissed off. Buying special stands let you collect money, or build up a positive fan base. Expanding the stand is initially about buying add-ons letting you keep a larger stock. As you progress you get to save up for cooler, and cooler equipment. This can really hook me on that extra hour of selling fruit.
The third part of the game is what I thought it would be all about: the match three gameplay. This is sadly what brings an otherwise fun business game down. You simply match three types of fruit coming down three conveyor belts. Simply tap a fruit, and the new destination to move it. Next up you have to fill the mixer, and serve before it overfills. As the game progresses you will get more, and more variation to the demands of the customers. The basic match three gameplay is still too simple, and boring. The object of this is actually not to match everything, but rather just enough to serve all customers. Fruit that is matched up, and not used goes to waste unless you have some sort of refrigerator.
Finally there are a couple of minigames where you for example have to train at the gym to gain health points. Clicking a sequence of numbers is not that fun, and this goes for the different mini games in the game. They feel like something you might find in a brain training game. As they do affect aspects of the game you have to spend some time doing them. Having higher health for example means that our hero have to spend less time in bed.
The presentation in FJT 2 is colorful, and bright. Everything is easy to see on the small screen, and especially the quest descriptions are easy to read. A coherent pause menu where you get to see your quests, general prowess, and business acumen helps keeping track of things. Overall the presentation is your standard time management stuff that is on the cute side. This also goes for the music that might be described as iPhone elevator muzak. You won’t be annoyed at it, but you won’t remember it. You can play your own music instead.
There is quite a lot to do in FJT 2, and sadly a lot of it is the inane simple fruit matching. If you focus on the business simulation, and RPG elements you can squeeze a lot of time out of the game. It took me two hours just to reach the third district in the game, and there are six in total. An estimate is that it will take 8-12 hours to complete it all. There are IAP to help you with this in form of assistants for hire. I am not completely ok with that as I think a game such as this should have everything in it from the get go. At a $1.99 sale price you don’t want to pay $0.99 for each extra assistant.
There is an upcoming matchup game letting you play against others. As it isn’t available yet I haven’t been able to try it out. Considering how slow the match three gameplay is I doubt it will work in a versus mode. As the game uses Game Center it should be easy to connect.
Fruit Juice Tycoon 2 mixes some great gameplay elements with some truly flawed ones. This is the problem with ambition, as sometimes you can’t cover everything. The mini games, and match three gameplay need some tweaking to match the fun business development of the game. There is still enough good here to draw me back to it again, and again. Try the lite version to see what you think of the game before you buy it.
Fruit Juice Tycoon 2 $1.99
Seller: Minoraxis, Inc.