Once more match up the three, my friends, once more.
Let there be no doubts in the readers’ minds, you have all played this game before. Yet as a wolf approaches in sheep’s clothing, Fruited makes no attempt to hide its status as a match three game. Nowhere in the product advertisement does Fruited claim to be “unique”, an omission that is quite refreshing in a climate where hundreds of “unique” puzzle games have made their way out with the same tired mechanics.
A match three game, for those who have somehow escaped the fervor that has hit every gaming platform in existence, is a game in which cells organized in an array are each filled with a certain item. Similar items can be matched up in rows or columns of three by shifting cells around, and once the gamer has “matched three” the cells disappear (often bestowing points upon the victor). This is exactly how Fruited functions, one must go about matching fruit. The puzzler is for the most part a shameless lifting of ideas that have been executed many times previous to Fruited’s launch.
Does the blatant copying make Fruited any worse? Certainly not, and I would wager to say that fans of the genre will love Fruited. One does not punish a new football game simply because it has the same rules as all the others before it, nor does one punish a shooter for re-using the “shoot things with gun” mechanic. While it brings very little new to the table, the game has solid functionality and adds a couple of interesting mechanics to its otherwise cloned design. The game includes online leaderboard support, it lets you play your own music, and the game will even save when you leave. One major selling point is the fact that the game is easily paused, which is again a small factor to most but for iphone gaming one often needs to look away from the screen. All of these points seem so simple, and yet many games neglect to put this kind of support in.
At the outset, one will immediately notice the colorful, crisp and overall pleasant art/graphics of Fruited. Dutch artists had this figured out years ago, but people like to look at pretty drawings of fruits. I, for one find that the color palette does not fail to catch my eye each and every time. The effects and animations are fluid, and the game runs without a hitch.
As previously mentioned, Fruited does have some aspects that are not entirely copied. One such aspect is the inclusion of the special animals. For instance, if I line up the same kinds of fruit around a monkey, the monkey will eat through the entire row or column that the matching fruits are in. Fruited is timed, and this makes the game feel as if it has more purpose than it actually does (get a high score). Surviving each sequential level becomes more difficult as the amount of available match threes to make decreases along with the time limit. Over the course of a playthrough, one can let the time run out three times, and each time the next possible answer is revealed. Of course, if the time were to run out a fourth time, a Game Over is in order.
Fruited is not without problems. Spending some time in the menu system would have tipped off developers that the game does not save your preferences for audio or internet in the game. Additionally, Fruited players may feel cheated when a very poor arrangement of fruits is generated. Sadly, this is the nature of the beast when it comes to systems that utilize randomness as a key part of the puzzle creation. Fortunately I have yet to run into a situation in which I have run out of matches to make. Rather, the entirety of my game overs have occurred as the result of my not being able to find one of the existing matches quickly enough.
While fruited does not bring much new to the table, it is still an enjoyable game. One can currently purchase Fruited for 1.99 on the App Store. If you are the kind of person that likes to dabble in match 3 games, Fruited is well worth your while. If one was not interested in this puzzle mechanic or was simply tired of playing similar games, then steer clear of Fruited because the entire game is a “match three”.
Graphics and Presentation
The game is very pleasant to behold, but the menu is somewhat lackluster. Also, the game does not do much to stand out technically from its peers.
I am glad that Fruited allows me to listen to my ipod music during play, but the fact that one has to go back every time to turn the in-game sound effects is a turn-off who don’t like the zany sound bites in the game.
While portions of the game are original, the majority is just a facsimile of countless other games. This does not make the game less fun, it still has the chops to provide a challenge and hold my interest for long periods of sitting.
It won’t be long until another match three comes out, but if one sinks their teeth into online competitive scoring this game can be played as long as the community is there. I find it great for when I am in a hurry and don’t quite have the time/energy to put into thinking about Drop 7.
It’s the same old game, but that game is good.