Everything gets better with a dash of feline Antonio Banderas. Take the original Fruit Ninja, for example. Yes, it's a solid game and all. But throw in a little action from Puss in Boots from Shrek? To quote the romantic furball, "Ahh, impressive."
Like the name implies, Fruit Ninja: Puss in Boots for the iPhone and iPad offers a re-imagining of the classic Fruit Ninja game with some suave feline flair sprinkled on top. Instead of having your fruity slicing and dicing accompanied by commentary from the Fruit Ninja sensei, you have brilliant nuggets of wisdom from Puss in Boots such as:
"You are mine!"
"You so naughty."
"Ha, I get better all the time."
Never mind that half the time, I picture Banderas uttering the lines instead of the lovable cat. Actually, that's OK because it makes the game even more hilarious for yours truly.
At the core of Fruit Ninja: Puss in Boots are its two game modes. "Desperado" is akin to the classic Fruit Ninja mode where you try to clear wave after wave of juicy fruits - pun definitely intended - while avoiding bombs. In addition to raising your score by surviving longer, you also get to unclock more goodies for your "Stash," which you can access via the main menu. These include new blades such as the iron shackle, beanstalk or you-know-who's trademark guitar. You can also unlock backgrounds like "The Giant's Castle" and, of course, "The Cat Cantina."
Stash items also can be unlocked in the game's second mode, "Bandito," which I consider to be even more fun than "Desperado." A new addition to Fruit Ninja: Puss in Boots, "Bandito" mode requires you to clear different acts in order to progress while giving you three lives in the process. To finish each act, you need to clear four different activities, which include random trials like slicing fruit groups mixed in with bombs, slicing fruits hidden with bombs in pop-up windows or slicing fruits tied to balloons. The extensive variety of fruit slashing offered in "Bandito" mode helps keep player interest, with variations on bouncing fruit-and-bomb trials proving to be especially challenging. Clear the trials before you run out of lives and you make it to the "Finale," which is essentially a bonus round that tests just how many pinatas you can pop, starting from a big one to pinatas that get smaller and smaller and smaller.
As fun as "Bandito" mode can be, however, it would have been nice if the game had a few more modes to further add variety for players. I also think that the game could incorporate even more Puss in Boots goodness besides just the basic commentary and backgrounds. (You can never have too much Puss in Boots, I say.) On a gameplay note, the app seems a lot more challenging on the iPhone due to the smaller screen size. This is especially an issue on activities that require pinpoint accuracy, like those that feature plenty of bombs mixed in with fruits. If you have thick fingers, for example, it's easy to have your view obstructed while you're feverishly swiping when things get hectic. I assume that this also may be the case on the smaller iPod screen. This isn't as big an issue for the iPad, though, which is the perfect size for playing the game.
Overall, I think Fruit Ninja: Puss in Boots is a pretty fun game that offers a fresh and welcome take to the simple yet addicting Fruit Ninja gameplay. In fact, I prefer it to the original. As Puss is bound to tell the player after an excellent playthrough, "Sensei will be jealous."
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FRUIT NINJA: PUSS IN BOOTS
- Platform: iPod, iPhone and iPad (iOS 3.0 and higher)
- Cost: 99 cents
- Final rating: 4 stars out of 5