Facebook game Fruit Ninja Frenzy will tie to iOS release

Jun 10, 2011
Games

It won’t be long now before players are slicing away at fruit on their browsers as well as their iPhones. Fruit Ninja developer Halfbrick Studios is planning not one, but three new versions of its popular mobile slicing game. One will be hitting Microsoft’s Xbox 360, using its Kinect motion controller, this summer; one is […]

It won’t be long now before players are slicing away at fruit on their browsers as well as their iPhones.

Fruit Ninja developer Halfbrick Studios is planning not one, but three new versions of its popular mobile slicing game. One will be hitting Microsoft’s Xbox 360, using its Kinect motion controller, this summer; one is headed to iOS; and one is set to invade Facebook. I got to sample the Facebook and Kinect games this week at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles.

The Facebook and iOS versions of the game are known as Fruit Ninja Frenzy, and on Facebook, the game could turn some heads and encourage some spending. The game comprises the same basic gameplay as its Android and iOS counterpart, Fruit Ninja – fruit flies up on the screen and the player “slices” it using a finger on a touch screen, or in the Facebook app’s case, their mouse by clicking and dragging quickly. Drawing a line in this way through the fruit cuts it, and points are awarded for how many pieces of fruit can be cut in a set amount of time. Slice through more than one piece with a single slash and the points get multiplied.

In the end, Fruit Ninja is all about the highest score a player can pin down, and that’s the focus on the Facebook version of the game, too, but with a lot of rewards and social functions. Weekly leaderboards mean that players can take on their friends in a competition that gets wiped every week, allowing everyone to start fresh and attempt to take the title again, no matter how badly they were trounced last time around.

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There are also achievements and notifications tied to a player’s Facebook account that allow him or her to share accomplishments with the larger network. These achievements net players in-game currency, which can otherwise be bought for real cash; that currency allows players to purchase things like cosmetic changes, power-ups and additional “blades” to become better ninjas. Other new features include “Smoothies,” or game-altering power-ups that can be earned or purchased. Players can unlock up to three Smoothie spots (though some are by paying), where they can alter how the game plays – adding time to the clock so they can push for a higher score, or ridding the game of dangerous, score-robbing bombs.

The Facebook game is a social outreach version of Fruit Ninja, and also an attempt to tap the vast amount of money that is currently flowing through the platform. But interestingly, the Facebook Fruit Ninja will also tie in closely with Fruit Ninja Frenzy coming to iOS. Executive Producer Duncan Curtis told me about the plans to bring seasonal content and other add-ons to Fruit Ninja Frenzy on Facebook, and that the long-term goal of development right now is to have all those releases coincide with iOS releases of Fruit Ninja Frenzy content as well. Basically, the two games mirror one another.

It goes deeper than that, though. Curtis said the iOS game is basically the same as the Facebook game, and the two would feature deep integration. Spend some money to buy new features in the Facebook version of the game, for example, and those weapons or upgrades would push to the iPhone or iPad version (and presumably Android as well, seeing as Fruit Ninja is available on both platforms). The same is true for scores and weekly leaderboards. Basically, Fruit Ninja Frenzy on Facebook and iOS is the same game on different platforms, and both will share features and allow players to take their Fruit Ninja earnings and competition wherever they are.

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“The Facebook game is kind of what you play when your boss isn’t looking, but the iPhone version you play on the train home,” Curtis said. But he also said that getting the Facebook and iOS versions of the game to talk to each other reliably is what’s currently being developed – it’s a technology the team has to sort through before either game will be ready. Release dates aren’t yet available, but Fruit Ninja Frenzy should be heading to beta in the next few weeks; it’s not clear when the iOS version of the game will be available.

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Phil Hornshaw

Phil Hornshaw is a freelance writer, editor and author living in Los Angeles, dividing his time between playing video games, playing video games on his cell phone, and writing about playing video games. He’s also the co-author of So You Created a Wormhole: The Time Traveler’s Guide to Time Travel, which attempts to mix time travel pop culture with some semblance of science, as well as tips on the appropriate means of riding dinosaurs. Check out his profile.

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