Fruit Adventure is a Gamerscore gigolo, offering 2000G in achievements for barely thirty minutes play. Less than a week passed from launch before Fruit Adventure added a title update that unleashed the extra 1000G. You can probably guess what it’s doing. It’s a Gamerscore carrot, dangling in front of our faces. Whether you bite is down to you.
Maybe we’re cynical, but this kind of practice is a red flag. We feel like there must be a reason why Joffre Macedo Neto, the solo dev of Fruit Adventure, feels like there needs to be an achievement sweetener to the deal. In our experience, it normally means that the game itself is pants. But we’ve got open minds and, apparently, room for another 2000G on our Gamerscore.
Fruit Adventure casts you as Super Strawberry, a benevolent berry and guardian of the Healthy Forest. Much like Mr Brocco & Co, another budget platformer from the past couple of months, this nutritious realm has been invaded by fast foods. Fruit pies and burgers have parachuted in, and they’re taking over. It’s down to you to defeat them by, um, finding an exit and leaving a level.
Every one of Fruit Adventures’ thirty levels plays out in the same way. There are no bosses or bonus levels to jazz events up. You get a discrete level, no more than a minute or two in length. In that level are platforms, some of which move or fall, while others are spaced far enough apart that you need to pay attention. And on those platforms are enemies, the pies and burgers in question, because the art budget didn’t stretch to any more than that. Your job is to navigate these obstacles, picking up a key on the way. Because that key unlocks a large POW-block-looking thing that you can stomp on to complete the level.
You have one weapon in your arsenal. It’s a bottom-bounce, and a single boff on the head will kill any of the enemies in your way. Should you get hit – and you really won’t get hit often – then you have three heart containers to exhaust. Die in this manner, or by the various pits or spikes that add some decor to the level, and you’re taken back to the start. There are no checkpoints here, nor do you need them: the levels are swift enough without.
Super Strawberry has a double-jump to make the platforming a little more involving, while stars are strewn about the level to be collected. They’re tied to those achievements but are otherwise useless, so you can soon tut and handwave them away. And that’s it! Fruit Adventure’s smorgasbord is laid bare.
At TheXboxHub, we play as many of the New Releases as possible, and this often includes sub-£1 games that occasionally appear on the store. They don’t offer achievements, and they barely offer a game. Often, they’re the same levels over and over, with the odd spike moved around, or an enemy placed here rather than there. We don’t know who buys them, but someone does. We feel guilty about being one of them.
Fruit Adventure looks and feels like one of these games (in particular, the Darkland series, which has a completely different palette, but very similar levels). But, of course, with the addition of a £4.19 price tag. The levels are just as sparse, the variety as unvaried.
There really isn’t much that we can single out for praise. There’s no challenge to speak of, as you sneeze and look up to find that three levels have passed. It’s easy to the point of boredom. There are so few level ingredients that the designers can’t help but create experiences that feel repeated. Honestly, we feel like we’ve played the same combination of rotating platforms and incoming winged-pie twenty or thirty times in one game. We found ourselves falling into a stupor, as we completed the same challenge loops over and over again.
It’s not broken, so there’s that. Fruit Adventure is structurally pretty sound, with collision detection that works, a jump that lacks latency, and deaths that are down to your incompetence rather than anything the game does. On that level, Fruit Adventure is something of a success. In our hands it felt responsive.
And lo, the achievements. 2000G of them, in fact. They’re sprayed all over your face with each level, as you get them for dying, collecting stars and completing each of the thirty levels. We got them so often that we had to pause on occasion, so that we could see the platforms beneath the UI. If you’re the kind of person who likes that plinky sound, then Fruit Adventure plays that song a lot.
But for all the Gamerscore bribery, we can’t help comparing the £4.19 Fruit Adventure with the 79p shovelware we often get on the Xbox Store. There really is nothing in it: in the equivalent of a blindfolded taste test, we would have told you that they’re one and the same.
So go ahead: pick up Fruit Adventure if you want 2000 Gamerscore and the barest bones of a platformer. But you will feel dirty having bought it. Oh so dirty.