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For: Mobile


Product: Fruitfall | Developer: Rockpool | Publisher: THQ Wireless | Format: Mobile | Genre: Puzzle | Players: 1 | Format: J2ME | File size: 208KB | Reviewed on: K810i other handsets | Version: Europe
Fruitfall Mobile, thumbnail 1
With our post-Christmas healthy eating plan firmly underway, it's surely for the best that Fruitfall is a game entirely based around fruit. Oranges, cherries, lemons - you name it, they're tumbled around in this game like a slot machine spilling its insides.

Looking at it another way though, Fruitfall isn't that perfect  - like getting an burst of citrus in the eye, there's a certain acidicity on show.

Yet its premise is a good one. Each level begins with an assortment of fruit in variously shaped and sized containers, which need to be rotated left, right and by 180 degrees in order to move the fruit around the level, and create collections of three or more of the same type, after which they disappear. Sounds good, but it just isn't executed very well. Instead of being fun and challenging, Fruitfall proves to be as frustrating as peeling oranges with bitten-down nails.

Of course, when there are just three pieces of each fruit in a level, it plays quite nicely as all you have to concern yourself with is juggling them around so they drop into the right positions - well doing that and completing the level within the two minute time limit.

Irregularly jagged levels make this task much harder than it might sound and - like a Rubik's Cube or one of those tile-sliding picture games - it's all too easy to tilt yourself into a baffling dead-end which requires plenty of thought and experimentation to get back out.

Still, it's when you get four or more of one type of fruit in a level that the game goes beyond difficult and into the realms of high frustration.

This is because if three fruits touch, leaving a stray one behind, it's instant failure. This wouldn't be so bad if the game didn't use a credit system that means once you've failed a certain number of times you have to start a section all over again, but the game uses exactly such a credit system. The result is you can't take a trial-and-error approach more than a handful of times before being plonked back a few levels.

At least, this applies to the game's Arcade mode. There's also a Time Trial mode which simply allows you to replay the levels you've already unlocked against the clock. It would be a nice addition if it were easier to muster up any sort of enthusiasm for beating your own best times, but, as it is, it's hard to care enough about Fruitfall to want to.

In keeping with such standards, the game is visually adequate but nothing more. The only aspect that really matters is that the different types of fruit can be distinguished. To that degree they are easily identified, but the rest of the levels look pretty basic.

It's not the visuals or the puzzling which really let Fruitfall down though, it's the game's structure. You want to be able to skip to another level or practise one when you're stuck on it, but you can't. Instead, you're left to replay the same levels until they're imprinted on your eyes like an inner-eyelid tattoo. And tumbling fruit just isn't enough fun to go through that.

So Fruitfall won't get you hooked with its freshness. You'll more likely end up annoyed by its repetition and frustrating design - you might be better off sticking to celery instead.
Reviewer photo
Kath Brice | 15 January 2008
Despite its juicy puzzle credentials, Fruitfall is let down by its restrictive design and tough time limits
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