Developer: Near Light, nDreams
Format(s): Playstation VR (Reviewed), HTC Vive, Oculus Rift
So, another wave-based shooter has released on Playstation VR. I know, I know, it’s something that gets said a lot these days. Understandably too; they’re fun to play and compliment every design facet of Playstation VR and its Move controllers, so it’s an attractive genre for both gamers and developers alike. The only problem is that they rarely do much different to one another and instead all typically follow the same ‘shoot enemies, shoot enemies, and shoot more enemies’ formula.
Except Shooty Fruity doesn’t just make you shoot enemies. I mean, yeah, you’ll be doing plenty of shooting (as if the title didn’t give it away), but you’ll also be working a nine-to-five job in a supermarket at the same time. Talk about a unique hook, right?
For the most part Shooty Fruity plays just like any other wave-based shooter, except rather than facing off against monsters, soldiers, bears, or any other typical enemy, you’re instead battling rabid fruit. Easy enough, right? There’s a bit of a twist involved in the game though; you’ve got to partake in some menial supermarket tasks at the same time, be it scanning goods at a counter, packing bags, or serving up food in the cafeteria. It’s this job of multi-tasking that makes the game stand out as a unique experience, and ultimately a very enjoyable one too.
This demand to actually *work* whilst you’re shooting at enemies mixes up elements of time management, quick reactions, and the need for a good aim. It might seem easy enough to scan items with one hand and shoot with the other to begin with, but eventually you’ll find yourself in a puzzled mess as your headset becomes inundated with your ferocious fruity foes. Do you prioritise scanning in shopping goods? Or do you use both hands to blast fruit juices everywhere and concoct your own ‘smoothie’ all over the supermarket floor? It’s these decisions that will make or break your run through a level, though believe me, it’ll take a while for you to earn all of the available stars in each one anyway.
These stars are earned from completing each level’s objectives, be it earning a certain score, scanning a specific amount of items, or just eliminating a specific amount of fruit. Whilst I appreciate the different objectives and how they actually challenge you to play the game in a certain way, they could prove to be a little frustrating; Shooty Fruity utilises the ‘stars to progress’ method of making your way through the game, meaning you’ve got to earn a required amount before you can hit the later levels. It could feel a little frustrating to see your progression hindered by the fact you haven’t completed a level’s objectives, especially since it means you’ll often have to replay the same ones time and time again if you want to see the game through to its end.
At least you’ll earn plenty of new weapons as you progress, all thanks to the juice you earn from blasting fruit to smithereens. In between levels you’ll spend some time in the staff room where you can choose which level you want to play, purchase new weapons, and then try them out at the target range. There’s a decent variety on offer too, with the likes of handguns, machine guns, shotguns, and even explosives to arm yourself with as you battle your way through a day in work. You actually have to earn them as you make your way through a level and don’t just have them openly available from the start though, so it isn’t just a case of unlocking the best weapons and then completing each level with ease – having them available after a few waves can make a difference, though.
Everything comes together to make for a nice little shooter and one that does something different; wave-based shooters are a dime a dozen on Playstation VR these days, yet Shooty Fruity actually makes you feel like you’re doing something different throughout rather than simply taking on wave after wave of enemy. It’s quite refreshing and, despite not offering some lengthy campaign or narrative to hook you in, encouraged me to spend enough hours with the game to see it all the way through to completion. Sure, it only took me five hours, but those five hours were spent having fun and never feeling bored of doing the same things over and over again.
Whilst Shooty Fruity is a lot of fun to play, it’s also pretty to look at. The destructive supermarket setting feels unique and charming, and it acts as a nice home for all of the fruit juice-filled showdowns you’ll be a part of. I continually find myself getting more and more impressed with the kind of visuals that virtual reality titles offer, but the colourful and wacky worlds that games like Shooty Fruity feature are always the most enjoyable to be a part of.
Whilst it’s a bit of a given as far as motion-based virtual reality games are concerned, I’d highly recommend getting into a comfortable and clear area when playing Shooty Fruity. There’s a lot of frantic movement that doesn’t just mean shooting at enemies around you; you’ll be grabbing things from above and below you too, whilst also reaching out into a wide 180-degree range. Whilst it’s not as big a problem on other virtual reality headsets, Playstation VR can feel a bit more restricted, so setting yourself up properly from the start will make your time battling evil fruit a hell of a lot easier (and of course, more enjoyable).
It might be easy to write Shooty Fruity off as just another virtual reality wave-based shooter, but its clever mixture of menial supermarket work and tricky shooting makes for a very enjoyable experience. Don’t get me wrong, it hardly revolutionises the shooting genre, but it certainly does more than enough to keep you thoroughly entertained throughout its roughly five hour run-time (which could vary greatly based upon your skills).
Earning stars to progress could be a little frustrating whilst the overly difficult nature of some levels might also put off some players, but in all there really is a lot to like about Shooty Fruity. Its action-packed, super fun, multi-tasking (and completely zany) nature really helps make it stand out in the crowded wave-based shooting genre.