Nov 30, 2011
I love a game that has instructions in the title. Fruit Roll is a game wherein you are a piece of fruit, rolling along. As you go you collect stars and roll over opponents. It’s fantastically straight-forward – you don’t even control the speed or direction of the rolling. It’s very charming in its simplicity, and another favourite for playing on the bus.
Fruit Roll has no plot, but it really doesn’t need one. As mentioned, you play as a piece of fruit, and each stage begins with you rolling across the screen. You cannot stop rolling, but you are able to jump. Jumping allows you to target and collect stars along the path. There are various other (non-sentient) fruit along the path and collecting them has benefits. There are different obstacles/enemies along the way, and the type of fruit you are determines whether or not rolling into them will knock them off the screen or cause you to come to a teary-eyed halt. Collecting three fruit of the same kind is a combo and not only will you change into that fruit, but a giant, rampaging version of that fruit. You’ll destroy everything in your path and have a much better shot at grabbing stars since you’re four times your regular size. The combo will run out however and you will return to your original fruit size. Each level becomes more difficult as the incline down which you’re rolling increases and so you roll much faster and with less control over your movements – one wrong jump could send you flying into the hands of an angry monkey and end your turn abruptly.
I really like this game for its lack of story. The fruit does have and needs no motivation to run over the caterpillars and red frogs in its path. Snagging the stars as you fly across the screen is rather addictive, like the coins in Mario, and is motivation enough.
Running into an opponent that you are not classed to knock off screen causes you to “die” and you are back to the first stage with none of your stars to show for it. This is the game’s real weak spot, as the only gameplay mode you begin with is Adventure (continuous play). There is apparently a mini-game mode, but it can only be reached by collecting 10,000 stars. This would happen soon enough if dying didn’t completely erase your store of stars each time. At a certain point this can become frustrating enough that it dampens the enthusiasm needed to keep rolling along. The game is fun, but needs more reasons to keep coming back.