Game Design Spotlight 1: Fruit Ninja HD


Format: iOS (available in regular, lite, and HD versions)

Developer: Halfbrick Games

Designer: Luke Muscat

Fruit Ninja is a juicy action game with squishy, splatty, and satisfying fruit carnage! Become the ultimate bringer of sweet, tasty destruction with every slash.

The action arcade game Fruit Ninja boasts a “why didn’t I think of that?” premise that showcases the touchscreen better than any other iOS game around. Often, a simple and great control scheme is all you need to make a great game, but the Halfbrick team didn’t rest on their laurels with that victory. Fruit Ninja dedicates everything in the game completely to its primary action: slicing things in half with an imaginary ninja sword. You don’t do anything else, and you don’t need to do anything else to have fun.

It’s interesting that Fruit Ninja, despite its somewhat silly premise of dicing up fruit with a ninja sword, never dips into parody or irony where it easily could have done so. Its tone is somewhat reverential to the Zen aspects of Japan in general and Japanese martial arts in particular, which are especially reflected in the game’s backgrounds that feature images of a yin-yang symbol and Hokusai’s Great Wave Off Kanagawa. Between these images and the Japanese influenced soundtrack, there’s just enough culture to provide theming, but not so much that it feels singularly ...

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