nDreams has been on quite the role over the past year. Since the developer launched The Assembly on PlayStation VR’s release day, it has gone on to publish the co-op brawler Bloody Zombies, as well as VR experience Perfect. To round out 2017, we have Shooty Fruity, a title that asks you to eliminate hordes of fruit while trying to stay in employment as you perform a series of mundane supermarket tasks. A fun combination indeed, but does this trip to Dale Winton’s old stomping ground feel better suited for home delivery?
Ignoring the ravenous army of fruit for a second, your supermarket contract will have you engaging in three different tasks throughout the game’s 24 levels. You’ll set up shop at the checkouts as you scan products that customers wish to buy, then take a back seat in the canteen serving up meals any dinner lady would be proud of, and finally pack the 10p bags for life your customers are kindly reusing. These jobs are all very easy to carry out with little thought necessary, but when you’ve got a menacing pineapple charging at your till, they take on a whole new ball game.
While you perform the menial jobs in the foreground a conveyer belt of guns can be found just above your head, and you’ll pick these up to destroy any pieces of fruit that dare to cross your path. Things start off fairly simple as a couple of apples and cherries move into vision, but as things progress you’ll quickly come up against higher ranking members of the five a day family such as melons that can cover ground quickly, bananas that deal damage with a spin attack, and strawberries that’ll shoot back at you.
Again, you could deal with this legion of fruit if it was all you needed to focus on, but when combined with the humdrum supermarket activities, Shooty Fruity finds its main hook and it’s this that forms the core of its gameplay. Executing the prosaic assignments will reward you with better weapons for eliminating the largest fruits, but in doing this you’re ignoring the smaller lemons creeping up on you. This creates a fun balancing act that when combined with challenge stars, gives you motivation to both scan and shoot.
It’s these challenge stars that are your key to progression, as earning enough will unlock more and more levels. This is a progression system that a lot of similar VR games seem to implement, but while this scribe has been literally gated off from content due to a lack of skill in other titles such as Headmaster, we never felt like we had hit a solid brick wall. There was always another way to progress.
Speaking of which, there’s also a solid progression system to be found in the range of weaponry on offer. Handguns, revolvers, SMGs, assault rifles, shotguns, and explosives can all be unlocked with cash you earn from vanquishing a fruit, and each new gun can then be incorporated into your loadout before a level.
Now this may all sound well and good, but Shooty Fruity’s biggest flaw is that there simply isn’t enough of it. The 24 levels on offer can be as short as two minutes or as long as you can possibly go with an endurance test, but you’ll see everything the game has to offer inside four hours. Sure, you could re-visit missions to earn more challenge stars, but there isn’t much of a point to that if you’re simply doing it to artificially lengthen the time you spend with the game. It’s a shame because the core gameplay loop is a good one that offers a lot of entertainment, but there just isn’t enough content here to fully exploit it.
One further flaw can be found laid at the feet of the PlayStation Move controllers, which struggle with tracking when things get hectic. We’d regularly lose precise control over the Move controller in our right hand when there was a lot of enemies surrounding us, and thus taking them out became a much tougher ordeal thanks to only being able to aim accurately with our left. While this wasn’t happening every single time things got a little chaotic, it was enough of an occurrence to become a real annoyance.
There’s an enjoyable core gameplay loop at the heart of nDreams’ latest VR outing, but there simply isn’t enough content here to allow you to delve any deeper than the surface level. We certainly had fun with Shooty Fruity, but with only enough levels to support four hours of fun, you may want to look a bit more upmarket with your next grocery shop.