18 October 2017
Billion-selling mobile app being adapted by Vikings Gone Wild and Zombie Tsunami studio
Fruit Ninja. If you somehow haven’t played it, you’ve almost certainly heard of the fruit-slashing mobile game that debuted on iPhone back in 2010 before spreading to pretty much every device you can name.
Halfbrick’s app has been downloaded a staggering one-and-a-half billion times, and is even being turned into a live-action movie. It was maybe only a matter of time, then, before it found its way onto the tabletop.
But Fruit Ninja isn’t just being turned into a single tabletop title. Instead, it’s being transformed into an instant trilogy of games created by Lucky Duck Games, a studio that has made a name for itself by adapting mobile hits into analogue games, including past efforts Vikings Gone Wild and Zombie Tsunami.
The three games were selected from more than 20 prototypes put forward by over 50 game designers from around the world, with the final picks spanning a card game, dice game and party game.
The first entry in the series is Card Master, a deckbuilder that uses fruit cards as well as tokens to represent Fruit Ninja’s bombs and golden apple bonuses. The fast-paced game keeps a tie to the screen with a mobile companion app used as a timer for the 40-second rounds. As in the app, the idea is to cut various types of fruit to collect golden apples, while avoiding slicing the bombs, with players laying down their cards simultaneously as the time ticks away.
Second on the list is Slice & Dice, a slightly longer dice-rolling game designed by Dragon Punch creator Koen Hendrix that similarly involves a timed element. Players have 20 seconds to roll their dice up to three times, before using the fruit on their dice results to slash fruit and claim combo cards, fulfilling objectives that once again reward golden apples. Slice & Dice apparently started off as a game about climbing before being rethemed around the app.
Finally, Combo Party is – as it sounds – a quick party game with an interesting board setup involving a tsuka stick that acts as a sort of column in the middle of the table. Players play fruit cards at the same time, and must race to grab the stick if they match with another player, earning a bonus reward card if they reach it first. There’s a push-your-luck factor as players weigh up whether to continue a fruit combo or cash it in for points, with perfect combos granting extra cards. Once a round has been played, players pass their remaining hand to the left, beginning a fresh round of drafting a la Sushi Go.
Card Master and Combo Party are due out in shops late next year, while Slice & Dice is planned for the beginning of 2019. Kickstarter backers will get the games a little earlier, next August.
Each game costs $29 (£22) separately through the crowdfunding campaign, with the whole trilogy and a box to store them in together runs up at $69 (£52) (with postage of around $8/£6 charged afterwards).
The Kickstarter has already passed its $10,500 (£8,000) goal and will run until November 9th – if the popularity of the app is anything to go by, you can expect that number to get a lot bigger.