Who doesn't love fresh fruit? Unless it's too fresh, in which case you need to show it who's boss by turning it into sliced fruit with a samurai sword. That's the premise of Fruit Ninja, Halfbrick Studios' free Android slasher game. It's capable of slashing your free time as easily as it cuts flying fruit into juicy chunks. It's easy enough for anyone to play, too, at first. Like similar Android games, Fruit Ninja gets harder to play as you advance and unlock more levels and games. It's also educational (if you insist) since it's great for thumb-training, not to mention the occasional maintenance workout. After you dice a few bushels of fruit, no Android app will be able to withstand the speed and power of your digits.
We installed Fruit Ninja Free on a new smartphone running Android's Ice Cream Sandwich release. Fruit Ninja Free hung while setting up the (optional) link to the OpenFeint social platform, but it was just the screen; when we tapped back, the game had loaded. Fruit Ninja has good graphics, but if your device lacks power, you can enable a graphics fix option. If your device is fast, you can turn on ghosting trails. Three modes are offered: Classic, Zen, and Arcade. Classic mode starts simple, with single pieces of fruit, then two, three, and so on. Slashing multiple pieces with one swipe earns bonus points. Generally speaking, a bomb with a lit fuse is something to be avoided in the gaming universe, and that's true of Fruit Ninja: slice into one of the occasional bombs lobbed among the flying fruit, and Game Over. Arcade mode steps up the challenge, and the targets are more numerous. Zen mode is for those masters of concentration and reflex who are ready for a challenge, with whole bunches of fruit tossed into the air at once.
Playing Fruit Ninja Free can win you rewards, including more blades as well as real swag. We didn't hook up with OpenFeint, but we appreciate the option. For us, slashing fruit into fruit salad is its own reward, especially since we don't have to clean up.