Slice through fruit and race to the finish line: iPhone apps of the week

This week's apps are both games. One offers the simple concept of cutting colorful fruit as it shoots up on to your screen and a top-down 2D racer that's surprisingly deep and addictive.


I'm sure I'm not alone in my anticipation of what Steve Jobs will announce on Monday at the Keynote for the WWDC. With that (the iPhone 4G or "HD") in mind, I've decided to make my iPhone apps post about games this week in the hope that we can all kill some time this weekend before the big event.

To start off, possibly my favorite iPhone game from 2009 went on sale today. Meteor Blitz (99 cents; usually $2.99) for iPhone is a fun and challenging classic arcade-style shooter where you use dual joysticks to move and fire. With excellent graphics, arcade and survival modes, and interesting weapon types to take out different types of enemies, this game is a must-download on your iPhone at 99 cents. What's the reason for the sale, you might ask? The developers of Meteor Blitz have just released Meteor Blitz HD for iPad ($4.99), which is even more fun on the big screen. If you can't already tell, I highly recommend this game on both devices. This game will certainly make the wait time before the new iPhone much easier.

This week's apps are both games. One that offers the simple concept of cutting colorful fruit as it shoots up on to your screen and a top-down 2D racer that's surprisingly deep and addictive.

Fruit Ninja
Slice through multiple pieces of fruit at once to get combos for more points. (Credit: Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET)

Fruit Ninja is a simple, but well-made game that challenges you to slice and dice fruit with a ninja sword as it flies onto your iPhone screen. The controls are extremely simple, requiring you to swipe your finger through a flying fruit as you would slice with a ninja sword. There are two game modes: Classic and Zen. In Classic you're challenged to slice fruit as it flies on screen while avoiding occasional bombs that will end the game immediately or allowing 3 fruits to drop below the bottom of the screen. In Zen mode you won't have to worry about bombs or missed slices, but will need to slice as many fruits as possible in 90 seconds. Bonuses are awarded for hitting multiple types of fruit in one slice.

Even with a fairly simple game concept, Fruit Ninja manages to be quite fun in each of the game modes as you try to get your best score. The crisp and colorful graphics make each slice satisfying leaving the appropriate colored splat as the juices hit the board behind the playing area. Overall, this simple game offers just the right amount of action, bright colors, and challenge to be perfect for both adults and kids.

LilRacerz Pro Rally
I'm following the pack here, but taking the inside line with a speed boost should improve my position. (Credit: Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET)

LilRacerz Pro Rally is a top down 2D racer where you'll need to win races on various terrains to unlock more cars, tracks, and upgrades. The control system consists of two touch-screen buttons on the left for turning and a gas pedal and break on the right. You also get a turbo button above the gas pedal for brief bursts of speed on straightaways. LilRacerz has two game modes including Quickrace for practicing on tracks with cars you've previously unlocked, or Cup races where you'll race against the AI and unlock cars and tracks by winning.

LilRacerz Pro Rally is difficult to master at first largely because of the spacing between the turning buttons. But with a little practice, you'll start winning races if you use the right strategy. The tracks offer several shortcuts you can use to gain an edge on other racers and--once you learn the tracks--become crucial to winning some of the more difficult races. You'll also need to select the right car each race, each of with you will unlock by winning multirace Cups. After each race, you'll be able to buy upgrades with your race winnings to add to turning, acceleration, top speed, and tire grip. Overall, with several tracks and terrain types, several cars to unlock and upgrade, and plenty of secret paths to discover, LilRacerz Pro Rally is great for experienced racing game fans.

What's your favorite iPhone app? Were you surprised at how fun slicing fruit can be? What do you think of LilRacerz Pro Rally? Let me know in the comments!

About Jason Parker

Jason Parker has been at CNET for more than 13 years. He is the Senior Editor in charge iOS software and has become an expert reviewer of the software that runs on each new Apple device. He now spends most of his time covering Apple iOS releases and third-party apps.