Halfbrick makes some pretty great games. Games like Fruit Ninja and Jetpack Joyride. In fact, I’m betting there’s a pretty good chance you’ve already played many (if not all) of their games. But if you haven’t, now is the best possible time to fix that.
Over one million apps have made their way onto the App Store during its five years of existence. A million. That’s a pretty miraculous number when you think about it. However it’s not the amount of apps we have to pick from that I find so fascinating, but rather just how much things have changed since 2008. Pickings were comparatively slim at first, and many developers were just starting to dip a toe in the waters of Apple’s new smartphone.
On top of that, the technology itself has changed tremendously in a relatively small amount of time. It makes me wonder if anyone from 2008 would even recognize current iOS devices, and by extension the App Store. Would a newer Apple initiate have any idea what they were looking at if they somehow managed to take a trip to five years ago? I think it warrants a look at how the hardware, the App Store, and the apps contained within it have evolved.
2008 – The Beginning of the Beginning
The App Store’s first year was a rough but promising one. The iPhone 3G rolled out to coincide with Apple’s new software venue and the original iPhone was still viable. The iPod touch was also present and accounted for, while the second generation appeared closer to the end of the year. Even at this point many developers were eager to push these early iOS devices to their limits, to make them more than just a phone or an .mp3 player with a fancy screen.
Handy apps like Pandora Radio, Last.FM, Facebook, and Yelp were to be expected, but that didn’t make them any less impressive to have on a handheld platform. Others such as the intuitive personal organizer Evernote, the eerily accurate song-identifying app Shazam, eWallet’s convenient and secure account password management, and MLB At Bat with its extensive baseball coverage further capitalized on the particulars of the hardware and its general portability. Of course there were also some pretty unnecessary options out there, too. Flashlight kind of served a purpose but was also fairly pointless. It wasn’t as bad as stuff like More Cowbell!, though.
At the same time, the games available on the App Store were beginning to show people that “mobile” didn’t have to equal “mediocre.” Sure there were a few simple ports of the odd classic such as Ms. PAC-MAN, Vay, and Scrabble, but there were also some impressive iOS renditions of popular console games like Super Monkey Ball coming out. Potential mobile gamers also had a few really special titles such as Galcon and Fieldrunners to tide them over. When all was said and done there were over 7,500 apps on the App Store by the end of the year, with more being added every day.
2009 – Moving Right Along
The following year saw even more impressive releases as Apple’s digital marketplace began to expand. The second generation of iPod Touch was the bright and shiny new toy at the time, but it was followed shortly by the iPhone 3GS in June while the latest and greatest third generation Touch closed out the year in September. It all meant better processors, better CPUs, more advanced operating systems, and so on. All stuff that developers needed to acclimate to, but also stuff that meant they could push their boundaries even further. There was no loss of steam when it came to content, either: the App Store finished off 2009 with well over 100,000 apps available.
Many of the basic smartphone necessities were covered, but there was room for so much more. Especially while the technology was improving. Plenty of people used their iPhones as phones, sure, but with the addition of Skype they were able to enjoy the added functionality of instant messaging and voice chat without cutting into their data plans (so long as a wifi connection was present). Big companies were really starting to take notice as well. That same year Starbucks and many other big businesses threw their virtual hats into the ring with their own apps designed to make life a little bit easier for their iOS-using customers. Practicality was also becoming an even bigger focus. The Kindle app gave iOS users a practical e-reading option, and Dropbox was there being Dropbox. By which I mean “an awesome and super-convenient way to transfer files between multiple platforms.” And this same level of refinement could be seen creeping into the games as well.
So many of the App Store’s most notable games and franchises came out around this time. It was almost a mobile rennaisence of a sort. This was the year Real Racing first blew mobile gamers’ minds, even causing some of them to question the legitimacy of in-game video footage until they were able to see the finished product for themselves. Zenonia was just a fledgling action RPG at the time, and while a lot of people liked it I doubt they knew just how many sequels it would spawn. The same goes for Pocket God, although with updates rather than multiple releases. Flight Control began to eat away at peoples’ free time, Angry Birds and Doodle Jump hit it big (like, super big), and Myst and The Sims 3 further displayed the potential for major releases on mobile platforms. Oh, and Canabalt almost single-handedly invented and popularized a genre.
Posted by Rob LeFebvre on October 19th, 2012 iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
Not enough swiping and slashing in your life? Perhaps Zynga has the answer with a game that will of course be compared to Fruit Ninja, only instead of fruit, you get to slash at zombies. This update brings a few fixes to many of our complaints in our original review.
The undead are leaping for your lobes! Dust off your trusty machete and help Joey, our intrepid hero, show them some manners the Zombie Swipeout way!
- The new arcade action game from the creators of ZombieSmash!
- Whose machete swing reigns supreme? Compete against your friends and earn medals in weekly tournaments.
- Machetes too cliche? Unlock and equip weapons with different abilities like the Head Slapper and the Prince of Cleaves.
- Level up and unlock cool powerups like grenades, liquid nitrogen, and more to combat the hordes. Zombies hate powerups!
- Whoops! Keep Joey alive or the game is over . . . or is it? Rescue Joey feature lets you fight on!
Fruit Ninja is about to get its biggest update yet to celebrate its second anniversary on Thursday, May 24th. The key new element in the game appears to be that players will now be able to earn an in-game currency, called starfruit, that can be used to buy new powerups from new characters Gutsu and Truffles, introduced in the new trailer produced by People’s Republic of Animation. Powerups and new “super fruit” like berry blasts will be available to help players raise their high scores. New powerup peaches will add extra time to Arcade and Zen modes, making higher scores even possible. As well, a new bomb deflect powerup is available for skilled ninjas.
As well, in celebration of this new update and the 2-year anniversary of the game, Fruit Ninja is temporarily being given away for free from their Fruit Ninja Anniversary page, where a promo code for the iPhone/iPod touch version can be generated for a limited time. The update will arrive for both versions of the game this Thursday.
Not too long ago, Zombie Smash developer Game Doctors was acquired by Zynga. Their next game, merging of Zombie Smash with the Zynga casual game machine, the Zyngification if you will, has been announced, Zombie Swipeout.
The good news? It’s an interesting game. In our few minutes with it earlier this week, it seemed very enjoyable. It borrows heavily from Fruit Ninja yet makes a few interesting twists on the swipe-things-thrown-into-the-air genre. Then there’s the aforementioned Zyngification of the game. You earn coins while playing the game to buy upgrades and progress in the game, yet your progress is limited by your energy level. All of that can, of course, be bypassed by buying in-game goods with cold hard cash.
Wether the game suffers from this paywall method is yet to be seen. Game developers are good, how much and how often you can play are dynamic — so they can change it at any time. Their goal, of course, is to tune it to maximize revenue. To do that, they need to make sure they don’t annoy too many players.
Off my soap box for a bit, the game is actually very well done and I look forward to spending too much time playing it. Unfortunately it’s only out in Canada for another week or so for some final testing. But it will be hitting the rest of the world soon enough. Keep an eye out for it.
I’ve always wished that a programming class had been available to me when I was in high school. I would have loved to start learning to program at an early age. Now, while I’m 23 and trying to teach myself to program, young 15-year-old developer Patrick Balestra has already released his first iOS app and is working on another!
The game, Catch the Airplanes (and iPad version Catch the Airplanes HD), is a simple one in which players destroy airplanes that make their way onto the screen. Similar to Fruit Ninja, the goal is to get all the planes that appear on the screen without missing any. The Swiss developer has created three modes for his game: survival, timer, and multiplayer. Survival mode goes until a plane gets past the player. Timer mode is a high score game where players try to get as many planes in the given time. And multiplayer (iPad-only) sets players against each other with each player trying to down specific colored planes.
Catch the Airplanes is available for $0.99 while the iPad version, Catch the Airplanes HD, is currently free. Support a young, growing developer by picking up this game.
Halfbrick, developers of the immensely popular Fruit Ninja games has announced a lineup of brand new licensed Fruit Ninja products from a number of partners. These new products will include key chains, toys, plush figures, card and board games, headwear, bags, apparel, underwear, phone cases, calendars, fruit snacks, stickers, posters, and other odd and ends.
While it’s not yet clear exactly what these products will be when they are all realized, the prospect of Fruit Ninja card games and underwear is interesting to say the least. These products will be produced through a number of partners and will begin to roll out this week. As of yet, no announcements have been made concerning the cost of any of the products or where they will be available for purchase.
“For the first time, we’re creating characters and personalities around the fruit that players slice through,” says Halfbrick CEO Shainiel Deo, commenting on the new products. “I’m confident that the Fruit Ninja community will love these products.”
Between the recent announcement of Fruit Ninja plush toys and inadvertent reveal of the Fruit Ninja followup, the franchise is everywhere. It may be easy to forget that their Puss in Boots tie-in came out recently. For those that live under a rock (and who can blame them, the rent is cheap there), a new Lite version of Fruit Ninja: Puss in Boots is now available. This allows players to sample the game’s new mode, Bandito mode. Here, players can sample the first 2 rounds of Bandito, taking on challenges to slice certain quantities of fruit in a certain amount of time, with a variety of different setups to try and master. This Bandito mode is the main selling point of the full game, and this gives players that haven’t checked it out to see what’s new. Fruit Ninja: Puss in Boots Lite is available in versions for both the iPhone/iPod touch and iPad.
We got our paws on this overhead racer back in March at GDC. We were pretty impressed with the game then, and we still like what we see. Today marks the day of the game’s actual release, and we couldn’t be more excited to take it out for a spin.
Mini Motor Racing is a retina-display-ready isometric top-down racer made for iOS devices. There are over 20 of tracks and locations, as can be seen below in the screenshots. In addition, players can upgrade the four different car types (sports, hatch, big-rig and pick-up) with a variety of different add ons like grip, top-speed, acceleration and nitro.
But wait, there’s more. Mini Motor Racing has a special Fruit Ninja themed buggy and track. FRUIT NINJA!!! Says The Binary Mill, “The Halfbrick folks are located very close to the Mini Motor Racing team from The Binary Mill, and they’re good friends — resulting in this fun addition.”
Also, there will be holiday themed cup where players can race as Santa himself, steering a souped up version of his sleigh! Both track add-ons are available as un-locks for players progressing through achievements in the game’s career cup circuits.
All in all, these are very exciting additions to an already exciting game. Grab it right away and stay tuned for a review coming soon – The iPhone/iPod Touch version sells for $1.99 USD and the HD iPad version is $3.99 USD.
Fruit Ninja is just winding up everywhere, which seems appropriate for a game where fruits are routinely destroyed. As comedy legend Gallagher taught us, destroying fruit is messy and it just gets everywhere. Like Fruit Ninja‘s reach, which is now popular enough to inspire plush toys based on the game. There’s not only a toy for the Sensei, but there’s also a half-sliced watermelon with eyes. They’re happy, cute eyes, not the eyes of sadness and regret that should be directed at one who would so callously attempt to slice them in half. Created in cooperation with ToyFoundry, the Sensei and watermelon are now available from the Fruit Ninja online store.
But still, Fruit Ninja is a game first and foremost, and besides a brief interlude with Puss in Boots, there has yet to be a true sequel to the game. The operative word there is yet, as according to noted gaming publication, the Illawarra Mercury, Halfbrick is now opening up a studio in Sydney, Australia. This studio is going to make the next version of the Fruit Ninja series. It sounds like it’s going to be a departure from the other games in the series, as now the fruit will be on the attack against those reckless fruit-slicing ninjas. According to Australian Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner, “The new game will involve players launching a series of fruit to knock ninjas off their towers in a 3D world, with each fruit having special powers.” While Australian politicians leaking details about unannounced games is new, the mobile gaming industry is all about new frontiers!
The game is due out sometime in 2012, and will launch first on iOS before spreading out to other platforms. This will be a title to keep an eye on, considering the franchise’s already massive popularity. This new gameplay style will be interesting to see how it works compared to the current game. But from the sounds of it, that cute sliced watermelon might just be able to get his revenge just yet.
Buttonless: Incredible iPhone and iPad Games and the Stories Behind Them is coming out December 21 (and available for pre-order now) to bookstores and online retailers everywhere. It’s a book about iOS games and their stories by Ryan Rigney, a freelance journalist who has covered the video-game industry from every angle for publications and sites including Gamasutra, PC Gamer and GamePro. We managed to talk with him for a bit about the inspirations for the book, among other things. Click through to the post for the interview AND an exclusive chapter from the upcoming book, all about Fruit Ninja.
Fishing might be a great pastime but it’s more famous for its relaxed pace than its action packed, slicing and dicing type excitement. That is until a game like Ninja Fishing comes along. Yes, Ninja Fishing. It really is that wacky a combination, bordering on the kind of absurdity that only a game featured inside Game Dev Story would normally offer.
In Ninja Fishing, players control Otoro, a fisherman ninja who’s got quite an appetite for sushi. Players must tilt the iOS device in order to move the hook around fish and underwater mines. Once a fish is hooked, Otoro then reels in the catch flinging the fish into the air. This is where the ninja side of things come into play with players needing to slice the fish as fast as possible while nimbling avoiding the dynamite that lies in wait.
Extra points are gained for capturing rare fish and there’s an upgrade system to play around with too.
The lighthearted and devilishly humorous Ninja Fishing is set to be released August 4th. We’ll be sure to have the latest scoop on it nearer the time. For now, check out the trailer.
Halfbrick, the developer behind Fruit Ninja, has reason to be proud. The fast-paced fruit-slicing game has won many hearts. Our own Carter Dotson, reviewing the HD version, wrote that “The game is simple and addictive. It’s the kind of basic mechanic anyone can pick up and enjoy in seconds, and keep playing for hours, especially in Zen mode, where the quest for high scores can keep you playing for long periods of time.” Fruit Ninja has apparently won over App Store customers as well, and is now celebrating its 6 millionth sale.
But how exactly should Halfbrick celebrate? Apparently, they want to make amends. Luke Muscat, lead designer of Fruit Ninja, remarks that without growing fruit, there won’t be any more fruit to slice! The press release continues:
To celebrate the sales and make amends for fruit death worldwide, Halfbrick has partnered with the Fruit Tree Planting Foundation to help give something back to juice lovers. Yep, there is a charity specifically dedicated to growing fruit! The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation plants orchards around the world to benefit communities and the environment. Halfbrick has committed to sponsoring a fully functioning orchard in a low-income Native American community as part of FTPF’s Reservation Preservation program. The harvests will not only provide fresh, healthy sustenance but also income for the long-term benefit of the tribe.
A little whimsical? Well, naturally (have you seen Fruit Ninja?). However, sponsoring an orchard sounds like a great way to mark a milestone, as it not only resonates with Fruit Ninja’s theme but hopefully can make an impact as well. The developers promise that you’ll be able to monitor the orchard’s progress through their blog. Halfbrick is also teasing that some new content for the game itself is in the works. Mm, tasty.
Congratulations to Halfbrick for hitting 6 million—and for coming up with such a creative way to celebrate it!
As the year winds down and we look ahead to the next decade it’s time for all those wonderful end-of-year lists we all get so excited about. Today we have some exciting news, as Apple has detailed all the top paid and free apps for the iPhone and iPad, as well as the top grossing apps on each platform. Here’s the full rundown, for your edification.
The App Hall of Fame (the original App Hall of Fame, not the Apple knock off) is an independent initiative launched by 148Apps that includes selection committee members from over 40 web and print publications.
Our goal is to archive the very best mobile apps by honoring only 12 applications per month. To be eligible, applications must be available for download from the App Store for at least 6 months. Applications are nominated and voted on monthly by the selection committee with the applications that get the most votes being inducted into the hall of fame.
We want you to join in on the celebration. We’ll be giving away copies of the newly inducted applications to subscribers of our mailing list later this week. Subscribe now for a chance to win.
Fruit Ninja has consistently been one of the best-selling and most beloved gaming apps available on the iTunes Store, and now this super-entertaining game has gotten even more addictive with the addition of a brand new mode. The game, both in standard and iPad HD varieties is getting support for a brand-new Arcade mode, which looks to be highly entertaining. Among the new features included are:
Double Points – This banana will award you double points for a short period of time. Criticals and combos count too, so rack up those fruit for some massive scores!
Frenzy – If you’re not content with the amount of fruit on screen, the Frenzy banana will take care of that. A mammoth amount of fruit will begin flying in, but you have to stay focused to slice it all!
Freeze – The entire screen will slow down, allowing for maximum accuracy and combo potential!
Each round in Arcade mode lasts for 60 seconds, and at the end you can post your scores and see how you stack up with other members of the fruit slashing community. It’s very similar to other Arcade style games such as Bejeweled Blitz, and we all know how ridiculously addictive and popular such games can be. When you’re tired of cutting the rope why not go back to cutting the fruit, but this time with a frenzy?
Now that the mysterious “banana mode” which has haunted players for months has finally been revealed we have to ask, what do you think? Is this the sort of thing you had been dreaming of, or would some other new mode have suited the game better? From where I sit, you should be happy I stopped playing long enough to report this news, there are pineapples that must be frozen and then sliced and I’m wasting precious seconds typing instead!