App Reviewed on: iPad Pro
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Juicy Realm is a dual stick shooter where you're gunning down hostile fruit enemies in an attempt to destroy a bad seed and restore the the world to its normal state. It's a colorful and wacky game that is intentionally designed with replayability in mind, and it also happens to have great touch controls in addition to controller support. If you're looking for a new shooter on mobile, Juicy Realm is the one to get.
Juicy Realm is a run-based shooter where you choose a character and set off on your adventure to clear four different zones full of enemy fruit using whatever you have at your disposal. At the start of a run, this means using your character's unique starting weapon and special ability. As you get further into a run though, you can change your loadout to hold any two weapons you find across your adventure, which you can further customize with weapon modifiers you might find or buy along the way.
Structurally, each zone in Juicy Realm is divided into a series of arenas, and you have to clear any arena you enter of all enemies before you can move on. You don't have to enter all the rooms in a zone, but by skipping some arenas you won't be maximizing your rewards and you might miss out on bonus rooms that give you special rewards, allow you to purchase new items, or equip little pet characters that can help you in combat.
The basic idea in any encounter in Juicy Realm is to shoot constantly while dodging all the enemies that shoot or chase after you. There are tons of tiny wrinkles to this basic gameplay though that you'll constantly have to adjust how you manage these actions all the time. For example, some weapons have to re-charge, so you can't just hold down the trigger. Some other weapons aren't guns at all. You can pick up drills, swords, boomerangs, vacuum cleaners, grenades, and more, all of which have their own ideal uses against your fruity foes.
The variety of weapons in Juicy Realm doesn't just add to its replayability--it's also part of its charm. The cartoony aesthetic of the game works well with the diverse arsenal at your disposal, as does the wide selection of hero characters to play as, the myriad weapon modifiers you can equip, and the various enemy types, bonus rooms, pets, etc. scattered across the game. This ensures that no two play sessions ever feel identical, and you constantly have to switch up your playstyle to overcome every challenge the game throws at you.
Digging in deeper
Juicy Realm isn't a terribly long game. You can complete runs in easily under an hour, but it feels like a perfect length for a game that's meant to be replayed. On each run, you gather seeds, which you can spend on all kinds of unlocks, including character upgrades, new weapons, and new characters. After you complete the game on its default difficulty, you also unlock a hard mode and gain access to modifiers to make the game even more challenging in specific ways (i.e. increased enemy health, less predictable bullet patterns, etc.).
It's amazing how many different things there are to do in Juicy Realm, to the point that I find myself eagerly wanting to dive back into a new run even after completing one. Surprisingly, I also keep running across new challenges that force me to change up my strategies for success. It's amazing how a something as small as a specific weapon mod, pet, or challenge modifier can completely change the tactical considerations you need to make. Not many games can layer in this much variety and actually make all of it feel like it matters, but Juicy Realm is definitely one that does.
One last note on controls: Juicy Realm definitely seems designed with controllers in mind, but it plays very well on touch mostly thanks to a generous auto-aim system. The game remains challenging playing this way, and feels like a game that's more about managing mobility.
The bottom line
Juicy Realm is an incredibly varied and satisfying run-based shooter that controls well using touch and controllers. There's never a dull moment when playing, and you always have new things to look forward to when starting a new game. Don't pass this game up. It's one of the finest mobile shooters I've played in a long time.