Following the studio’s release of tactical kayak stealth game Phantom Covert Ops, nDreams continues to show their equal love for both the higher-end Rift S system and fully-wireless Quest headset. While Phantom on Quest cut down on graphics, it still kept all of its 90FPS performance and 1:1 world scale intact as a good port would. This formula was clearly taken into Shooty Fruity. Originally released during VR’s resurgence in 2017, it’s also one of the more shamelessly wackier games for new users. It combined a meager minimum-wage cashier job with top-notch VR gunplay. Instead of shooting nuclear extremists, Quest players are now killing giant, bouncing fruit. As absurd as the game was on Rift S, nDreams has managed to bring Shooty Fruity‘s simple experience into the smaller Quest without compromises.
The game, impressively delivered in full, comes with a sizable serving of arcade-y levels. Shooty Fruity drops players into each level with a simple task of scanning items. More items scanned means unlocking increasingly powerful weapons to defend your counter from evil fruit. As you scan, guns are delivered with a hanging conveyor on top for easy pickings. Apples, oranges, giant watermelon, helicopter bananas and raining grapes all vie to smash your station to pieces from all sides. They can show up from vents and through faraway aisles 12 and 6. Shooty Fruity‘s simple VR actions of scanning items is fun enough, until it becomes addictive with remarkable fruit-killing. It became a challenge to scan as many items as I could under a timer, while the countdown was also my limit for gunning down the Vitamin C menace.
There are a ridiculous amount of weapons for a fruit-killing game. Players start with a simple Luger pistol, until things get incredibly fun with unlocking shotguns, SMGs and fully-automatic assault rifles. Each feel satisfying to hold and shoot, while the distinctive sounds make guns feel devastating. Of course, you’re actually holding the guns in VR and aiming is done with the ironsights. But my one particular drawback comes from nDreams’ earlier inexperience with gunplay, as aiming feels inprecise even though it seems like targets are lined up. This results in many wasted bullets, and a gun will break when it’s dry. This is when you have to grab a new weapon from the hanging conveyor – something that feels a bit overwhelming when a better gun comes along. But it’s also satisfying to see a newly unlocked weapon, from grenade launchers, to AK-47s and a WW2-era repeater gun.
In true retail fashion, Shooty Fruity keeps its unlockables in a staff vending machine. Having enough points means getting to punch in your code for a card, which automatically goes into your collection. It’s an authentic approach to getting new stuff which can only be accomplished in VR. This made unlocking the game’s 40+ weapons a treat – something that fed into my already addicting time with progression and “100 percenting” levels. While guns can feel limited, there’s also a replay value in the shooting range. Players can access it anytime to test their weapons and prioritize their loadouts. I found this feature to be so much fun, that I sunk 20 minutes into plinking targets with different weapons before diving into Shooty Fruity‘s five-minute levels. It’s that fun.
Though there’s no minimum wage, I found myself coming back for another shift every time. There’s something novel about Shooty Fruity that makes me love being a gun-slinging grocery worker. Its adorable, hilarious take on the retail industry is also a refreshing take as VR shooters become saturated in blood and military plots. This campy novelty is also kept alive with a surprising amount of variety in enemies and modes. Its randomly-generated fruits make every level unpredictable. This keeps players on their toes when multitasking, testing their marksmanship and customer service with three-star challenges. Accomplishing these include killing a certain amount of fruits or using a specific weapon – many of which don’t feel too hard on the first try. Making Shooty Fruity on Quest more satisfying was its wire-free experience, keeping me immersed in the grocery store without a tangled reminder. Though the game doesn’t need players to turn 360-degrees, I was able to play longer on the Quest with its lighter headset and flexibility.
Shooty Fruity‘s optimization over the Quest is something to behold. The difference in visuals is minimal, with only a loss in reflective light on guns, grocery aisles and work counters. I didn’t see any other compromises made, while the Quest’s mobile processor actually made objects and textures sharper than the Rift. This kept my experience crisp and clear, even when I was constantly flicking my head in fruit fights. What’s great about the Quest port is how it preserves the 90 FPS performance, with no heavy resources lagging the game up. It’s clear nDreams’ double-duty making Phantom: Covert Ops for Quest and Rift has helped them in creating a carbon-copy clone of Shooty Fruity.
Shooty Fruity on Quest also benefits from having every update, improvement and added arsenal to date. This lets players dig into its other modes, including a food sorting mode that makes the game way more challenging. It’s a nice break from scanning items, and the so-called promotion requires you to put food in the same colour-coded tray. Though simple at first, it becomes a hectic struggle to put food in every tray with a full-frontal assault from fruit. I found this mode somewhat more fun than the item scanning, and gave me a different change in scenery when the checkout line felt stale. This is where nDreams included the Packing mode, which required me to sort goods in their proper bins. It was also the hardest mode that kept my arms frantically shorting goods from left-to-right while letting them go to shoot stronger fruit on all directions. If you gain enough perfect levels, nDreams rewards you with special Marathon modes which put you in 100-minute shifts for the game’s three modes. Without a timer as a safety net, you’re fully focused on scanning and shooting to your heart’s content.
I would have loved to see more variety outside of its three arcade modes. Shooty Fruity falls short of boss fights, which would have added an extra challenge at the end of levels. There also lacks a proper cohesion with its levels, which are all self-contained and get straight to the point. Eventually, the three modes can get tiring as the game’s novelty wears off. The game also wasted an opportunity for players to customize their own levels. My biggest gripe is also having no co-op mode for double the grocery fun – something that would have been absolutely brilliant for Shooty Fruity‘s concept.
You’ll become overwhelmed, but in ways where levels end in smiles instead of frustration. This took me back to a simple joy from Job Simulator, where throwing all logic out the window made the VR experience a real treat.