Juice the Fruits is a puzzle game featuring colorful, cartoonish fruit on a grid that you have to rearrange to match them and eliminate them from the board. It's very much like Bejeweled and Candy Crush, except with fruit. You play using your Game Center account against a random online opponent and whoever is able to create the most matches on their own grid wins by damaging the other person with their skill points. It's free with in-app purchases for iPhone and iPad.
What's your favorite fruit? Juice the Fruits wants you to make it your character for the game. Banana Buddy is your only option to start off, but as you complete more levels you unlock the rest of the characters: Blackberry Baby, Walter Melon, Pineapple Pal, Sweet Strawberry, Apple Adam and Orange Ollie.
After you have your character, either jump right into the game by tapping "Juice Them Up" or get a little practice first by entering the "Training Room." Knowing that I'm always highly mediocre at this type of game, I for some reason decided to skip the training session.
You get only 30 seconds to make as many matches as you can, so get to work. I got a whopping two matches after the first round and I didn't want to use my power-ups just yet, so I decided to head into the Training Room. Here, the experience is much of the same. The 30 second timer goes off, you have an opponent, but the only difference is after 30 seconds you get a score and the game automatically starts over again. I was hoping for a little more out of this mode, like perhaps some pointers, but it's passable.
Back in the game, it's time to put those power-ups to good use. There's five total and you get to use each of them twice before you have to start racking up those in-app purchase expenses. The shuffle power-up shuffles the board, Investigate highlights on the board potential areas where a match is possible, a shield blocks the damage (or "flashes") that your opponent automatically throws at you after each game, a flash gives your opponent an extra zap while boosting your own points and a sun does a bit of a magic trick, twirling the board around and eliminating every fruit that forms an "X" spanning the grid.
When you run out of power-ups, the Power-Up Shop offers each one for US$0.99, a pack of three for $1.99 or a pack of seven for $3.99. This is awfully pricey. Say you want one of each, it'll run you $5 - way too much for any game, let alone one about fruit. To push through levels for free, you just have to play Juice the Fruits the old fashioned way: with skill.
The game offers some other features like changing the wardrobe of your fruit character, a little odd but I'm sure pleasing to kids. These get unlocked with level-ups or more in-app purchases.
Juice the Fruits is enjoyable and a great time-passer. It differentiates itself more than enough from the intense competition Candy Crush brings, but the in-app purchase costs are somewhat out of my comfort zone. That gripe aside, snag Juice the Fruits in the App Store for free.