If there’s one thing that there is an abundance of on the VR market, it’s shooting galleries. It makes sense; one of the first things we did as gamers in a 3D space was shoot guns. As the number of shooting gallery titles increases, it’s hard for each title to distinguish itself. Developed by nDreams, Shooty Fruity attempts to do so by combining the busywork of Job Simulator with fast paced gunplay. You assume the role of a new hire at a grocer, and during your shifts, sentient fruit begin to surround you. Using the guns that roll in off an overheard conveyor belt, you blast them into fruit salad and earn points along the way. It’s a basic formula with an interesting loop, but does Shooty Fruity earn its spot in the highest tier of VR shooters?
Just Another Shift, Until They Attack
Shooty Fruity is pretty easy to understand despite your level of VR skill. You play as a grocery clerk across three different job types. Standing at your station, you either scan items, sort and pack, or prepare cafeteria trays. As you successfully perform your designated job, you are rewarded with a supply of weapons and powerups that appear dangling from chains above you. Using these weapons, you hold off massive waves of fruit, hellbent on ending your life.
Levels are broken up into job shifts, with each shift having three challenge stars to complete. Some challenges may require you to kill a certain type of fruit with a specific weapon, while others are as simple as surviving the round. Earning stars opens up subsequent shifts to play, and adds new weapons to the gun-vending machine located in the break room. Guns are purchased with “juice”, which is a score based on how much fruit destruction you cause while clocked in. Each type of weapon (pistol, SMG, assault rifle, explosive, shotgun, revolver) has three various guns to unlock, each more powerful than the last. Your peashooter starter pistol eventually becomes a three shot burst semi-automatic, and your simple full auto rifle turn into a chain gun. The evolution of weaponry and powerups makes progression through the game fresh and fun. At the beginning of each level (with some restrictions), you can create a custom loadout, ensuring that you can shoot your way.
The actual act of shooting fruit is quite fun, as is the balancing act you will find yourself in constantly. Since performing work well means better guns, you’ll have to perform well under pressure, all while scanning your surroundings for incoming fruit. When the seeds start flying, gameplay can get pretty stressful (but in an enjoyable way). Akin to tapping your head while rubbing your tummy at the same time, Shooty Fruity pulls your focus between two different gameplay types, both of which beckon for your full attention. A good variety of fruit type also makes things exciting, as no two fruit act the same. Apples and oranges bounce all over the place, while lemons and limes roll up stealthily. Hulking pineapples and flying bananas are tough and require lots of bullets to kill, as are the giant rolling watermelons. With flying fruits, exploding fruits, and (yes, even) shooting fruits, there’s a fruit type for every combat scenario.
All three jobs are fun and provide a slightly different challenge in terms of your reflexes and dexterity. However, the way you play Shooty Fruity will usually remain the same. You’ll hurry through the work available, waiting for fruits to show up. When they do, you can choose to drop everything and blast them, or attempt to balance shooting and working with each hand. You’ll eventually get into a groove, and once you’ve done enough work to unlock the most powerful weapons in a given level, you’re free to blast away carefree.
A Splash of Color
Shooty Fruity goes for a more cartoonish look, and ends up coming out quite nice. While not as clear and vivid as Job Simulator or Accounting Plus, Shooty Fruity uses color and fun visual effects to amp up the spectacle. Enemies and environments in the distance can be jagged, but not enough to impact your accuracy. Thankfully, there’s a small red dot sight on most guns (which pros can turn off), making accurate shooting an easier time. The different job types take place in different environments, and those environments can also change depending on the shift. One shift as a cafeteria worker sees you in a brightly lit eating area, with tables and chairs aplenty. Another shift as a scanner takes place in a dark and dimly lit grocery store, evoking the equally colorful 2016 film Sausage Party.
The only lackluster elements of the game ended up being the voice over, lack of narrative, and hit-and-miss comedy. Most of the comedic attempts come from the intentionally droning voice over, where a female supervisor compliments and quips while you blast fruits. I turned off the voice over after a few shifts, and preferred to blast in (relative) peace and quiet.
The Bottom Line on Shooty Fruity
Not only is Shooty Fruity a fun and exciting shooting gallery, but it’s also a refreshing loop of gameplay, reward, and upgrade. The ability to purchase new guns and unlock new levels arcade-style fits well with the tone of the game, as do the over-the-top fruit designs. I was able to complete every shift in the game within 4 hours, and ended up placing quite well in the “marathon shift” leaderboards. Shooty Fruity managed to suck me in better than most VR games have in the past. There’s a “just one more level” mentality that was hard to shake, mostly due to the great progression system. For $20, Shooty Fruity is a fun handful of hours with a decent amount of replayability. Even after you’ve completed all the shifts, there are still star challenges to clean up, high scores to best, and trophies to unlock. Shooty Fruity is also welcoming to VR newcomers, which boosts it up a bit. If you’re looking for a new and exciting shooting gallery, and you’ve become tired of the same old formula, give Shooty Fruity a try. I ended up having a blast, and I’m pretty sure you will too.