Virtual reality games often give you the chance to escape reality. Whether it's a case of disappearing to an unfamiliar environment, or a familiar one with the chance to experience something that's new and different.
Shooty Fruity is, at first glance, a mix of the two. Because this game is set in a supermarket. Yep, a supermarket. You get to work as a cashier at a checkout and a server at the canteen.
Sounds dull, right? Well, it certainly isn't. Stick with us to find out why.
Ok, we were holding back a little. Sure, you work in a supermarket in Shooty Fruity - but, wait, there's an infestation of mutant fruit on the loose that you need to deal with.
This sinister fruit is intent on destroying your checkout and preventing you from getting paid. Luckily management has kindly supplied a range of weapons to help you - you guessed it - shoot the fruit.
So now you need to transform from fast-scanning checkout clerk into sharp-shooting multi-skilled shop assistant, which is where things get interesting. To complete each "job" you need to carry out your tasks while fending off the dangerous fruit.
The first of these starts off at a checkout where you need to scan products and pass them down a conveyor belt. Each scan counts as a point and as you collect points you gain access to weapons to shoot the fruit.
Shooting is pretty standard for a VR experience, except these guns aren't reloadable. Once you've expended the ammunition in the gun it simply explodes uselessly in your hand and you need to toss aside to find another one.
Initially, we started shooting with one hand, while scanning with the other. At some points during the levels, the number of attacking fruits increases - and we found we had to drop what we were doing to grab another gun and fire with both hands in order to protect our precious workstation.
But you can't neglect your main job at hand: unlocks happen not from shooting, but from scanning. So you need to have quick hands and a good aim at the same time. When you get some practice you'll soon find you're scanning with one hand, shooting with the other while sometimes not looking at either of them.
The checkouts have lights on them which represent how much health they have left. As the workstation takes damage the lights go out one by one. Once they're all gone, that's it, it's game over.
This sort of gameplay involves a lot more multi-tasking than we're used to in VR games. Wave shooters and shooters in general work really well in virtual reality to the point that they're a staple of the VR experience, but Fruity Shooty is something genuinely different.
Killing fruit awards you juice points. This "juice" can then be used between levels to purchase new weapons from the vending machine in the staffroom.
Playing through the stages, you find each level has three challenges. These challenges involve carrying out various tasks - shooting certain fruit with specific guns, getting a certain number of points in a set timeframe, getting a high total of "juice" overall, and similar such things. Completing these challenges gives you stars which unlock new weapons to purchase and new levels to play, plus power-ups that need to be fed into the checkout slot appear during gameplay.
Once new guns are unlocked and purchased, you can choose which weapons you'll have access to on the next level you play. Each weapon has different attributes, including rate of fire, the damage they do, and so forth. The key stat is the number of items scanned, which you need to complete before the gun will appear in the game.
The basic pistol will appear almost instantly, but the more useful weapons like the shotgun, submachine gun and assault rifle won't appear until you've completed enough tasks. That means in order to access the best guns you need to keep scanning - and the quicker and more accurately you do that, the faster you get the better weapons and the easier the game becomes.
Of course, things get trickier as you progress. Bigger and badder fruit come out of the air ducts and the back of the store determined to avenge their fallen comrades. Some of these mutant fruits are monster-sized and take a wealth of bullets to dispatch. The basic pistol just doesn't cut the mustard or, er, orange?
Different fruit types take differing levels of damage from different weapons. One large fruit really took a lot of machine guns bullets and pistol rounds, but a revolver dealt with it far more effectively. Other fruit throw projectiles at you that need to be shot out of the air before they damage the workstation, so you need to be able to shoot quickly. This logic means you need to think about the guns you'll have access to and which fruit present the biggest danger or are the hardest to dispatch.
Since the guns are useless once you've run out of ammo you need to learn how many shots each weapon has and be ready to put it aside to use later when necessary. We'd recommend discarding used weapons over your shoulder, as to not get the empty ones confused with those you've put aside. Cue potential fruit salad disaster.
Don't make a fruit salad of it
Just when you think you've got the hang of it and start to feel like a supermarket deity - whizzing items through the scanner and blasting fruit out of existence - things get trickier.
After the first level, you unlock the cafeteria where you have to put food blocks into the right coloured trays. The trays slide down conveyor belts and you need to grab the square packages and colour match them to the correct tray. This adds the dynamic of needing to not only do two things at once, but also look in yet more directions. It's utterly challenging.
Just when you think you've got the hang of that, things change again. Suddenly you have trays split into multiple containers with different colours in each. Yikes. It's mentally and physically exhausting and your hands will end up going all over the place - grabbing food to toss it in the trays, snapping off rounds at incoming fruit, switching guns and being generally frantic.
Make it through the cafeteria and it's back to the checkout, where the conveyor belt has now been split into three channels and each scanned item needs to go down a different one. As you scan the items a light highlights where they need to go. Failing to get the right conveyor belt means that points don't count, so you can't just scan items and carelessly toss them down the checkout. You really need to watch what you're doing.
One sweet mess
By now, we're hopefully painting a picture of just how wonderfully exhausting and taxing it is to play Shooty Fruity. This game is so much more than just your standard VR shooter. You actually have to pay attention to what you're doing, fully engage your brain and have brilliant hand-eye co-ordination.
Shooty Fruity is the gift that keeps giving. If you see carnage as a gift. It's a ridiculously difficult fruit-shooting romp with plenty of playability.
It looks great, too, with its wonderful cartoon graphics. The environment explodes around you, while destroyed fruit leave a sticky residue on the checkout and everything they touch. Produce in the aisles explodes as you shoot your way to victory and you get told off every time you shoot a sign or accidentally damage the merchandise.
There's a sarcastic narrator who regularly chimes in with pithy remarks as you play. "Please conserve ammunition by actually hitting the fruit", "that's one less fruit for the salad", "there's no 'i' in team, but there's a 'u' in awful - as in you were awful".
There are 24 levels to play through - all accessed from the staffroom, which acts as the main lobby - so there's plenty to play through too.
Shooty Fruity is insanely hard, but it's also insanely brilliant.
There's so much to love about this game. With a multitude of levels, unlocks and power-ups to access, there's hours and hours of potential gameplay. And you'll want to keep on playing because the tricky multi-tasking gives this game something that so many other VR games lack: originality.
All this fun costs half what you'd pay for a normal non-VR game, too, so it's a total bargain in our book. We're not taking the pith, this is one of the most enjoyable VR games we've played.
Alternatives to consider
If you like the sound of Fruity Shooty and the idea of a VR game that offers something different, then Superhot VR is well worth considering too. With a fresh take on the classic bullet-time mechanic and quirky graphics that see you smashing glass men to pieces with a variety of weapons, it's pretty special.
Read the full article: Superhot VR review
Operation Warcade VR
Operation Warcade is equally as quirky. This game sees you diving in and out of virtual worlds within a virtual world (meta), blasting away on virtual arcade machines and fighting enemies in side-scrolling shooters of yesteryear, but in VR. It's amazing.
Read the full article: Operation Warcade VR review