There's an increasing trend among VR games to put you in the shoes of someone doing a menial task (just take a look at Job Simulator), but for one reason or another things turn chaotic and hilarious. In nDreams Ltd and Near Light's Shooty Fruity you're tasked with working at a supermarket, but the twist here is that there are inexplicably aggressive large pieces of fruit attacking you at every turn, so instead of getting angry, you get even... while also doing your job.
What this translates into is a fine balancing act between working at a till and grabbing weapons to fend off the fresh produce that won't leave you alone. Anyone who's played VR will know that the first part alone has its own challenges, but this becomes even worse once you essentially have to aim a gun with one hand while fumbling on your desk with the other.
The first workstation you start off at in Shooty Fruity simply requires you to scan items using the Move Controllers (we played on PS4), and you're lured into a false sense of security as you pretty much only have to grab each item, move them across the scanner, and throw them down a chute. The later workstations increase the difficulty exponentially though. The second one alone is a nightmare, as you have to sort coloured food blocks onto corresponding trays, and another sees you sort specific groceries on two different conveyor belts into matching chutes.
But at the end of the day, nobody playing Shooty Fruity cares about anything that's not the shooting of the fruit, right? You start off each level with the first handgun in the game, and as you progress you earn Juice to spend on advanced weapons. The catch is that certain point requirements in each level are needed to unlock better firepower (the guns come round in their own conveyor belt), and you get these points from the supermarket jobs in front of you, so you can't just ignore your duties in favour of popping rounds at food.
The weapons you unlock range from the weird to the wonderful, as the first few are your standard shotguns, revolvers, and automatic submachine guns, but then you advance into the realms of grenades and C4 launchers and this really ups the ante. The big guns are necessary when the watermelons and onions come rolling in though because your handguns won't cut it here. This also puts an emphasis on choosing your loadout carefully too, as you can only have a maximum of six weapons available per level.
We have to say though, the difficulty spiked real quick for us. Within the first 10 levels we found ourselves sweating, and we struggled to even survive for full rounds in the later stages, meaning we had to grind a bit more and invest our Juice to get a much beefier arsenal. You can be the sharpest shooter in the west but if groceries are flooding in from the left and 15 raspberries are surrounding your workstation, you're going to have a bad time with it all.
Each fruit has their own unique abilities as well. Cherries, for instance, fly in from the sky to drop down and explode on you, while grapes fire projectiles instead. Watermelons are particularly tanky, requiring a lot of damage to kill, and raspberries are easily dispatched but quick and numerous. Knowing what to take down and when is part of the fun, and it's especially satisfying when you manage to clear the screen of fruit at any one time.
As has been the appeal with a lot of VR games, it's incredibly satisfying to fire the guns with the Move Controllers, which we found were responsive and simple to use (especially since the only command you really need is grab, assigned to the trigger). Firing a longshot on an apple way off in the distance was a great feeling, especially since you get a higher score for doing so, but nothing matches the raw power of things like grenades and shotguns. It's relatively easy to get better as well, since an orange spot (like a red dot sight) marks your aim, and you even have a target range to practice in too.
While playing sitting down in our medium-sized room we found the tracking sometimes proved troublesome. At the second workstation, for instance, which required you to reach down and grab food parcels in different colours, it was tricky to get the camera to see far down enough to register our Move Controllers picking things up that low. For the most part, though, we didn't run into any issues and had a lot of fun playing around with it.
What's more is the fact that the game doesn't take itself too seriously at all, and it's a good laugh, especially with the nasally New York-accented narrator who blasts you when you mess up or accidentally shoot the store. Of course as with other games of this sort the physics provide their own amusement too, as you struggle to throw groceries where they need to be or find yourself scrambling for weapons passing you by.
The simple premise of Shooty Fruity is executed well. It's engaging despite being chaotic and immensely difficult. We loved wielding the power of fruit-destroying weaponry alone, and there was an added challenge in having to focus on your supermarket tasks at the same time. It's a great one for those wanting an easy and accessible VR challenge, and like an arcade you can always work at getting better each time.