No offense to Halfbrick, but I already developed the Puss in Boots mobile game. My cat wanders into the office, stares at me with big, sad eyes, and then gets a cat treat or five. "You have acquired mah servicesssss," I say, to
my little honey bunny baby bear the cat, mimicking Antonio Banderas' voice from Shrek 2. Honey Bear don't give a shit, of course.
Puss in Boots is getting his own cinematic prequel in a couple weeks (the lead voiced by Banderas, with a lot of friends) and the film's marketers have found a way to team up with Fruit Ninja, the Pepsi to Angry Birds' Coke in the mobile space. It's a bidness deal, sure. But Halfbrick makes a solid effort with Fruit Ninja: Puss in Boots (iOS, available today), a 99-cent spinoff that manages to disguise its obvious flackery with a new slicing minigame that's fun to play and should be incorporated in the main title whenever Puss in Boots finishes its theatrical run.
You get two modes. "Desperado," is basically the Classic mode from original Fruit Ninja. It gives the game a foundation for those who don't have the original. The new addition is "Bandito," a midway shooting-gallery series that switches objectives quickly. I haven't yet been able to reach its third act.
In "Bandito," you're given four randomly-chosen minigames to complete in each of three levels, with three "lives" to spare across the entire session. The minigames will be unlike anything you've seen in Fruit Ninja so far. There are traditional Fruit Ninja levels simnply asking you to cut a certain number of fruit. In others, you'll be tasked with destroying a "Mega Tomato" that splits into constitutent tomatilloes, with bombs bouncing all over the screen after you make your first cut on big red. In another, fruit rolls down a wooden produce chute, offering four-and five-fruit combo slices but, of course, sprinkling in those bombs. One slice of a bomb and you lose a life.
There's a good deal of variety and a challenge that teases you just enough with the idea that you can beat it all blindfolded, before it really bends you over and tells you to crack five coconuts on the third stage. It all plays out to the accompaniment of a badass World's-Most-Interesting-Man Spanish guitar, with snarky commentary—and excuse-making when you mess up—from Puss-in-Banderas.
Fans of Fruit Ninja should pony up the buck for Bandito's challenging anything-goes modes. "Desperado" is here only to introduce people to the main game, it seems. On the whole, Fruit Ninja: Puss in Boots is an honest extension of Fruit Ninja's clever theme and experience, and enjoyable whether or not you have any intention of seeing the film.