Job Simulator: The 2050 Archives was undoubtedly a highlight of the first wave of modern virtual reality (VR) consumer software, and so it’s perhaps inevitable that a number of copycat titles would emerge. While this argument could easily be levelled at nDreams – which readily admit Owlchemy Labs’ hit was an influence – Shooty Fruity does bring something unique to the mix.
Cast as a cashier in a convenience store, everything seems fairly normal. Ahead is the view of the shop floor, stacked with a variety of generic goods, and were it not for the lack of any customers you’d believe that the videogame was little more than simulation of that summer job in Tesco. Scanning products that come along a conveyer belt and dropping them into a collection area; this isn’t rocket science. However, above is a moving rail from which guns can be collected. Not your average retail establishment, then?
Before long, menacing looking limes start encroaching on your position. Lemons, berry and gigantic melons are your adversaries in Shooty Fruity. The objective of the videogame is relatively simple: shoot the fruit while still processing the purchased goods. Using the HTC Vive motion-controllers, Oculus Touch or PlayStation Move, Shooty Fruity tasks the player with balancing the swiping of items with the shooting of bad guys. At first it’s a little like rubbing your belly while patting your head, but soon it becomes a test of visual assessment over any kind of strategy.
Scanning more goods will light-up icons on your checkout that will reward you with better guns, but you can only sustain a small amount of hits from the fruit (designated by light bulbs atop the checkout) before its game over. Maintaining balance between the two tasks is Shooty Fruity’s core gameplay loop.
During VRFocus’ playtest, wherein the four minute sample level was played through multiple times, it was discovered that the enemy arrangement isn’t random. Specific enemies will approach in a set order, but even then finding the right balance between aggression and ‘work’ wasn’t obvious. Shooty Fruity does have a surprising amount of depth in the assessment required, if not in the bulletpoints of the gameplay design.
The gameplay progression in Shooty Fruity is still being kept under wraps. We’ve been promised a great deal of variety in the weaponry and different gameplay modes, but exactly how much depth this will add remains to be seen. Despite suggesting Shooty Fruity will launch at a budget price, there’s still a concern about the longevity of the title. Many of VR’s early adopters would argue that not every videogame needs to expect to be the player’s first VR experience, and Shooty Fruity runs the risk of not delivering anything new to this core audience.
The suggested 1950s Americano theme currently feels lost in the swathe of bright colours and fruit with faces. The weaponry is supposedly tied to the era though in practice there was little to distinguish it from generic pistol, generic magnum and so on. The promise of customisable weaponry in the final release version could certainly change this, however.
Shooty Fruity is essentially an enjoyable VR experience that feels a little too late to make any real impact. There’s lots of potential to add more core mechanics and expand on the formula, but at present there’s little sign this will occur prior to launch. VRFocus will be getting more hands-on time with Shooty Fruity in due course, and will keep you updated as the videogame approaches launch on Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and PlayStation VR later this year.