A distinctive theme will often help to give a game a louder voice in an overcrowded genre. We’ve already reviewed quite a few games that would have otherwise gone unnoticed had it not been for their theme – this is particularly the case for games that sit in the casual card battle genre.
Fruitcraft is one such casual card battle game that employs a unique theme to get your attention. Getting your attention is one thing, but maintaining it is another. There also needs to be some excellent gameplay beneath the thematic exterior for players to continue playing.
Is there substance to this cute, fruit-inspired casual card battler? Read on to find out…
In Fruitcraft, you assume the role of a new General who has been recruited to stop the evil Dracula, also a fruit. That’s the basic story of the game, and the game doesn’t build upon it other than the fact that you need to battle your way through some grueling quests with a final boss at the end. It’s a shame that the game fails to build a decent story, but given the light theme, it is not surprising.
Gameplay is very simple and after a short tutorial that shows you the ropes, you can dive right in. Fruitcraft uses the standard casual card battle formula that sees your cards face off against the opponent’s, attacking automatically until all cards on one team are squashed into a fruit puree.
The cards contain pictures of cutely drawn fruits and vegetables that may hold a weapon or two… Not so cute after all! There are only two statistics to work with, which keeps the game simple enough for younger players. Power represents both the attack value and health of the card. The attack value of an opposing card is subtracted from your card when it attacks an opponent’s card. The damage is shared between your cards when you have more than one in the line-up.
The second statistic is a wait timer. When your cards attack, they must wait an allotted time before they can battle again. Low rarity cards have short timers, whereas your higher rarity, more powerful cards have longer timers extending into minutes. Fruitcraft prides itself on lacking the frustrating energy system that many casual card battlers have, but the timer pretty much replaces it — so it’s not entirely free of waiting times.
Fruitcraft is one of the most simplistic card games you are likely to come across, and because of this, it makes it somewhat addictive. You will find yourself playing battle after battle in the Quest and Battle modes just to earn the necessary experience required to level up and unlock new features.
The game features an excellent user interface with everything you need at the tap of a finger. The graphics aren’t amazing, but are consistent throughout and stick to the overall theme of the game. The music and sound effects aren’t bad either. In fact, when you battle, you are treated to realistic squishing sounds with every attack that makes it delightfully fun.
MODES AND FEATURES
Fruitcraft is relatively rich in features that extend the play time. A decent number of these are unlocked as you level up, which provides the incentive needed to continue playing beyond the initial quests.
The Quest mode is full of battles that you can take part in to earn Gold and experience points at a slow rate. These battles are quite easy, and you can breeze through most of these in no time at all. However, due to the sheer number of battles in each Quest, it will take you a while to get to the final boss. You’ll probably spend as little time as possible playing the Quest mode simply because it offers little in the way of player rewards.
If you want to earn Gold and experience at an accelerated rate, you will need to take part in player battles via the Battle mode. In this mode, you play against another player’s strongest four cards, which can be enhanced if they’re in a Tribe. There is no A.I. to worry about as the game pre-selects the best cards from the opponent’s collection and you then just sit back and watch the fruits go at it.
The way in which Fruitcraft’s PvP works is rather non-interactive. Being part of a Tribe gives you access to buffing up your attack and defense cards and not much more. If you are a part of a tribe or have started your own, each win you earn against fellow players will also contribute to enhancing your Tribe’s rank in addition to your own. Live player battles are on offer, but these are few and far between.
In addition to enhancing your attack and defense through a Tribe, you can also improve the power of your fruit warriors through other means. The first method, which opens up relatively quickly, is the Enhance option. Using this, you sacrifice other cards to improve the target card, and this adds to the card’s overall power while not increasing the wait time. The second is to Evolve a card, which works by combining two of the same card at the same level to increase its power, level, and wait time.
I would recommend you do more of the former and less of the latter if you want to be able to play fast and take part in many battles without waiting. Increasing the wait time can be detrimental when you need more fruits to attack a stronger opponent. However, if you have a vast collection of fruit, you will want to use the latter option as it will give you a much more powerful fruit force.
Unwanted fruits can be put to work in the mines to earn you additional Gold per hour (What is this, fruit slavery?! Hilariously bizarre). Gold is the only currency in the game and is given as a reward in all of the game’s modes. The more you have, the more Evolutions, Enhancements, and fruit card packs you can buy from the store. You can also purchase Gold as an in-app purchase, and the prices aren’t too bad.
Fruitcraft features another way for you to earn cards. There is an auction system where other players put up their unwanted fruit cards for auction and players can bid on them. Many of the cards on offer will be of a high level and very expensive, but if you’ve got the Gold, it might be an excellent way to snag a powerful card to buff up your attack or defense stats.
DECKBUILDING AND STRATEGY
There is no need to build a deck in Fruitcraft. Before each battle, you can choose up to four available fruit from your entire collection to take part. If a card is waiting, you can pay Gold to have it ready immediately for that battle. In the early stages of the game, you can afford this in almost every fight. Later on, as your cards increase in power, this will become far more expensive.
As I have suggested already, you should focus on Enhancing as many of your early-game fruits as you can. Enhancing your cards gives you a significant advantage in the Quest mode. In the Battle mode, you can Scout an enemy player’s camp to see what their power level is. Most of the time, you will be able to guess how powerful they are from the structures that they have and how much wealth is on display.
Fruitcraft is a well-designed, fun and addictive casual card battler. What it lacks in strategic depth it makes up for in personality thanks to its fun, fruity theme. The theme will help it stand out in the crowd, as most casual card games tend to focus on anime style characters and over-the-top visual effects. In doing so, they all look the same, and it can be hard to tell them apart.
That said, there really isn’t much here in terms of interesting card mechanics. The gameplay is overly simplistic, and this is likely to disappoint many if not most strategy card gamers.
That said, the simplistic gameplay mechanics have ensured that Fruitcraft is open to any and all audiences of any age and experience level. It should keep kids entertained for hours at a time and for those of us who are more seasoned card gamers, it might be a light-hearted diversion from the intense battles in our usual TCGs/CCGs.
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