Juicy Fruits is not only a game with a comical name but also a great addition to the increasing amount of games that can be played with family and friends as well as more experienced gamers. It offers a quick and satisfying blast of fun while remaining memorable with interesting choices that will haunt you long after the game has been packed away.
In the game you are attempting to harvest fruits from your own island, using them to make smoothies and ice cream, or you know, build buildings or pay off the local ship mafia surrounding your beaches. It should be mentioned that beyond ‘fruit that is allegedly juicy’ the theme here is… strange. But it allows the art and design to be colourful, bold and fun.
So the players seemingly own an island full of fruit-bearing trees and live in a world where happily this fruit can be used to obtain stuff. Your island is a 5x5 grid of squares which will hold 5 fruit baskets in the central 3x3 squares - 1 for each different type of fruit. Surrounding and blocking the remaining squares are boats of various point value, that must be paid off with certain fruit combinations, removing them from your Island and freeing up more precious space.
Space is important on your island because you only collect as much fruit as the spaces you move into when pushing a basket. Push the banana basket two spaces and voila - two bananas! Of course, your space is limited and pushing your banana basket might mean you don’t have as much room to push other baskets, but it also might free up some more space for moving another basket in a future turn!
Five A Day
As you gather fruits you will be able to spend them on various upgrades, buildings, smoothies, ice creams and clearing the ships from your island. It can be a challenge to know what to prioritise. Clearing your island gets you more space and flexibility to gather fruit but buildings often score you points The downside to buildings is they take up room on your island and once placed they cannot be moved! This includes some mega scoring buildings that take up loads of room on your island!
Each time you build a building or make the last ice cream from a pile the round counter ticks closer towards the end. This can cause a panic among those who haven’t built anything yet as they clear space from their island instead, but one of the clever things in the game is how this will turn around as early builders quickly need to create more space!
One of the upgrades you can get is an ice cream cart which allows you to use your fruit to make ice cream and smoothies. These can be a great source of points but also cost a lot of precious fruit.
Keeps The Doctor Away (But Not The Dentist)
Juicy Fruits is one of those games that crosses the divide between new gamer and old. The many components, as brightly coloured and welcoming as they are, can give the impression that there is a lot going on, but the rules are brief and straightforward. On your turn, you either collect fruit or use another upgraded component and then buy a building or pay off a ship. There is also an ‘advanced’ mode with a third option to take each turn allowing you to gain more points by progressing up a track. It’s a nice option to have but in truth, I’ve never felt I needed it!
With its bright looks and easy to understand gameplay, Juicy Fruits sees plenty of plays. It is a game they would make a great first ever game for new players as well as being a competitive and enjoyable game for experienced gamers. It also has a unique tile pushing mechanism that makes you think about your future moves. It’s a spatial puzzle that is different from other games I’ve played - a big yes for this one!