Unlike other match-3 iOS games, where you find yourself whipped into a frenzy of screen-tapping finger action, Fruit Zen HD hopes to usher you into a state of zen-like tranquility. In a sort of cross between match-3 gaming and Tetris, fruit-themed blocks fall from the top of the screen to the bottom, stacking atop their predecessors. Your job is to match three or more blocks of the same kind by tapping them to make them go away. If the blocks reach the top of the screen, you lose.
The twist is that you can shift rows of blocks to the left or the ride by finger-swiping. So if you have no immediate matches, swipe a row to line them up better. The blocks don’t have to be in a straight line, either — they work in any configuration as long as they’re touching. Combine more than three blocks at a time, and you’ll be rewarded with special blocks that can eliminate entire rows or columns. Wildcard blocks appear that rotate through all of the available kinds of fruit, giving you the chance to match nearby blocks if you’re quick enough. Acorns also appear at random, and these aren’t blocks at all, but non-playing pieces that you can only get rid of by using a column or row-clearing block.
Three game modes offer variety in your objective. Survival mode starts you with an empty bar at the top of the screen, which fills as you eliminate blocks. Fill the bar, and you win the level. Countdown mode gives you a fixed timer, during which you must rid the screen of as many blocks as possible. Timeless mode has no bar or timer, and is the most laid-back mode of all. You simply keep playing ad infinitum, as long as you can keep the blocks from reaching the top of the screen, a la Tetris.
Fruit Zen HD comes with options for changing the music (you can use your personal iPod library), and Open Feint functionality if you want it.Â There are also two background themes you can choose from — daytime and nighttime.Â You can also post your high scores to Facebook or Twitter.
For just $1.99, Fruit Zen HD is a steal. Just don’t expect a lot of depth.