Frutakia 2 is a pick up and play fruit machine game which follows traditional fruit machine conventions in tasking you with matching three of any fruit in a line, but rather than pulling the lever and simply watching the fruits fall into place with no real control over any of them, you attempt to engineer the lines yourself by rotating each column individually.
So, this is a Connect Three-like experience, with each set of images which you match up improving your score ready to be posted on the leaderboard at the end. It’s not just limited to three, either – you can line things up so up to five in a row match for an even higher points return, or if you’re really lucky things will fall into place so that lines are drawn horizontally, vertically and even diagonally at the same time, which is exciting to pull off but more often than not happens due to luck over judgement.
But you can’t simply rotate each column to your heart’s content: every single spin you make drains a percentage of a life meter, and that’s where this game’s major drawback comes. The control stick is the only method of flicking through and rotating each of the columns, and as such it’s far too easy to accidentally rotate one of the columns rather than moving left to right as intended. That of course drains your health bar, and you can’t simply rotate it back to the previous position to recuperate that health; on the contrary, that would just drain it even further. You have very little life meter to work with whether you’re playing on Easy or Hard mode, so every single move is of the essence.
This being a fruit machine game, a decent element of the gameplay can be put down to the luck of the draw, and when you can only see three shapes in a column at any one time, there’s no room for manoeuvre for you to cycle through a column and see which shapes are available to you. There is the option of hitting the A button to pull the lever and generate a whole new board while retaining your score, but that again uses up your health meter, so the game is constantly trying to bring your run to an end.
When your health meter does run out, you get a Wheel of Fortune-like game of spin the wheel in order to determine whether you continue, with the possible outcomes either adding 20% to your score, handing you half or a full health meter back, or simply ending the run there and then. Again, the luck of the arcade is the crucial element, and this can bring a good run to an end without any say from the player. It truly is a game of luck.
Frutakia 2 (what happened to the first game?) is a punishing game of chance. It offers a short burst of fun, but the emphasis on luck will certainly not be for everyone.