Fruit is a healthy source of nutrients. Each fruit can help maintain a healthy blood pressure, they can reduce the risk of heart disease, and apparently, they can fire weapons at you as long as they have an evolutionary leap according to Juicy Realm.
Juicy Realm by SpaceCan is a title all about a future in which fruit evolves and seeks to eradicate humanity. As one of the explorers out of a small group of human explorers, you venture out into a hardcore wilderness to battle against the juicy fruit. These explorers hide out in a base camp and set out alone one-by-one unless joined by a local co-op friend.
The adventurer will have to blast through various stages of artistic worlds, fighting against fruit and eventually defeat a worlds boss. During the run, the player can collect new weapons, gear, and currency to improve their arsenal, or just re-stock ready for the next world…if they make it that far.
I will admit, I’m not very good at this game because I tend to make a lot of mistakes that lead to death. This, of course, means that no matter how far into the procedurally generated worlds the player gets, if they die the perma-death system sends them back to the very start.
While it’s fun to look at, and it’s pleasant to listen to, the gameplay drags on a bit.
In my case, I embarrassingly only ever made it to the third world after more than twenty playthroughs. Hence the reason for a feature rather than a review. It is irritating but it feeds off of the player’s dedication to do better, which is why I keep returning to Juicy Realm.
One of the main appeals of Juicy Realm for me is the graphics and atmosphere surrounding the player. The world breathes life with spores floating about to decorate the world, sandstorms and weather effects obscuring oncoming bullets, and comic book inspired text splats over where sound effects originate. It all looks visually appealing and gives the title a memorable charm.
Even the delicate cartoon popping sounds of dandelions being destroyed by wandering through them is a beautiful touch. On top of that, there’s the squelching sound of fruit being plummeted to death by your popping bullets and various other sound effects that add to the noise. It’s a mad twin-stick shooter that not only looks mouth watering but it sounds delectable.
Stages play out depending on how you handle the firefights, and each one has a set number of enemies. Throughout the stages, there may be canisters that contain gear or more enemies but there are also trees that have un-evolved fruit hanging. If knocked down they’ll evolve into more enemies.
Some plants explode and fire off multi-directional thorns that can deplete your health, and obstacles work against you to halt your progression. When it comes to the bosses, it’s nice to see a classic system that focuses on completing a sequence of events in order to take them down.
While details about the game seem to scream that a story lies within, the actual game seems to fail to tell it. The only mentions of a story come through as small documents littered around some stages. And even then those are mainly just abandoned notes with not much to say. It would have been nice to feel like a story was unfolding from the off through more detailed notes, or even cutscenes offering something more than exhausting grinds through the world’s stages.
It’s a mad shooter that not only looks mouth watering but it sounds delectable.
And really, Juicy Realm feels just that, exhausting. While it’s fun to look at, and it’s pleasant to listen to, the gameplay drags on a bit. Even with various weapons to find and a diverse array of enemies, it becomes overly repetitive. The game does offer a type of glossary that allows you to look through collected weapons and enemies that have been met. A wonderful addition for fans of the title, or those that just want a damn break from dying over and over.
There’s the issue of procedurally generated levels not playing in favour of the player, with some levels refusing to give health drops or ammo. And when health and ammo start running low the pace starts to go from frantic shooter to a slower approach.
Juicy Realm is single-player or local co-op only which certainly helps with getting through the worlds and makes for a less demoralising experience if the player was to play alone. Even knocking the difficulty down doesn’t help ease the unforgiving nature of the single-player experience.
It is irritating but it feeds off of the player’s dedication to do better, which is why I keep returning to Juicy Realm.
I don’t think that the randomly generated stages offer enough variety of weapons with some offering a melee weapon and then nothing for a few stages when all I wanted was another gun. Upgrade crates can also be hard to come by if the stage doesn’t spawn them resulting in some runs being incredibly hardcore. The only reason I don’t mind the permadeath so much is because I get to re-experience the beautiful worlds once more.
Juicy Realm is a great little title that stands out with its beautiful gloomy art, but it’s far too repetitive, sometimes too hardcore, and with no story fluff to give the levels and the game world more substance it makes returning to the title a bit questionable.
A code was provided to complete this piece