In System 3, the developers behind Super FruitFall, the spirit of Charles Dickens' beggar king Fagin is alive and kicking.
Just as Fagin's band of grubby pickpockets would nab wallets and then sell them back to their previous owners, System 3 take something we already have access to - a free online, fairly poor flash game named FruitFall - and slap a £25 price sticker on it, without trying to make a single change that might actually improve the gameplay or any aspect of the in-game experience.
Super FruitFall's roots lie in a downloadable PDA and mobile phone title, though this is a reasonably misleading statement as it suggests the image of a family tree in which things tend to develop on from said roots. In fact System 3 has clearly worked very hard to stop any form of growth, development or innovation from wheedling its way into the game.
It has the same 50 level structure as the original game; the same insipidly designed 'themed worlds' - read bright colours for Toy World and not so bright colours for Factory World - and the same cheesy lift muzak beats droning away in the background. Absolutely no attempt has been made to disguise its humble beginnings.
Lacklustre presentation could be forgiven if the actual puzzling heart of the game wasn't so horribly weak. Players rotate a series of twisty mazes, inexplicably littered with fruit, at 90 degree intervals, with the aim of shifting similar fruits into groups of three or more - at which point they evaporate. Y'know, like real fruit.Rotation can be controlled by button/gesture pairings. Flicking the remote and nunchuk doesn't really work, as even a small flick is too grand a motion for the minor action that it summons.
It screams half-arsed puzzler - ticking the simplicity box required by the genre but failing miserably to offer any addictive depth. Too often the mazes can be solved with aimless rotation and, by offering unlimited continues, it doesn't even satisfy as a gruelling high-score challenge trudge.
Puzzlers are usually the domain of gaming purists, gamers weaned on hard-as-nails Tetris slogs and frenzied Meteos trances - compared to these titles Super Fruitfall is an unneeded and unwanted addition to the puzzling family. And roughly £25 too expensive.
Going to prove that while you may not be able to polish a turd, you can wrap it up in a game box and charge £25 for the experience. Super FruitFall is beyond bad.