It’s a tale as old as business itself: the small business man gets gobbled up and spit out by the big bad Mega Mart when it moves in next door. People, see bigger and faster as better, and ignore the businesses that have served them well for years.
In Tino’s Fruit Stand, developed by Chasing Dogs Studios, Tino’s small fruit business is being threatened by a huge Mega Mart that has decided to move in down the road. Even though they do not specialize in fruit, and their fruit is not as fresh as Tino’s, they have more of it. Convenience wins out over service. And to make matters worse, the Mega Mart has bought out the mortgage on Tino’s land and business. Tino’s fruit stand is doomed. Or so we think.
One day Tino was out and about and came upon a monkey. As he watched the monkey, he found that it had an unusual knack for quickly picking fruit from the trees. “This monkey could save my stand,” Tino thought. Not only could the monkey fill fruit orders faster than he could, but he would make a great curiosity that would bring people back. So Tino adopted the monkey, named him Rikki, and set him to work in the fruit stand.
You control Rikki as you attempt to fill the fruit orders of the waiting customers at Tino’s Fruit Stand. Tino has all of his available fruit laid out on a board. Customers’ orders show up to the left of the board, and you must move Rikki around the board to collect the fruit for the order. Beware though, every time you land on a piece of fruit, you’ll pick it up and Rikki’s fruit bag has limited space. It is important to pick the right fruit while picking up the least amount of extra fruit. If you do pick up extra fruit, it can be used with the next customer – providing they want what you’ve got. If you happen to pick up all of the fruit for both the current order and the next order, you will get a combo.
Your customers will only wait for a limited time for their orders, as they see the Mega Mart looming in the distance. Make sure that you keep an eye on the timer. If it runs out before you fill the order, the customer will leave unhappy. You will also lose customers if you fill Rikki’s fruit bag before filling the current order. If three customers leave unhappy before the end of the day, then its curtains for Tino’s Fruit Stand, and the Mega Mart wins the battle.
As you progress through the 50 levels of the Story mode, you will slowly pay off the bank loan, and use the extra money to make improvements to Tino’s fruit stand, including both visual items like paving the road leading to the stand, and gameplay improvements, such as a rope swing for Rikki. The rope swing appears as two like-colored squares on the board. When Rikki lands on one, he will swing to the other like-colored swing on the board, making him move faster around the board.
As you progress through the game, more features will be added to the game that will both help and hinder Rikki’s progress, such as the Fruit Bag that allows Rikki to pick up more fruit at once, or Fruit Flies that will slowly rot the fruit on the board, making it unappealing to your potential customers.
There are two other modes of gameplay: Arcade and Relaxed. These modes are unlocked after completing ten improvements to Tino’s stand in the story mode. The Arcade mode is like the story mode, but you continually collect money as you progress through levels. The goal is to collect as much money as possible, but if three customers leave unhappy, the game is over.
The Relaxed mode gets rid of the pressure of the time bar and allows you to concentrate on filling orders and making combos. This is a great opportunity to work on the skills of spotting the shortest distance between fruit, and seeing combo opportunities.
The gameplay of Tino’s Fruit Stand is both unique and addictive. I found myself playing for nearly an hour each time I sat down with the game. It’s fun to see what improvements you can make to Tino’s stand, while watching the huge bank loan slowly get paid off. This is a game with an excellent learning curve that stays challenging enough to keep you from getting bored.
Tino’s also does a good job in the graphics and sound department. The background music is nice and peppy, without being overly happy. The graphics are very well done. The pictures of the stand’s improvements are cute, and Rikki is adorable. The fruits are distinctive, and the board’s vibrant colors make it very easy to see the appropriate fruit.
While the storyline is cute, and the game reasonably engaging, the biggest criticism of this game that we had was the lack of excitement. Yes it’s fun to play, but it’s unlikely to raise your pulse – even a little. And while I don’t always want aerobic exercise with my gameplay, it’s nice to get excited once in a while. But, if you have a place in your heart of the little guy in business, then download Tino’s Fruit Stand today and help him make his stand.